Merrill Lynch overhauls Middle East operations

Merrill Lynch, the largest investment bank in America, has shaken up the management of its International Private Client (IPC) group in the Middle East. The latest announcement comes on the back of waning merger and acquisition deals, relatively few initial public offerings (IPOs) and a sluggish economy.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  October 6, 2002

Merrill Lynch, the largest investment bank in America, has shaken up the management of its International Private Client (IPC) group in the Middle East. The latest announcement comes on the back of waning merger and acquisition deals, relatively few initial public offerings (IPOs) and a sluggish economy.

Soha Nashaat, office manager, has been appointed market leader for Kuwait and will help develop IPC’s Middle East business model, with a primary focus of aligning the firm's four client segments, including: the International Private Investment Banking Group that serves ultra-high net worth individuals (HNWI) with investable assets of more than US$25 million, Wealth Management Services that serves HNWIs with investable assets between US$1 million and US$25 million, Financial Advisory Services that serves individuals with investable assets below US$1 million and Institutional Services which serves mid-sized organizations, such as businesses, banks and financial intermediaries.

Anwar Abusbaitan, manager, has been appointed market leader for Jordan, Oman and Qatar, in addition to his current function as market manager for Bahrain. Mones Bazzy, manager, has been appointed market leader for the United Arab Emirates and oversees wealth management operations in Dubai, Bahrain and Beirut.

Bruno Daher remains market executive for the Middle East, and now assumes market leader responsibility for Saudi Arabia as well as the global non-resident Indian (NRI) business. “The Middle East is a very important region for Merrill Lynch and these appointments reinforce our commitment to providing superior wealth management to our clients here,” Daher said in a company statement.

“Soha, Anwar, Mones and the team combine Merrill Lynch’s global resources with local experience and expertise to provide clients with the world’s best financial management. This is an area where we, as a global financial provider and wealth manager, have a major competitive advantage,” added Daher.

In addition to absorbing US $2.2bn to cover cost-cutting measures globally, the investment bank fired 9,000 out of its 67,000 work force in early 2002, while representative offices globally have been affected, including the Middle East. The Middle East operations of the financial behemoth were feeling the pinch mostly in their satellite offices.

A former Merrill Lynch employee in the region, informed ITP.net online in February 2002 that the Jordan satellite office of Merrill Lynch Bahrain had made most of its staff redundant, with only 3 people left in the Amman office. According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the office only managed $50 million in assets.

The Khaleej Times reported on Sept. 28, 2002 that the Merrill Lynch Dubai office had cut its staff by 70% with only 30 employees currently operating in the Emirate.

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