A comprehensive client relationships set up on the ground
Quite apart from the need to centralise the regional operation s support functions, the setting up of the regional hub in the Kingdom of Bahrain was also warranted by overall business line activity in the Gulf. Eric Cohu, General Manager of the Bahrain Full Commercial Branch from 2007, was well placed to witness these changes taking place. It is a fact that in the beginning the major CIB business lines were not very involved in the region, he said. It was Jean-Christophe Durand who persuaded them to take an interest in the Gulf States. He not only increasingly involved them in the growth of our operations, he also succeeded in persuading them to come and set up in the Gulf. We therefore saw Fixed Income, Project Finance, Structured Finance, Syndication, Corporate Finance and other business lines arrive in Bahrain. Without this on-the-ground presence of the major CIB business lines in the region, we wouldn t have been able to grow to the extent that we did.
Jacques Desponts shares this view. Jean-Christophe Durand was able to get the message across, first getting the business lines to take notice and then attracting them over to the Gulf. He never stopped saying that the Gulf was a lot more than just oil and the message finally got through! . The Bank s local operation presence is detailed below:
Financial Institutions and Official Institutions Client Relationships
The Financial Institutions Group (FIG) has had an active presence in the Gulf since the late 1990s. During these early years, the client relationship was led from Paris, but the potential for clients in the Gulf market led to a permanent presence there in 2001, based in Bahrain. Shortly after this, the Group was also given the task of developing Islamic Banking activities, a role it continued in until 2007, when BNP Paribas Najmah was set up. FIG s remit was to deepen relationships with financial institutions not only in the Gulf States, but also in Lebanon and Jordan.
The long-standing presence of BNP Paribas in the region has created a favourable climate for FIG. The Bank s reputation has allowed it to rapidly raise its profile with these sophisticated clients and it has been able to rely on a broad base of services involving the main BNP Paribas business and product lines: Fixed Income (rates, forex, credit and DCM), BNP Paribas Investment Partners (asset management), BNP Paribas Securities Services (custody, fund administration and futures and options clearing), Structured Finance (trade finance and risk participation, loans in both syndicated and bilateral form) and GECD (Global Equities & Commodity Derivatives) with equities derivatives flow, options on single stocks, indices on the main international markets and commodities hedging.
Laure Morsy, Global Head of Financial Institutions Group, underlines the importance that the BNP Paribas Group attaches to this category of clientele. More recently, financial institutions in the region have been key clients for the Bank for two reasons: firstly the region hosts a number of the wealthiest Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs), central banks and pension funds, which count among BNP Paribas top depositors in terms of both dollar
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