Arqaam Capital, an emerging markets focused investment bank based in Dubai, has increased staff by 20% since January 2012 and is continuing to expand. Senior employees in shrinking bulge bracket banks have taken note.
While international banks have cut headcount in the Middle East, Arqaam has hired 18 people to take its total headcount to 110 across all of its offices – an increase of 20%. This week, it named former Credit Suisse banker Wafic Nsouli as its new head of institutional equity sales.
Marc Hoodless, managing director of HR at Arqaam Capital, said that its appeal has increased to bankers in bulge bracket firms.
“As many bulge bracket firms pull out or scale back their activities across emerging markets the attractions of institutions like Arqaam have become increasingly clear to potential hires,” he said.
In January, Arqaam acquired Egyptian brokerage firm, El Rashad Securities, and also bought Libya’s Al Rashad Finance in October last year. It’s planning further expansion into Africa and South East Asia, Arqaam’s chief executive Riad Meliti told Bloomberg.
The firm plans to expand its offices in Dubai, Beirut and London this year, as well as hire for new offices in Libya and Egypt, said Hoodless.
Regionally, Arqaam is a sizable operation as international investment banks in the Middle East have a typical headcount of 20-50 people. Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Nomura and Morgan Stanley have all eliminated jobs in Dubai over the past 12 months.
Arqaam’s focus is on growing economies in frontier and emerging markets. More specialist firms are entering markets like Iraq and Libya to gain an early foothold in these countries.
“As the global balance of power shifts away from developed to emerging and frontier markets these economies are returning to a period of growth and increasing confidence. We see opportunities across the markets in which we operate,” said Hoodless.