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Bank tells the real story

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Bank tells the real story

Troubled Investment house produced pamphlets telling its clients what happened and how they plan to bring the company back on its feet

Financial Times Published: 00:00 March 18, 2010

Gulf companies are rarely known for transparency and often become even more opaque at times of financial distress. But Global Investment House, a Kuwaiti investment bank that defaulted in December 2008, has chosen another tack.

Rather than retreat into a shell, the bank opted to be open and transparent about its restructuring. Global management produced pamphlets detailing what the company was going through, and distributed badges to employees that exclaimed: "I am up to the challenge."

When a restructuring plan was signed late last year, the bank's employees wore "We did it" badges and marked the occasion by erecting a large blue sign outside its headquarters in Kuwait City, "celebrating Global's debt restructuring", and listed its multifarious creditors.

"2009 had its battlefields, and there was a lot of pain, but things are looking better now," says Maha Al Gunaim, Global's chairwoman and managing director.

Regional bankers, some of whom doubted Global could survive its default, grudgingly salute its conduct over the past year

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