Tags: Khalaf | Al-Habtoor | Obama | Plan

Dubai Guru: Obama Plan Damaged All Global Markets

Monday, 25 Jan 2010 01:55 PM

President Barack Obama's proposals last week to crack down on banks is making investments in the financial sector less attractive, a Dubai-based stakeholder in Barclays said on Monday.

Khalaf al-Habtoor, chairman of the Habtoor Group, said Obama's proposals to split traditional banking activities from riskier areas had destabilized the markets.

The company, one of the United Arab Emirates' largest family businesses, was one of several Middle East investors that bought into Barclays in 2008 as the lender looked to boost its capital to weather the financial crisis.

Speaking to Reuters on Monday, Habtoor said the group was no longer looking at the financial sector.

Habtoor had said in August that if there was an opportunity in a good English bank, the group was ready to look at it and buy the shares.

"Not really, we're not looking at that," he said on Monday.

"The market is not stable and the wrong announcement from the head of the United States has damaged the market ... With all my respect to him, he has damaged all the markets in the world, including the UAE."

Dubai's main index tumbled 5 percent on Sunday following a global slump in world markets on the back of Obama's plans.

The proposals to split traditional banking activities from riskier areas will harm U.S. banks without international co-ordination, a prominent Swiss banker also said in Monday's Financial Times.

While financial sector stability is crucial to the U.S. recovery, targeting its banks unilaterally could hit their perceived competitiveness, Patrick Odier, chairman of the Swiss Bankers Association, was quoted as saying.

"Rather than breaking up institutions it could be more appropriate to make use of risk-adjusted capital requirements," he was quoted as saying.

Odier, a senior partner at Geneva-based Lombard Odier, was upbeat on the outlook for Swiss private banking, and said adequate regulation had underpinned the robustness of the country's financial system.

"I think the outlook is positive," he said.

"The Swiss financial centre has done well during the crisis and weathered the turbulence much better than some others."

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President Barack Obama's proposals last week to crack down on banks is making investments in the financial sector less attractive, a Dubai-based stakeholder in Barclays said on Monday. Khalaf al-Habtoor, chairman of the Habtoor Group, said Obama's proposals to split...
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