ASIA - CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) has revealed it is opening an office in Bahrain as part of the development of the company's Middle Eastern business.

Mike Strong, chairman of CB Richard Ellis for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said this move follows the firm's decision to expand its presence in the Middle East and develop more opportunities for its international client base, as well as to facilitate entering important markets like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to provide adviser services.

"The opening of an office in Bahrain is another important step forward in our Gulf expansion strategy, and allows us to extend our services into a rapidly growing region. We are particularly pleased to add experienced professionals to our team and our international clients are already benefiting from their local knowledge and contacts," said Strong.

Bahrain has approximately 400 licensed financial institutions and has been the region's financial capital for over 40 years, according to CBRE's Nick Maclean, managing director of CBRE Middle East.

A recent report by CBRE indicated sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) were set to invest USD $725bn (€575bn) in commercial real estate by 2015, and CBRE expects Gulf SWFs in particular to make more investments as a result of high inflows of capital.

The Bahrain office will be based in the central business district of Manama and will be managed by Mike Williams, who has spent the last 10 years working in the region in a variety of consultancy roles.

CBRE expects to employ more than 100 people in the Gulf region next year, of which approximately 20 will be based in Bahrain.

CBRE EMEA manages over $16.9bn in assets under management and has 281m sq.ft of property and corporate facilities under management.