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Sarasin Hires Will Target Sharia-Compliant Business

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(Corrects currency in third paragraph of story originally published on April 18.)

April 19 (Bloomberg) -- Bank Sarasin & Cie AG, the Swiss wealth manager controlled by Rabobank Groep NV, plans new hires in Dubai and Singapore to build its Sharia-compliant business.

“We’ve beaten our targets for assets under management and profitability,” Fares Mourad, head of Islamic finance at the Basel, Switzerland-based bank, said today in an interview. “The business has developed very nicely.”

Sarasin invests about 10 percent of Middle East clients’ assets in Sharia-compliant products after starting an Islamic finance unit in November 2009. The bank’s Asian and Middle East assets under management were 16.1 billion Swiss francs ($17.9 billion) at the end of 2010.

Sarasin employs three people in Switzerland and one in Dubai selling Sharia-compliant products to clients from Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Political turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East may generate more wealth for the region as oil prices increase, the bank said in a report published today.

“The big Gulf states stand to profit from the unrest in North Africa,” Jan Amrit Poser, chief economist at Sarasin, wrote in the bank’s second annual Islamic wealth management report. “The continuing rise in oil prices will generate a spectacular amount of additional revenue for the Gulf states.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Zurich at gbroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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