Big Bahrain Banknotes

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.

IB Breakthrough

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.”

Pakistan Investments Increase

Pakistan Packs It In

Despite the crazy floods to strike the country just a year ago, impacting a staggering 18 million people, it looks like Pakistan’s economy is actually growing today. Indeed, it looks like the country will be joining forces with Malaysia and economists expect economic cohesion between the two countries to expand “by at least 10 percent this year.”

According to Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, Malaysia’s Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister, there could be joint work between the following sectors: chemicals, palm oil downstream products, petrochemicals, and telecommunications. Because both countries have their own strengths, Mahatir told a “Business and Investment Opportunities in Pakistan” conference that he believes the two should take advantage of each other for mutual benefit.

Indeed, this has already been happening. The figure recorded for Pakistani investments in Malaysian manufacturing area reached a total of RM1.099 billion spanning 26 projects. As well, last year trade between the two countries was recorded at RM7.991 billion.

Booming Bahrain

Economic and financial advancement in Malaysia is going beyond the scope of its host country. Indeed its trading with Bahrain shot up to $192.2 million. As well, last year Malaysian exports to Bahrain reached $71.57 million and $120.6 million the other direction.

According to CEO of My Events International, Shahul Hameed, this “increased trade not only reflects a healthy business relationship with emerging countries in the South East Asian region but also shows its eagerness to explore key investment and financial opportunities inside and outside of the Middle East region.”

For sure whenever political issues get ironed out it, the way will be paved for economic and financial development as well.

Royal Bank of Scotland Merges with Faysal Bank Limited

Faysal Bank Limited has merged with the Pakistani division of the Royal Bank of Scotland limited.

Faysal Bank issued a press release stating that “This merger has been completed in record time, within three months of acquiring controlling interest.” In addition, all RBS branches in Pakistan are now being marketed under the Faysal Bank label.

Faysal Bank now has a network of more than 200 branches throughout the country. Its new asset base is more than Rs250 billion. Naved A Khan, the president of Faysal Bank noted that “This merger results in greater career and development opportunities for employees.”

Ithmaar Bank BSC, a retail-oriented Islamic bank, headquartered in Bahrain is the majority shareholder of Faysal Bank.