According to the EDB, the number of financial institutions in the kingdom rose during the past year, hitting 415 by the end of January 2012, up from 403 at the equivalent point in 2011.
As International Adviser reported, recent entrants to the market include Swiss firms Notz, Stucki & Cie and Altaira Middle East. Others which registered in Bahrain during the course of 2011 included Canara Bank, AMP Capital Investors and Deloitte Corporate Finance, the EDB said.
However the EDB’s statement did not contain any reference to several firms who have reportedly decided to move their headquarters or staff from Bahrain to nearby Dubai. These included BNP Paribas, which last month asked a number of its back-office employees to relocate to the UAE.
Companies have been spooked by pro-democracy protests in Bahrain, which gained momentum in early 2011 as part of what is commonly referred to as the “Arab Spring”. Skirmishes were reported in the capital Manama last month, marking the one-year anniversary of the campaign.
Bahrain’s financial services industry employed more than 14,000 people at the end of 2010, the EDB said, of whom two-thirds were Bahrainis.