the role that Bahrain, as the leading financial centre in the region, plays in that develop- ment. At the Central Bank of Bahrain, we are actively working to ensure our regulation continues to provide a strong platform for region-wide growth, while developments such as the Bahrain Financial Harbour allow us to meet the constantly evolving infrastructure needs of the financial sector. These new premises are the physical expression of the suc- cess that BNP Paribas has enjoyed in this region for the past thirty-three years.

The Bank s objectives in 2008

BNP Paribas saw impressive growth in the region in the mid-2000s, allowing the Bank to firmly believe in its clear strategic objective: to become the global Bank in the Gulf.

By 2008, the business model was honed to develop three main businesses: Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB), Commercial Banking and Asset Management.

Corporate & Investment Banking, which participated in the financing of 15 to 20 projects per year in the energy, petrochemicals and aluminium sectors, now represented half of all banking activity in the region, while Commercial Banking, with six branches, represented a clientele of sizeable firms.

This vitality stemmed from the strategic decision the region had made, to forge strong local relationships with clients and to create synergies between its various business lines; it came into being with the full backing of the regional teams and the business line specialist counterparts.

The Bank also took steps to improve operational efficiency, as regional COO Erik Stroet explained. The region had deviated somewhat from its operational objectives of creating a regional hub in the Kingdom of Bahrain and ensuring a lighter branch presence elsewhere, he said. Over time the entities around the GCC had grown more independent again by recreating some of the functions. To tackle this matter, in that year we drew up and implemented a matrix organisation for the functions, whereby a head of function is responsible at regional level for the entire process of that particular activity between the hub and the branches. Meanwhile reporting lines were aligned to ultimately report to me as regional COO by having all regional heads and local COOs report to me, which had not been the case before. We reviewed the tasks and as a result improved efficiency.

BNP PARIBAS HOSTS GULF ECONOMIC OUTLOOK SESSION,

KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN, MARCH 2010 (AKHBAR AL KHALEEJ)

BNP Paribas hosts Gulf Economic Outlook Sessions

As a key financing partner for the Gulf region over the last four decades, BNP Paribas has been well placed to analyse trends in the region s economies.

As the global economic crisis unfolded in 2008 and 2009, the Bank s management in the region believed it was important to engage in analytical discussion of the impact of the crisis and to set out their belief in the strong fundamentals of the Gulf economies. One of the initiatives taken was a series of sessions on the economic outlook for the Gulf in 2009 and 2010.

The events, held in the Kingdom of Bahrain, attracted media from across the region, and featured prominent economic policy-makers and executives from BNP Paribas. In 2010, the opening panel discussion included H.E. Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Bahrain, H.E. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of the Kingdom of Bahrain and H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of the Bahrain Economic Development Board. Antoine Sire, BNP Paribas Global Head of Communications, gave his perspective on international developments, especially in the Eurozone countries, while Jean- Christophe Durand, Head of Corporate & Investment Banking for the Middle East and Africa, gave his views on the region s economies.

BNP PARIBAS HOSTS GULF ECONOMIC OUTLOOK SESSION, KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN, MARCH 2010

H.E. SHAIKH AHMED BIN MOHAMMED AL KHALIFA, MINISTER OF FINANCE OF BAHRAIN,

H.E. RASHEED MOHAMMED AL MARAJ, GOVERNOR OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF BAHRAIN,

H.E. SHAIKH MOHAMMED BIN ESSA AL KHALIFA, CEO OF BAHRAIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD

AND SENIOR BNP PARIBAS DELEGATION (ANTOINE SIRE AND JEAN-CHRISTOPHE DURAND)

80 T H E H I S T O R Y O F B N P PA R I B A S I N T H E G U L F S TAT E S