Business at the Bahrain branch in the 1990s
BNP occupied two floors of the Bahrain Kuwait Insurance (BKIC) building in the diplomatic area of Manama s central business district. A couple of bad experiences with loans to companies brought a change in strategy, and under the leadership of Maurice Blanchet, activity was redirected towards market trading and private banking.
Eric Josserand, who worked in Bahrain from 1994 to 2013, recalls his early days in Manama. BNP Bahrain was mainly a trading room which did a good deal of trading for its own account, he recalls. Interestingly a Danish trader, Thomas Johansen, and his team helped to develop BNP Bahrain as one of the two market leaders for the Forward Rate Agreement (FRA) market in short-term US dollars. Our FRA portfolio got up to US$60 billion in book value, which was a substantial amount at the time.
The business consisted in offering the narrowest possible spreads on these products to banks worldwide, while at the same time minimising our exposure to market risk. This
BNP ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN IN THE MIDDLE EAST, 1986
BNP PREMISES IN BAHRAIN, 1996
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