Credit Suisse opens shop in Pakistan

The Swiss bank appoints Farid Ahmed Khan to head its equity research and sales platform, which the bank plans to grow into a full broker-dealer operation.
Credit Suisse launched operations in Pakistan through a wholly-owned subsidiary based in Karachi on July 10. Initially, Credit Suisse Pakistan will offer equity research and research sales to institutional clients, but aims to expand its operations to include full broking-dealing services.

Credit Suisse expects to start full broker-dealer operations in the first half of 2009 and have around 20 people on the ground by then. The firm does not currently have a Karachi stock exchange membership but hopes to have it in place in accordance with its internal timetable. Credit Suisse also intends to expand its local footprint in Pakistan to offer investment banking services in due course, although it has not firmed up a timeline for this.

"TodayÆs launch is evidence of our strong commitment to Pakistan and signals our intent to serve as a bridge between Pakistan and the international investor community,ö Kai Nargolwala, CEO of Credit Suisse in Asia-Pacific, said in a written statement. Nargolwala was in Karachi to officiate at the opening of the new office.

Farid Ahmed Khan will lead the bank's equities business on the ground. Khan, who is currently a director, joined the firm in 2007 from MCB Asset Management. He has previously worked in Malaysia, Turkey and the UK for major international financial institutions. Credit Suisse has already put in place a research team for Pakistan that is actively covering the countryÆs equity market.

Credit Suisse started research coverage of Pakistan in 2006 and currently covers over 50 Pakistan stocks through its proprietary valuation framework HOLT.

Credit Suisse's foray into Pakistan follows close on the heels of its expansion in India and is part of the Swiss bank's strategy to strengthen its franchise in South Asia. Since 2004 Credit Suisse has been relaunching a full-suite of investment banking products in India in a phased manner. In July 2005 it opened a financial consultancy and advisory office for its private banking business in Mumbai. It subsequently established equity brokerage operations in March 2007 and obtained a merchant banking license in July 2007. Most recently, in May this year, it added wealth management to its suite of products in India.
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