The report from research house, Insight Discovery, found a highly competitive market, which presents significant opportunities, being served by at least 61 private banks (see below for a full list of the international private banks operating in the GCC).
Insight Discovery found of the private banks operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council, almost half (30) had their head office outside the GCC, mainly in the UK, North America or Switzerland. Interestingly, all of these international private banks had their main GCC office in Dubai – a city clearly seen asa hub for high net worth wealth in the region.
As well as looking at where the private banks are from, Insight Discovery also explored the numbers of individual private bankers working for each organisation and where the banks typically booked their business.
The company found a significant disparity between the numbers of private bankers working for each of the 61 companies. The firm said it estimates that two organisations employ more 50 private bankers and six employ between 26 and 50. Meanwhile “a significant number” (37) employ between one and 15 private bankers.
The research house also found that many international private banks booked their business in international financial centres, away from the GCC – partly because it is easier and also, because this is what some high net worth clients want.
Insight Discovery also found that many of the private banks that do establish a physical presence in the GCC are region “are unable to achieve the commercial results they had anticipated” and added that “it is not uncommon for private banks to close local operations after only a short period”.
Nigel Sillitoe chief executive of Insight Discover said: “We agree with the general consensus that private banking is developing more rapidly in the GCC than in established markets such as Europe and North America.
“Moreover, it is clear that Dubai has emerged as the regional hub for the provision of private banking (and related) services to HNWIs. For a number of valid reasons, many of the private banks serve their clients in the GCC region through their offices in other international financial centres. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how Dubai and the other centres in the GCC region, which have ambitions in private banking, evolve over time.”
The 61 private banks in the GCC
ABN AMRO Private Banking
Bank of Singapore
BNP Private Bank
Citi Private Bank
Credit Agricole Suisse
DBS Private Bank
Deutsche Private Wealth
Habib Bank AG Zurich
HSBC Private Banking
JP Morgan PB
Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch
Nedbank Private Wealth
Royal Bank of Canada