Apex in the News

Bahrain offers Bermudian businesses a remarkable opportunity to develop across the wider Middle East region

07 July 2010

Firms eyeing major business opportunities  

MANAMA: Bahrain offers Bermudian businesses a remarkable opportunity to develop across the wider Middle East region, according to Apex Fund services holdings group managing director Peter Hughes.

His Bermuda-based fund management administration service is already established in the Middle East with five staff currently based in Bahrain and another operation in Dubai.

But he is now looking to set up operations in both Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.

"We are already dealing with funds under management in the region in excess of $3 billion and with our brand we believe we can attract even more funds to Bermuda because investors have faith in our administration and best practice," he said.

"We have been established in the region for four years now and are looking to expand through this new relationship.

"One of the things I am particularly positive about is the number and quality of CVs we receive at our Bahrain office. There is certainly no shortage of young Bahraini talent for us to move forward," he said.

Bermuda Government assistant financial secretary (Treaties) Wayne Brown said the double taxation agreement and close financial co-operation agreed in April will benefit both economies.

"We have the potential to become the centre for the Islamic finance industry, particularly in takaful, and Bahrain can offer us the expertise in this field and professional Arab speakers who can tailor products and develop a product base to the needs of a market that includes more than 10 million Muslims in the US alone," he said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Bermuda partner Colm Homan is confident that Islamic finance business between the two countries can be up and running within 12 months.

His firm recently carried out a study into the potential for Islamic finance in Bermuda and concluded that the market for Sharia-compliant products was very good.

"There are not taxes to speak of here and risk underwriting for Sharia products is not that different from conventional insurance and that is an area where Bermuda is a world leader."

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