Former JPMorgan Regional Head Joins Bahrain’s Digital Bank

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Former JPMorgan Regional Head Joins Bahrain's Digital Bank
  • Whampoa Group recruited JPMorgan’s Regional Head, Ali Moosa, for its digital bank in Bahrain.
  • The bank received in-principal approval in May 2023 and is set to launch in December.
  • Whampoa Group received a “Golden License” from Bahrain.

Whampoa Group, an investment group in Singapore, recruited JPMorgan’s Regional Head Ali Moosa to oversee Singapore Gulf Bank, which is located in Bahrain. The digital bank would offer payment services and settlement for crypto companies, as Bloomberg reported.

Moosa became the new Executive Vice Chairman at Singapore Gulf Bank, ending a three-decade career at JPMorgan Chase & Co. as Regional Head and Vice Chairman of the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa businesses.

Whampoa Group received in-principle approval in May 2023 from Bahrain, and the bank is set up to launch in December of the same year. Singapore Gulf Bank intends to offer digital banking services such as trading, custody, and asset management of digital tokens to institutions and investors globally and to ease financial integration between Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Bahrain is one of the Middle Eastern jurisdictions aiming to develop crypto hubs that protect investors and attract companies specializing in blockchain-based services. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are on the list as well, and Dubai is considered the second most crypto-ready city in the world due to its zero percent crypto tax.

Whampoa Group is one of the five recipients of the “Golden License” in Bahrain. Projects that qualified for the license created more than 500 local jobs or planned to invest more than $50 million during their first five years. The golden license is granted to local and foreign businesses, and it provides prioritization in the allocation of land and services, easier access to government services, and support from government funds.

Crypto companies are still facing many challenges due to the risks exposed by last year’s crash. The collapse of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange platform, and the bankruptcy of Three Arrows Capital, Celsius, and BlockFi.

Back in 2022, Whampoa Group announced its plan to raise $50 million for a crypto-related hedge fund and allocate $100 million for a venture capital fund dedicated to digital assets.