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Dubai: sun, sand and superabundance

The lure of high-paid, tax-free work in Dubai is proving too much to resist for some Australian bankers.

It’s a long way from Australia to the Middle East, but Rick Jansz, BSI People managing consultant for IT and financial markets, says candidates who might previously have moved to Asia are now considering Dubai, thanks to alluring pay and the range of jobs on offer. Tax-free packages of US$250k plus bonus are not uncommon.

“I spoke to a few candidates recently who were interested in looking at opportunities over in the Middle East, especially in Dubai, as an alternative to financial centres such as Singapore and Hong Kong,” Jansz says.

Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley are among the banks already in Dubai, while Rothschild gained a licence to operate there late last year.

What’s the attraction? Michael Morcos, managing director of search firm Edward W Kelley & Partners in Dubai, points to the big cash surplus across the Middle East, stemming from last year’s high oil price.

“The private equity arena is very hot – you’re seeing many private equity houses being created, so the jobs are anything to fill those teams up, from CEOs to fund managers to investment analysts and research teams,” Morcos says.

“In the investment banking area, we’re seeing new green-field banks being announced literally monthly, and there are a significant number of executives coming in to take up new positions.”

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