France: UBS bolsters French
Turkey: Julius Baer looks to
Turkey, Eastern Europe…
Taiwan: Foreign
private banks get warning…
India: Coutts
appoints Davies to oversee Indian ABN
The Netherlands: Dresdner
makes fresh Benelux acquisitions…

DIFC pushes to become Single Family Office hub

The Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) has introduced new
regulation designed to facilitate the creation of more Single
Family Offices (SFOs) in the region.

Originally announced in June, the changes came into effect on 2
September with a view to attracting some of the $1 trillion in
assets thought to be held by family businesses in the Middle East.
DIFC has already established the DIFC Family Office initiative in
order to help put in place the necessary infrastructure for the
creation of family offices.

“In contrast to conventional financial institutions, Single Family
Offices have no direct public liability as all their shareholders
are bloodline descendants of a common ancestor,” said DIFC governor
Dr Oman Bin Sulaiman. “As such, their regulatory requirements
differ significantly. By establishing the new regulations, DIFC is
reaffirming its commitment to family businesses and the development
of DIFC into a hub for local, regional and international family

Coutts appoints Davies to oversee Indian ABN

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The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has appointed Paul Davies as head
of ABN AMRO’s Private Clients business in India as the UK
institution looks to further the integration of ABN’s sizeable
wealth management operations.

Following a period of transition, ABN AMRO Private Clients will
operate as RBS Coutts, bringing Indian operations in line with the
RBS international private banking brand.

Davies, who will oversee the integration of the ABN AMRO Private
Client unit within India, has previously spearheaded RBS Coutts’
wider non-resident Indian (NRI) strategy.

“As RBS Coutts has a substantial NRI business managed out of
Singapore, an onshore presence in India will complement and
strengthen both businesses,” Davies said.

UBS bolsters French network

UBS has expanded its French wealth management proposition via the
opening of a new office in Toulouse, adding to existing branches in
Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Cannes, Aix-en-Provence, Lille, Marseilles,
Nantes and Strausbourg.

The troubled Swiss bank has also introduced a new head of wealth
management in France to replace Gabriel Castello, who takes up a
broader role helping oversee UBS wealth management activities
across Europe and Africa. Thierry de Chambure has been appointed to
the French role.

UBS now employs 425 staff in France, having gradually expanded
since the opening of its original Paris office in 1999.

Deutsche targets Russian HNWs

Deutsche Bank is taking a 40 percent stake in UFG Invest, a
Moscow-based investment manager, to create a strategic partnership
in Russia. The German bank will have an option to take the stake
ultimately up to 100 percent.

The existing Deutsche asset management business in the country, DWS
Investments (Russia), will be amalgamated with UFG Invest, with the
combined business branded as Deutsche UFG Capital Management.
Financial terms were not disclosed.

Deutsche is also negotiating a strategic minority stake for in UFG
Advisors, a hedge fund management company providing services to
institutional investors and high net worth individuals.

UFG, with assets under management of more than e400 million ($564
million), is ranked among the top 10 firms in the Russian asset
management industry. Its product range includes investment funds
and discretionary portfolio management for private and
institutional clients.

Igor Lojevsky, chief executive of Deutsche Bank Russia, said:
“Deutsche Bank acted early to become a leading player in top-tier
financial services in Russia. The acquisition of UFG’s investment
banking business in 2004 was a big step forward, and this new
transaction further strengthens our role in Russia.”

Julius Baer looks to Turkey, Eastern Europe

Julius Baer has been granted approval to open a representative
office in Istanbul by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency
of Turkey, confirmation that wealth managers are turning their
attentions to the country.

In June, Merrill Lynch director of emerging European markets, EMEA
wealth management, Jean-Marie Deluermoz said the firm would move
into Istanbul by the end of the year. Barclays Wealth is among
those forecasting strong HNW growth rates in Turkey.

Separately, Julius Baer has appointed Stephan Haeberle as regional
head of Central and Eastern Europe and parts of Africa. Haeberle
joins from Liechtenstein’s LGT, where he was head of Private
Banking International.

“I am convinced Stephan will successfully drive the further
development of our activities in these dynamic regions,” said
Julius Baer CEO Alex Widmer.

Foreign private banks get warning

Amid a major money laundering scandal in Taiwan, regulators in
Taipei are warning that a number of foreign private banks are
circumventing local laws by failing to get a regulatory greenlight
before approaching clients.

The warning comes after Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and ABN Amro
pledged to help an investigation by the authorities into alleged
laundering by the island-state’s former president, Chen Shui-bian
and his family.

The Special Investigation Unit, which is running the investigation,
has sought assistance from several foreign banks, according to
officials. Spokesmen for Merrill and Credit Suisse stressed it was
their banks’ policy to cooperate with authorities, while an ABN
Amro spokesman wasn’t available for comment.

The investigation was launched following a similar move by the
Swiss authorities. Copies of Swiss documents allegedly showed
Chen’s son, Chen Chih-chung, and daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching,
had transferred $31 million to her Swiss bank accounts in 2007.
Chen Shui-bian has also confessed that his wife wired abroad $20
million from his past campaign funds, but has denied money

The Netherlands
Dresdner makes fresh Benelux acquisitions

Dresdner Bank has acquired Dutch wealth managers Franke &
Partners and De Vries & Co, according to the news agency
Bloomberg, a move which furthers the German bank’s acquisitive
expansion strategy in the Benelux.

Dresdner, itself set to merge with German rival Commerzbank (see
page 1), last year acquired Belgian wealth managers Van Moer
Santerre & Cie and Damien Courtens & Cie, adding roughly
3,000 clients and €500 million ($705 million) in assets under
management (AuM) to its business.

The firm’s existing activity in the Netherlands centres around Veer
Palthe Voute, a Dutch private bank with around €2.5 billion in AuM
and a Dresdner subsidiary since 1999. In April, Joost Rietvelt,
chairman of the private banking team at the Netherlands’ oldest
independent bank F van Lanschot Bankiers, told PBI that an increase
in the transfer of privately held companies would provide a boon
for Dutch wealth managers in the coming years.