Bemo Oddo to link Dubai and European investors

Bemo Oddo has offices at the Dubai International Financial Centre. (PATRICK CASTILLO)

Bemo Oddo Investment Firm, a newly-established banking firm at the Dubai International Financial Centre, is already in partnerships with some local banks to introduce their institutional clients to advisory consultations on mergers and acquisitions between local and European companies.

Roland Yazbeck, CEO of Bemo Oddo, told Emirates Business the company's unique service for the GCC region is to bring in partnerships between regional institutional and high-net wealth investors and Europe's know-how companies, who are seeking to expand their investments outside their traditional markets.

"We opened up in DIFC, not to compete with local banking services in the region, but to be partners with them. They will be our customers to help their institutional clients to expand in European markets. Also we will bring European expertise and know-how companies to the region," he added.

"We arrange for European companies seeking to go global new opportunities for expansion in the Middle East and GCC region through mergers, acquisitions or strategic alliances with local and regional players in different areas including industrial, hospitality, catering and transportation services."

Yazbeck said that despite 85 per cent of economic activities in the GCC region being owned by family companies, these firms had developed by the time and they are institutional bodies.

"Most of the family-owned companies in the region are operating according to institutional systems. Even family members are not managing these companies and we are seeing foreign managers at big family companies. This development in the management of family businesses in the region helps these companies to expand and enter into alliances with companies in other markets."

Bemo Oddo Investment Firm is a joint venture, 50 per cent owned by France-based Oddo Bank, a 200-year-old private bank, 25 per cent owned by Bemo Europe in France and 25 per cent owned by Banque Bemo in Lebanon.

Yazbeck said the joint venture brought together two groups of private banks with long experience in European and Middle Eastern markets.

"Banque Bemo has long history in the Middle East since 1950s and we have long experience with regional clients, while Oddo Bank has a wide range of banking services and products in European markets."

Jean-Philippe Tasle D'Heliand, Chairman of Bemo Oddo Investment, said the new company would introduce all banking services carried out by Oddo Bank in France and Europe.

"We have five main business channels including brokerage in French and European equities, asset management, private banking, corporate banking and custodian services for our business and for fund managers.

"Oddo Bank has more than €20 billion (Dh112bn) of assets under management, including €4.5bn in private banking for more than 25,000 clients.

"Half of the clients are French and the rest are from international jurisdictions.

"We have international offices in New York and Madrid and now here in Dubai, along with two offices in France. We target two categories of clients, institutional investors and high-net wealth clients," D'Heliand added.


Listing on European markets

Yazbeck said that Bemo Oddo would offer GCC investors opportunities to invest in European stocks. "Our focus in brokerage services is to play the role of a bridge between regional brokerage firms and European markets. We are co-operating with local brokerage firms in two areas, giving them access to sell their products for European investors who are interested in regional stocks, and give them access to diversify the portfolios of their regional clients through investments in European equities."

The Bemo Oddo Investment will also offer another service focusing on offering advisory and consultations for listed companies in GCC stock markets to be listed in European markets.

"GCC stock markets are well regulated and there is a kind of high-level transparency among listed companies, that will help them to be listed in European markets," said Yazbeck.

"Listing regional companies in European markets is very important step, especially for the potential volume of trading. Imagine the expected volume, which is very important for brokers, when local companies in the GCC region are being listed in European markets. This will accelerate the development of stock markets. We offer our services in IPO's and stock engineering."