The Middle Eastern financial job market is showing signs of heating up again in 2014, but it’s not the bulge bracket banks that are doing the hiring. There are some financial services firms who are talking up expansion plans – here are seven people worth knowing in the Gulf financial sector currently.
1. Simon Penney, First Gulf Bank
Since Penney signed up to FGB as head of wholesale banking from RBS last year, it’s been expected that its investment bank will expand. Penney, like many investment bankers in the Middle East last year, switched from a global to a regional institution, which are looking to muscle in on deal activity in the MENA region. FGB is planning on adding 30 new people to its investment bank this year, as it hopes to capitalise on trade flows between Asia and the MENA region.
2. Zhou Xiaodon, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China
ICBC has been expanding in the Middle East over the last 18 months, having been involved in some big syndicated loan deals and project finance activities. It’s set to open an office in Saudi Arabia later this year and could move into Kuwait. While talk is currently focused on expansion through acquisition, there are likely to be job opportunities in 2014.
3. Imad Abukhal, BNY Mellon
BNY Mellon has been expanding its sales capabilities in the Middle East, primarily in its wealth management sales business. However, the appointment of Imad Abukhal from Western Asset Management as head of Middle East and Africa for it investment management business earlier this month is a clear signal of intent. Part of his responsibilities will include building out the investment management team in Dubai.
4. Fadi Al Said, Lazard Asset Management
Lazard opened a Dubai office for its asset management business in February, which involved lifting the entire team out of ING Investment Management in the Middle East. Farah Foustak will head up the office, but Fadi Al Said will lead the five person investment team. He is also charged with building out Lazard’s team, which will include new investment and distribution professionals.
5. Philip Southwell, Exotix
Exotix is an emerging markets focused investment bank based out in Dubai that has made a habit of hiring big names following the appointment of Philip Southwell as its new CEO from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The latest is Youssef Kabbaj, as managing director, who joined from GLG Partners last month, having previously worked at Goldman Sachs. The bank remains on course for an expansion.
6. Riad Meliti, Arqaam Capital
Arqaam Capital has been expanding out of its Dubai office over the past 18 months, looking to markets in Africa as well as other Gulf nations and taking on some heavy-hitters in the process. Headed by CEO Riad Meliti, The latest target is Saudi Arabia, where it will open an office and look to expand “organically”.
7. Karim Schoeib, Shuaa Capital
Shuaa Capital is back in the black, albeit by a mere DH3.8m, after posting losses for the last two years. It recently shook up its management team, installing Karim Schoeib as head of the investment bank. While few firms are talking up big expansion investment banking, Shuaa is anticipating a pick up in deal activity this year and will need to bulk up after cutting back a large proportion of its workforce.
8. Manal Al Omari, La Cloche Wealth Management
New kids on the block in the DIFC, La Cloche Wealth Management looks set to transfer its own staff across to the Middle East, possibly from its head office in Switzerland initially. However, inevitably most wealth managers tend to look for advisers and relationship managers who can open doors on the ground, so further recruitment seems likely.