Latest Intelligence on Financial Services in Middle East and Africa

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Coutts is fined for mis-selling AIG bonds

Private banking house Coutts has been fined GBP6.3m by the FSA for mis-selling bonds issued by US insurance company AIG. AIG's bonds were initially described as low risk but were caught up in the financial crisis in 2008 when AIG, one of the biggest victims of the crisis, had to be bailed out.

Published By Datamonitor
14 Nov 2011
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Visa enters new territory in the online payments sector with V.me

Visa has announced the launch of a new digital wallet, V.me, to compete directly with PayPal in the online payments sector. The digital wallet allows consumers to link their existing payment tools and make online transactions without having to reveal their card payment details to the merchant. Due to launch in early 2012, V.me will allow Visa to explore new territory as a digital wallet provider.

Published By Datamonitor
06 Dec 2011
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Bank of America Merrill Lynch: strategic refocus may be necessary but risks alienating clients

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is circling its wagons, limiting its geographic footprint and focusing on higher-margin clients. This is a risky strategy that is unlikely to win hearts and minds among affluent clients.

Published By Datamonitor
04 Jan 2012
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Why investment banks are of utmost importance to wealth managers

Recent issues have brought investment banking into the spotlight and have led some large global wealth managers to redefine the focus of their businesses. In the post financial crisis environment the reputation of investment banking has been shattered, but wealth managers simply cannot justify closing investment banking operations.

Published By Datamonitor
05 Jan 2012
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EFG International: 2012 set to be a critical year

EFG International is undergoing a significant restructure following a review of the business at the behest of its recently appointed CEO. The Swiss bank has struggled in recent years due to troubled forays into non-private banking activities, as well as poor cost management. The restructure of the group has seen it close offices and divest operations, and more announcements are likely to follow.

Published By Datamonitor
05 Jan 2012
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Card issuance boom runs against increasing popularity of mobile payments in Kenya

Mobile payments in Kenya have shown formidable growth over the past few years and are set to rapidly become the largest payment system in the country. Despite a sudden flurry of new debit cards issued in 2011, showing that there is still life in the payment cards market, mobile payments are set to overtake card payments by mid-2013 at the current rate of growth.

Published By Datamonitor
11 Jan 2012
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Middle East and Africa wealth markets are dwarfed by Europe or Asia but will grow three times faster

Global oil demand was one of the biggest wealth drivers in the GCC, especially in the more oil-dependent countries of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where the hydrocarbon industry accounts for the vast majority of GDP. South Africa's wealth market, on the other hand, is driven by manufacturing and services, and therefore the region's future growth is tied to the performance of the world's economies.

Published By Datamonitor
31 Jan 2012
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Falcon Private Bank: Middle East provides onshore and offshore growth

Falcon Private Bank is focusing on four geographies to grow its business: Switzerland, China, Russia, and the Middle East. With US tax pressures damaging Swiss banks and Middle East growth prospects high, the bank's strategy should result in growth and a stable future customer base.

Published By Datamonitor
09 Feb 2012
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Mobile banking boom expected in Nigeria

A number of recent announcements suggest that Nigeria is set for a mobile banking boom, with several banks looking to secure a share of previously unbanked or underbanked consumers. The latest announcements from First Bank and Standard Chartered suggest that the popularity of mobile banking in Africa is spreading beyond Kenya.

Published By Datamonitor
21 Feb 2012
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Altaira Wealth Management: another Swiss player focusing on the Middle East

Geneva-based Altaira Wealth Management has set up an office in Bahrain, hoping to entice wealthy Middle Eastern clients with its Swiss asset management offering. Altaira follows other wealth managers like Falcon Private Bank in offering Swiss expertise to these consumers, but with local competition increasing, foreign entrants may struggle in the region.

Published By Datamonitor
22 Feb 2012

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