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Julius Baer acquires Merrill Lynch middle east wealth management units
Switzerland-based Julius Baer Group Ltd said it has purchased the wealth management units of Merrill Lynch located in Lebanon, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The third biggest wealth manager in Switzerland bought the international businesses after an agreement was formed last year.
Through the acquisition, Julius Baer said in a statement that it will be able to establish its presence in Beirut and Manama, Bahrain. It will also be able to strengthen its foothold in Dubai. The Zurich-based firm also said the businesses that it will acquire are already well-established. Merrill Lynch has operated private banking activities in Lebanon for over 50 years and in Bahrain for over 35 years. Aside from having formed solid teams of financial advisors and support staff as well as a broad customer base, Merrill Lynch has also developed close ties with authorities as well as business communities in the area.
Julius Baer will be taking over two offices of Merrill Lynch in Dubai which are based in the free zone located in the Dubai International Financial Centre and in the domestic Dubai market, respectively, the Swiss group said.
According to its statement, the employees, as well as most of the assets of the Merrill Lynch businesses, started the transfer process in the first days of December. It is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2014.
Julius Baer Member of the Executive Board and Head of Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa Rémy A. Bersier said in a statement, "I very much look forward to welcoming the new colleagues and clients. Gaining new footholds in the Middle Eastern markets of Lebanon and Bahrain and strengthening our existing Dubai presence is an important step for us and will enable us to further expand our footprint in this key growth region."
A Bloomberg report said Julius Baer agreed to purchase the non-US wealth businesses from Bank of America Corp in 2012. The governments in the Gulf region have used their oil riches for infrastructure and industry investments which has increased wealth in the region and spurred the demand for financial advice, the report said.