and perhaps there will continue to be a need for them. But that kind of relationship is usually extremely transaction-orientated and operates in short bursts. When it comes to managing long-term assets for the long-term benefit of what might be future generations, Gulf financial institutions demand more. They do not want to be sold products. In fact, they do not really want products as such. They re looking for a solution. They need good advice and they want an opportunity to challenge the opinions they re being given and analyse various scenarios. They want a long-term partnership with someone who fully understands their requirements and whom they can trust to focus on their best interests at all times, even when those interests change over time. And they want instant access to their solution providers, repeatedly and often. They want them close, very close. In other words, they want to take advantage of your global footprint, but they also want you local.

As Lafeuille explains, it was natural for the Investment Partners business and the Financial Institutions Group (FIG) to develop together in the Arabian Gulf, as the two were naturally intertwined: IP had been working hand-in-hand with the FIG organisation all over the world for a long time to develop business with financial institutions, he recalls. When FIG decided to establish a presence in the Gulf, having previously managed its coverage from Paris, it was obvious to us at IP that our thinking was aligned with that of FIG. We felt the same way about relationships in the Gulf and what was most needed in order to develop and nurture them. FIG had pioneered our road ahead and, well, as they say, the rest is history.

In recognition of the potential of Kuwait, and the deep-rooted relationships developed there over the previous two decades, the launch of the Bahrain office was soon followed by the opening of a second IP office in Kuwait City in 2005, managed by Fahad Al-Sabah. By 2007, IP was bringing in sizeable business, roughly approximate to the deals brokered by long-time competitors. The business counted clients among many of the Gulf s biggest banks, pension funds, corporates, government agencies and sovereign wealth funds.

Assets under management from the region have grown a hundred-fold since the Bahrain office was opened, making a notable contribution to the $488 billion of total assets managed by BNP Paribas Investment Partners, as of mid-2014. Through a global network of 60 investment centres and some 700 investment professionals, BNP Paribas Investment Partners now offers the region s investors a broad range of multi-expertise investments across mainstream asset classes via specialist units. Investors are also given access to private equity and other alternative assets, as well as growing niche opportunities such as environmental strategies.

Fahad Al-Sabah, Regional Head, Middle East & Africa, BNP Investment Partners, says future development of the IP business hinges on maintaining extremely strong personal and institutional relationships: To continue to be close to our clients and to match their demands with our top performing strategies that is our strategy in a nutshell. Our local presence has played a tremendous role in growing our business in the past eleven years.

with the ambitious objectives set last year. We remain equally as ambitious for the year to come, in the wake of our ongoing projects and we will continue to develop and diversify our client base in the region.

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