Bahrain Middle East Bank is moving ahead with plans to concentrate its activity on providing investment services with the launch of its Asia- Pacific fund. In 1994, the bank reported a sharp drop in its commercial lending, which its says will continue in 1995, and says it is planning new investment products (MEED 17:2:95).

The Asia Pacific Performance fund has now raised $20 million, after reaching $15 million at the initial closing of the open-ended fund at the end of February. The funds are being invested in listed securities on Asia’s stock exchanges, and shares in the fund are listed on the Luxembourg stock exchange.

BMB set up the product with Demachy Worms & Cie Asset Management and Banque Cantonale de Geneve. The managers are Worms Asset Management, Sloane Robinson Investment Management and Lloyd George Management.

‘Asia Pacific markets are turning around now,’ says Ed Burkins, head of marketing at BMB. The bank is also looking at the possibility of setting up another fund to tap Asian markets, but Burkins says plans are still at an early stage.

The focus on developing home-grown investment products is part of BMB’s strategy put in place by the new management to continue the shift away from commercial lending, he says. At the end of 1994, the BMB-managed Proinvest global diversified fund was launched, which has capital of $60.5 million.

During the past two years, BMB has made several new senior management appointments. The latest appointment is Dominic Bullman, who has taken up the post of assistant vice-president at BMB moving from manager of futures and options at the National Bank of Bahrain.