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Turkey: Banking still dominates

Turkey’s banks are the bedrock of its economic success and none is bigger than Isbank, the largest by assets. What is less well known is that the bank is a conglomerate, comprising not just other financial firms such as Is Securities and Is Asset Management but also large industrial concerns such as Sisecam, a speciality glass manufacturer.

Even though Isbank owns the largest securities house, the largest asset management company, the largest private equity business and the largest real estate investment trust, all these are small compared with the size of the bank. Isbank personifies how much the capital markets in Turkey need to grow to match up to the country’s banking system.

In its balance sheet of December 2010, the total value of all 27 of its subsidiaries (what it calls participations) came to 4.7% of its total assets. This is against 92.1% of the total made up of cash, loans and securities.

"Building a market is not easy and we have been building the capital markets for 30 years, in terms of volumes and instruments," says Ersin Ozince, chief executive of Isbank.

But investors in Isbank do not seem to care.

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