The offshore banking unit of Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait (BBK) has joined with the Geneva-based Pictet & Compagnie to offer specialised private banking services to its clients in the Gulf. Pictet is one of Switzerland’s largest investment banks and manages funds of $38,000 million, 40 per cent of it from institutions and the remainder from private individuals, BBK says.

Pictet’s investment consultant, Laurent Chappuis, has been seconded from BBK’s Manama office to work on the project. BBK intends to market custom- made investment products designed and managed by Pictet to clients in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, eastern Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

Private banking is a new service from BBK. General manager Murad Ali Murad said in November that the bank intended to persuade Gulf nationals to bring their private banking business back to Bahrain from Europe (MEED 5:11:93).

BBK is also planning to expand its Gulf branch network. A new branch is planned in one of the GCC states this year. The bank currently has branches in Kuwait and Bombay, India, and an affiliate in Oman.

BBK underwent a far-reaching financial restructuring in 1992 (MEED 27:11:92). The bank, due to announce its results by the end of February, says 1993 profits will be higher than the BD 9.1 million ($24.1 million) in 1992.