The National Bank of Fujairah (NBF), with years of experience in the diamond sector in Dubai, has opened its first international representative office in the heart of the Antwerp Diamond District, the largest rough trading hub in the world. Opening a representative office will enable the bank to better service their Antwerp-based customers and will provide market intelligence to their headquarters in the UAE. The Dubai-based bank targets buyers and resellers of rough that have suitable business models, secure sources of income and solid product traceability. With the Antwerp Diamond Bank closing and Standard Chartered and India’s ICICI Bank withdrawing from diamond financing - particularly for large manufacturing operations in India - it is notable that NBF has opted to expand into Antwerp's rough trade.
The NBF viewed this situation as an opportunity, but NBF CEO Vince Cook and Davy Blommaert, the head of NBF's Diamond Division, siad that the bank is not intending to just work with anyone in the attempt to quickly gain market share. "We are not interested in making large, one-off transactions to make a quick buck. However, the fact that several banks have left the sector offers us the possibility to selectively work with high-quality companies."
“The arrival of this bank demonstrates that the Antwerp diamond industry offers an attractive business opportunity for financial service providers,” said Ari Epstein, CEO AWDC. “Anyone that does his homework and is prepared to acquire thorough knowledge about the diamond industry, will recognize that the many strict measures applicable to the diamond industry enable a financial service provider to develop a robust business.” The National Bank of Fujairah conducted a thorough analysis of the various diamond trading centers and opted for Antwerp as the location to open a new representative office."
The bank moved to launching its diamond financing business in 2015 after bringing in industry experts from Antwerp Diamond Bank’s (ADB) operations in Dubai to run the business. NBF’s diamond products primarily involves providing short-term purchase and sales financing to established diamond traders.
Commenting on the representative office launch, Vince Cook said: “Antwerp is the largest trade center in the world for rough diamonds,”This is a proud moment for us, and a great testament to our focus on providing our clients with the best financial advice and connecting them with important stakeholders both at home and abroad. Since launching the diamond financing business, we have realised that our clients who are present in both Dubai and Antwerp would benefit from NBF being present in these two major diamond hubs. We are committed to using our presence in Antwerp to build on our reputation as one of the leading banks in the diamond business and grow partnerships with the local community.”
Attending the opening ceremony were HE Mohamed Issa Hamad Abushahab, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Kingdom of Belgium, representatives from NBF Board and senior management, as well as esteemed partners and guests.