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Monday, March 1, 2021

UBS pushes expansion into the Middle East with new Qatar office

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The investment bank is looking into breaking into Qatar, the country with the highest GDP per capita.

UBS Group AG is tapping into the Qatari market to add investment banking and asset-management to its wealth management services, expanding its presence in the Middle East. 

Qatar’s per-capita income is almost six times that of the world average, according to World Bank data. Having a presence on the ground also opens UBS to the opportunity of potentially managing assets on behalf of one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, the Qatar Investment Authority

The new Doha wealth office will open within weeks and UBS intends to hire about 20 employees by the end of the year, a person briefed on the plans told Bloomberg.

The investment bank also hired Tarek Eido from HSBC Holdings Plc to oversee its wealth management business in Qatar, according to a memo the bank sent to employees.

The Doha office will serve as the second regional hub after Dubai. It also has offices in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Over the longer term, the its operations will be expanded to include investment banking and asset management businesses. 

Last week, UBS chief executive officer, Ralph Hamers said the bank is looking at its presence in different regions and re-evaluate whether it would be able to gain scale, serve the market only in a cross-border fashion, or seek out a local player to partner with.


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