The Dubai-based Emirates Bank Group announced on 6 October the formation of Emirates Merchant Bank, a new international offshore bank providing cross-border merchant banking and investment services. Incorporated in the Bahamas, the activities of the offshore bank will be controlled from Dubai. The group is also in the final stages of registering a new subsidiary in the UAE, known as Emirates Financial Services, which will handle the group’s local share business.

Emirates Merchant Bank will focus on a range of activities, including underwriting and private placement of debt and equity, the launching of initial public offerings and the provision of treasury and advisory services. It will also offer corporate finance, fund management and private banking services and intends to play an active role in the regional stock markets. The bank’s new general manager is Suresh Kumar, former chief manager of treasury & capital markets at Emirates Bank International (EBI). The division was previously providing investment and merchant banking services in the group.

‘The group’s offshore and investment banking activities have been growing and prospering for some years. The Emirates Merchant Bank has now come into its own within the group…and stands ready to provide a full range of services to clients all over the region,’ said Anis Abdulla al-Jallaf, managing director and chief executive of EBI.

Emirates Merchant Bank is effectively the result of the group spinning off EBI’s merchant banking activities. The new institution has a paid- up capital of $60 million, although officials said that it would soon be raised to allow it to strengthen its technological and human resource base. EBI will continue to offer corporate banking services. Group subsidiary Middle East Bank focuses on the retail market.