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Fortis Launches the Arabia Fund

Brussels, Belgium - Apr 3, 2006 (PRN): Fortis has launched the world's first fund of funds focusing on the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The Arabia Fund is managed by Fortis Multi Management, a specialist organisation within Fortis, dedicated to the research and selection of third-party funds.

The Arabia Fund provides a unique opportunity to profit from the growth prospects in the Middle East. The Fund will spread its investments across ten to fifteen regional funds. Experts at Fortis Multi Management have extensively researched the potential fund managers for the Arabia Fund and believe that the recent correction in Arab equity markets has created an opportunity for long-term investors to enter these markets at more reasonable valuation levels. Investing with carefully selected fund managers who can identify the quality companies from the weaker ones means attractive returns will be possible.

Faisal Raman, Portfolio Manager of the Arabia Fund says: "Based on our knowledge of the regional markets and our capacity to actively manage the portfolio at different fund managers and in different countries, we will strive to bring superior performance to our clients through this creative way of investing in the region."

Dubai-based Mubashir Sheikh, Managing Director and Regional Head of the Middle East and Indian Sub-Continent for Fortis Private and Commercial Banking comments: "We are pleased to introduce the Arabia Fund, which is a unique opportunity to invest based on the collective wisdom of several experts in GCC regional markets. This fund of funds offers investors an intelligent way to profit from the region's growth in a risk-diversified manner."

Fortis Multi Management has extensive experience in the selection of third-party investment managers and currently manages in excess of USD 7 billion in multi-manager assets. Fortis Multi Management has pioneered primary research and the selection of fund managers since it co-founded the world's first fund of hedge funds in 1969. Fortis Multi Management offers multi-manager solutions with regard to a wide array of investments, including equities, fixed income, hedge funds, private equity and real estate.

Fortis is an international financial services provider engaged in banking and insurance. We offer our personal, business and institutional customers a comprehensive package of products and services through our own channels, in collaboration with intermediaries and through other distribution partners.

With a market capitalisation of EUR 38.3 billion (31/03/2006), Fortis ranks among the twenty largest financial institutions in Europe. Our sound solvency position, our presence in 50 countries and our dedicated, professional workforce of 57,000 enable us to combine global strength with local flexibility and provide our clients with optimum support. More information is available on www.fortis.com

Fortis is represented in the Middle East through its Swiss banking entity Fortis Banque (Suisse) S.A., located at the Dubai International Financial Centre in the United Arab Emirates. For further details: http://www.fortisbanque.ch

For more information, contact:

Fortis Multi Management
Dirk-Jan Schuiten
Client Service and Business Development
Tel: + 31 20 527 5296
Email: Dirkjan.schuiten@fmm.fortis.com

Fortis Banque (Suisse) S.A.
Dubai International Financial Centre
Mubashir A. Sheikh
Managing Director and Regional Head Middle East and South East Asia
Tel: +9714 3621400


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