Fleming now manages more than $8,000 million of Middle East-sourced funds, says Frank Gardner, recently appointed director of Middle East operations. This represents a doubling of the funds under management since 1991. The bulk is for Saudi Arabian, UAE, Kuwaiti and Bahraini institutional clients. Fleming also distributes some $100 million in mutual funds annually, attracting institutional and retail investors.

Business boomed in 1993 in line with the global trend towards investing in securities markets. The downturn in the markets means similar expansion is not expected in 1994, but Fleming projects some further growth in investment business despite the more difficult market conditions.

Gardner, head of the Bahrain-based Robert Fleming Holdings, is returning to London to replace Rupert Wise as director of Middle East operations. Nicholas Lumsden takes over the Bahrain office in September. For 10 years, Fleming was the only UK merchant bank with an office in the Gulf. It has been joined by UK-based investment manager Warburg Asset Management, which opened a Bahrain office on 1 June (MEED 3:6:94).

‘Today, with liquidity tightening in the region, Fleming is looking at ways of helping to develop Arab capital markets, both in terms of privatisation and investment into the emerging stock markets in the Middle East,’ Gardner says.

To promote this process, Fleming plans to open a Beirut office in early 1995. Whereas the bank’s Bahrain-based operation promotes management services in the Gulf, the Beirut office is likely to specialise in debt raising and capital markets operations. Fleming’s chairman John Manser is one of a group of City of London financiers set to visit Beirut in October (MEED 10:6:94).

The Robert Fleming/Jardine Fleming group is one of the leading financial players in the Gulf region. Others include the UK’s Morgan Grenfell & Company, and the US’ Morgan Stanley and J P Morgan. Warburg has more than $3,000 million under management.