Good times in Bahrain vis-à-vis its business sector. Recent news from the region is that according to a Yahoo news article, its “business firm sector saw strong first quarter growth with an increase of more than 40 percent in managed assets compared to last year.” Principle investments also jumped the equivalent of $325.22m. According to Rahman Al Baker (CBB Executive Director of Financial Supervision), “this sector has shown substantial growth since its inception and still is promising further growth in the coming few years.” Now that has to leave Bahrainians smiling, or at least its business people.
It seems that one of the reasons for this is the development of the IB license. Before that was in the place there was an “antiquated and cumbersome licensing process for firms wishing to provide investment products and services like asset management and brokering and advisory services.” The introduction in 2006 of this new one by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has led to the escalation of IB’s from 22 to 51 in five years. As Baker pointed out, “the creation of this license has attracted a number of prominent regional and international financial institutions to establish investment business firms in Bahrain.”
Great Potential for Bahrain
All of this spells great news for Bahrain irrespective of the “economic uncertainty” plaguing major parts of the world. This led Ayman Al Tajer (CBB Director of Financial Institutions Supervision Directorate Mohammed) to feel “optimistic” about the country’s “ultimate recovery and growth.” He said that “the global economic crisis had put pressure on the region’s capital markets and investors. However, it is an established fact that any crisis or slowdown is a time phase of a given economic cycle and problems would always bring about opportunities.”