The target is part of the bank’s strategy to attract more capital from outside the region.

It has held meetings with investors in Western markets to discuss its plans and it will repeat its international roadshow towards the end of 2008.

“We are getting a lot of appetite from international clients, including hedge funds, pension funds and institutional investors, about investing in the Middle East because the markets here have outperformed the rest of the world,” says Hameed.

“By the end of 2009, we aim to have raised $1bn in new money to invest in the region, from international investors.

“Global investors are looking at the region in a big way now, because it is a frontier market that is not very correlated to developed markets.”

The GIH asset management team controls assets of about $5.4bn. It invests in actively traded stocks around the region, rather than passively holding the money in long-term investments. This has enabled GIH to outperform the regional markets by 19 per cent, according to Hameed.

The biggest opportunities now for the asset management business lie outside the region, says Hameed.

“Everyone in the region who wants equity exposure tends to have it now, so the biggest opportunities are attracting capital from outside the Middle East,” he says.