Dubai: The Middle East's private banking industry will adopt the open architecture independent asset management (IAM) model in the near future, said Gilles Rollet, chief executive officer of Mirabaud (Middle East) Limited, at the Private Banking Mena 2007 conference in Dubai.

Contrasting traditional banking relationships with the IAM model, Rollet pointed out that independent asset managers work closely with clients, providing opportunities to invest with multi-custodian banks thereby offering the best possible returns and the most flexibility.

Clients are also not limited to the products of the IAM, and are free to choose any product they choose in addition to the ones proposed by the IAM. Mirabaud (Middle East) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss banking group Mirabaud & Cie, is introducing the IAM model into the Middle East.

"The region will see a large part of the private banking industry move to the IAM model," said Rollet.

"IAMs gives customers the flexibility of being able to choose the best custodian bank for their assets and not be restricted to the bank that holds their account. By being licensed as an IAM by regulatory bodies, such as the Dubai Financial Services Authority and those that exist in Europe and Asia, private banks are able to offer their clients unparalleled levels of performance.

"The independent asset management model has served high net worth individuals and institutions throughout Europe for decades. In Switzerland, IAMs currently hold about Dh2.3 trillion in assets, with over 2,600 companies practising the model. IAM has become one of the most profitable structures possible for banks that make use of it, with annual growth rates averaging 15 per cent per annum. Most importantly, perhaps, IAMs allow banks clients to have an extremely close, long term relationship that is beneficial to all parties."