The financial sector in Mauritius has been deepened with the addition of two new banks, Warwyck Private Bank Ltd and Banque Richemount Limited, which are the first stand-alone, full-fledged private banks to be licensed in Mauritius.

The Bank of Mauritius on Friday granted banking licences to the two banks to undertake private banking business in Mauritius.

The two new banks are expected to offer specialised services and financial advice exclusively for high net worth individuals, and will not engage in retail banking business.

At the licensing ceremony held at the central bank building on Friday, 25 April, Governor Rundheersing Bheenick said that Warwyck Private Bank Ltd and Banque Richemount Limited were a welcome addition to the Mauritian banking landscape.

He noted that private banking was a thriving business with assets under management expected to reach USD55 trillion by 2015. He added that the two new banks would have to meet the challenge of establishing a successful brand for themselves, locally and abroad.

The licensing of these two private banks is in line with the central bank’s objective of fostering new lines of banking activities in Mauritius, while ensuring that these activities are regulated and supervised in accordance with international best practices and norms.

It may be noted that the Bank of Mauritius started moving away from the universal banking model when the law was amended in December 2007, to provide an enabling framework for the implementation of Islamic banking in Mauritius.

Then, in December 2010, the Banking Act 2004 was amended to broaden the range of banking activities and encourage banks to carry on specialised lines of banking activities.

Taking into account both amendments, in 2007 and 2010, today a bank in Mauritius may carry on any or all of the following: banking business, Islamic banking business, private banking business, and investment banking business.

With these two banks obtaining a licence, the number of banks operating in Mauritius now stands at 23, of which 3 are specialised banks operating in the areas of Islamic banking and private banking.

Caption (Image: IHEML): The Bank of Mauritius granted banking licences to Warwyck Private Bank Ltd and Banque Richemount Limited to undertake private banking business in Mauritius.

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