Akbank obtains license to operate from DIFC

Published: November 19, 2009

Akbank, Turkey's largest bank in terms of market capitalisation, has received a license to operate from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The Dubai office is named Akbank (Dubai) and is the first Turkish bank to set up at the DIFC. It aims to become one of the preferred consultants in investment banking and corporate finance in the region by leveraging the expertise and knowledge of its parent company and its local staff in the Dubai office. It will be headed by Cem Atac.

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO, DIFC Authority thinks that the DIFC is an ideal gateway for Akbank to launch its operations in the region, particularly as Turkish-GCC business relations continue to grow.

"We are delighted to welcome Akbank to the DIFC family, and look forward to a fruitful relationship that will bring these two high-potential markets closer together," Awar says. "The move is proof-positive that Dubai and Turkey have remained largely resilient during the ongoing global economic crisis, and re-affirms the vast potential in the region."

The core competence of Akbank Dubai will be its ability to intermediate in M&A, manage IPOs and dual listings of Turkish companies. It will also act as placement agent or arranger of funds, give advice on financing long/medium term projects and provide private banking services.

For Suzan Sabancı Dinçer, chairman and executive board member of Akbank, the strategic decision to open offices in the DIFC was its geographical positioning in international business. "The DIFC is the ideal hub for the growth opportunities we seek. Akbank will be reaching towards both the west and east with its best-in-class banking services. Akbank NV (Netherlands) is our base in the west and our Dubai office will be the centre in the east," she says.