Credit Suisse swipes latest DIFC licence

Swiss banking giant is first foreign bank to receive full banking licence and first to move into 'The Gate' building.

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By  Mark Johnson Published  December 7, 2004

Credit Suisse has become the latest big name in global finance to be awarded a licence to operate within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Critically, the Zurich-based banking giant has been granted a license to operate as a bank within the DIFC area, making it the first foreign bank authorised to offer full private banking services within the DIFC. Moreover, the bank will be the first to move into ‘The Gate’ building complex, which is situated within the DIFC district. The new branch will launch its DIFC related operations in two phases: As of January 2005, it will initially provide clients with financial advisory services on financial products or credit, as well as arranging credit or deals in investments. From April 2005, though, the branch will offer its full range of banking services. The bank confirmed that, subject to final approval of the business process by the regulator, DFSA (DIFC Financial Services Authority), it would commence its full-service banking operations. “We are delighted that Credit Suisse is among the first major banks to be granted an international private banking license to operate in the new Dubai International Financial Centre,” said Joachim Straehle, head of private banking international and a member of the executive board of Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse has been active in the region for more than 25 years, with representative offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Charles Peter Greuter, head of the Market Group Middle East, commented: “We have always had a strong commitment to this region and have been building up our now extensive knowledge and understanding of the Middle East since the 1970s. We see the recent launch of the DIFC as a key opportunity to expand our activities there. The area offers considerable potential in respect of both wealth generation and growth due to the dynamic development of its economy and we regard the strengthening of our presence in Dubai as a core element of our Middle Eastern market strategy.” The bank said the licence would allow Credit Suisse to book its clients’ assets within the DIFC. "This, in turn, will enable us to significantly expand the range of services that we can offer," said Dominique Leimer, who will head up the firm's new branch. "We will primarily be targeting private banking clients with liquid assets of over US$1 million and intend to cover the entire Middle East region. This will enable us to deliver a unique and comprehensive service to a vast range of clients, ranging from the Non- Resident Indian market to the entire Middle Eastern Gulf (GCC) region.” Credit Suisse said it has already completed its move to ‘The Gate’ - the new complex, which forms the centrepiece of the infrastructure of the Dubai International Financial Centre and will be able to accommodate the future growth of the Credit Suisse branch. Credit Suisse joins a growing number of global institutions, which have already been awarded various types of DIFC licence. US asset management firm, Franklin Templeton, received its licence earlier this week, joining Standard Chartered, Julius Baer and GCC Energy Fund Managers, who also have licences to operate within the DIFC zone.

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