The Swiss company, which offers wealth management services to family offices and high net worth individuals, said the new company has been licensed to perform category three activities by the Bahrain Central Bank.
In addition to its wealth management services, the company offers proprietary investment solutions via a Luxembourg-based fund structure, Altaira Funds. These funds include Shariah-compliant funds which will be available through the new subsidiary.
Altaira said it has established offices in the Seef District of Bahrain’s capital city, Manama, and has assembled an experienced local staff, including Karim Alansari, who joins as senior client relationship manager, and Eman Mohammed, office manager.
Altaira is the second Swiss financial firm this year to set up in Bahrain after asset manager Notz, Stucki & Cie announced Bahrain would be the headquarters for its Middle East operations. The company, also based in Geneva, said at the time Bahrain had positioned itself as a major regional financial hub, with an “excellent infrastructure and a superior regulatory system”.
The announcements come despite renewed unrest in the country which saw tensions flare up last week on the anniversary of huge demonstrations in the capital last year.
The unrest comes from the Shi’ite majority who are calling for democratically elected members of Parliament to be able to form governments. The Shi’ites say they are marginalised, politically and economically, by the ruling Sunni Al Khalifa family.
Ghazi Abdul Jawad, chairman of Altaira Middle East said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Gulf-based individuals to access wealth management services provided by a Swiss wealth manager with truly global expertise combined with a “local” Shareholder base.
“Altaira Middle East has several Saudi-based shareholders and is managed by a group of people with long experience in the Gulf region. This differentiates us from most asset managers currently operating in Bahrain.”