May 07, 2012

Bank of Montreal has set up a representative office in Abu Dhabi, expanding the Canadian bank's Middle East reach as the bank targets the region's vast wealth management market.

BMO, Canada's No. 4 bank, already serves clients in the United Arab Emirates, but will be able to market wealth management and investment banking services more thoroughly with the presence of an office in the country's capital.

"The investment management market in the Middle East amounts to more than $2 trillion and is growing rapidly," William Smith, Bank of Montreal's head of Europe and Middle East, said in a statement.

BMO and its Canadian rivals emerged from the financial crisis in strong shape and have been aggressively expanding internationally over the past few years.

Bank of Montreal acquired U.S. retail bank Marshall & Ilsley Corp last year. It has also targeted wealth management as an area of expansion.

Representative offices, through which a bank can market its services but not directly conduct transactions, can be established more easily than branches in a new market.

(Reporting By Cameron French; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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