Emad Mansour, a veteran Gulf Arab banker, is planning to set up an investment bank in Dubai’s tax-free financial zone, he said on Sunday, joining a growing list of regional bankers taking advantage of a revival in deal making and a retreat by big investment banks.
Mansour, who has about 20 years of investment banking experience in the region, was most recently the chief executive of Doha-based Qatar First Bank (QFB), a sharia-compliant investment bank, which he helped set up in 2008. In September, QFB said Mansour had resigned as CEO.
The executive, who also previously ran the investment banking operations of Saudi Arabia-based Samba Financial Group , will file an application to the regulator of Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), and aims to launch the business in the first half of 2014, Mansour said in a telephone interview.
“I am currently talking to investors and expect to file an application in the next four to six weeks,” Mansour said.
The large-scale retrenchment of global banks in the last two years has enticed bankers like Mansour to set up their own firms and serve a niche client base who are not being catered for by the large international firms any more.
Middle Eastern investment banking fees reached $535.9 million during the first nine months of 2013, a 22 percent increase over the same period last year, and the best first nine months for fees in the region since 2009, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Fees from completed mergers and acquisitions transactions totalled $150.2 million, up 37 percent from the first nine months of 2012.
Mansour said his firm will initially focus on private equity transactions and then will move on to offering M&A, equity and debt capital markets advisory services before starting asset management operations.
The executive said discussions with potential investors and shareholders have been encouraging, adding that the new firm will be “well-capitalised” without stating how much he plans to raise for the firm.
Other former investment bankers from the region have also set up specialist boutiques betting on a continued upturn in activity.
Ziad Awad, a former Bank of America Merrill Lynch banker has started a boutique consultancy firm in Dubai to offer services to companies ranging from M&A and strategic advice to marketing.
Ali Asghar, previously U.S. investment bank Lazard Ltd’s most senior banker in Dubai, set up his own emerging markets-focused firm “Emerging Circle”, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in August.-Reutes