Credit Suisse has announced the opening of a new office in Birmingham in response to growing demand for private banking from high net worth individuals in the Midlands.
The move comes at a time when the sub-prime-hit global financial services group is reducing its headcount in its City operations following major writedowns.
Despite the credit crunch, Credit Suisse reported an increase in the number of entrepreneurs, family businesses and professionals in the Midlands who are looking for tailor-made wealth management and investment services.
Richard Algar, director and head of the UK regional team in Credit Suisse’s private banking division, said the office opening was part of the bank's long term regional plan.
"It’s part of our strategy which we’ve had for a long time. The regional team at Credit Suisse has been active in the Midlands for two years. It’s something we’ve always intended doing," said Mr Algar.
He said there was a strong market for wealth management services in the region among high net worth individuals such as entrepreneurs, those with landed money and wealthy individuals in the media and sport sectors.
"We feel that there is an under-resourced market for wealth management in the Midlands," he said.
The office, at 172 Edmund Street, will be run by Amrit Uppal, head of the bank's Midland operations, who joined Credit Suisse in 2006 and who has been covering the region for the past eight years.
Mr Uppal is from the Midlands and knows the region well.
The new office will not have any major immediate impact on job creation in the region, apart from the addition of an office manager, as the four relationship managers who will be based in the office have been working out of the region for the past two years.
But Mr Algar said Credit Suisse saw the Midlands as a key region and the firm intended to recruit another four relationship managers to work out of the office over the next couple of years.
"The Midlands is a key focus for us in terms of our regional strategy. We will use the Birmingham office as a base to expand in the whole region." said Mr Algar.
"There are great opportunities in Birmingham and the rest of the West Midlands," he added.
Credit Suisse has expanded its presence in the UK regions over the past five years, building on its operations in London to offer private banking to clients in the North, Thames Valley, the South East, the South West and East Anglia.
Parallel to the Birmingham opening, it is also establishing a new office in Manchester.
The Birmingham office launch comes at a time when the financial services giant has announced plans to cut 500 jobs from its investment banking arm, including 150 jobs at its Canary Wharf offices in London.
The group has taken a significant hit in credit crunch writedowns, clocking up a first quarter loss of £1 billion.
Chief executive Brady Dougan described the results as "clearly unsatisfactory."