Ex-BNP Paribas private banker fined by Dubai regulator

DUBAI, Sept 23 Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:59am EDT

DUBAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) - A former BNP Paribas private banker has been fined by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) for executing two transactions worth a total 30.8 million dirhams ($8.4 million) for a client without his consent.

The regulator rarely makes its disciplinary actions public. Traditionally, in the Gulf Arab region, business topics considered sensitive in nature are not disclosed.

"It's a pretty strong move by the regulator and shows they are getting more serious now in protecting client interests. Previously, these events wouldn't be made public," said one asset management source, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Nikhil Das had been an associate director in BNP's wealth management arm since 2009. He was fined 73,400 dirhams ($20,000) and restricted from providing financial services in the Gulf Arab emirate's offshore financial centre for six years, the regulator said in a statement.

The regulator gave no details on the restrictions Das faces.

At BNP, he managed 24 clients, handling $225 million of assets, according to the LinkedIn profile. BNP declined to comment, while Reuters could not locate Das for comment.

The DFSA declined to name Das's employer, saying in its statement only that he was a "former" private banker.

Global wealth managers have flocked to the Gulf Arab region in recent years, lured by its energy and commodity reserves, relatively higher economic growth and rising population.

However, competition in the sector has intensified in recent years, with about 30 wealth and private banking firms seeking to attract clients from the region, leading to shrinking fees.

DFSA said Das, who had cooperated with its investigation fully, forged the client's signature on a number of documents and sent fraudulent letters and account statements, containing false and misleading information about his investments.

The client did not suffer any financial loss as a consequence, the statement said.

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