Investment bank UBS has outlined plans for expansion in its Middle East operations to help accelerate its growth in the region.
As well as increasing its investment banking division and equity research coverage in the Middle East, UBS has been granted conditional authorisation by Saudi Arabia’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to set up operations in the country and has applied for a license to operate in Qatar.
UBS plans to establish regional coverage of Middle East stocks out of the United Arab Emirates by the end of 2008. Following regulatory approval, UBS hopes to open its Saudi Arabia branch by the year-end. The new office will focus on its global core securities business, offering international and domestic clients wealth management, asset management and investment banking services. Mohammed Sammakia, currently a managing director in UBS’s fixed income division and president of the Middle East region based in London, has been named CEO of the branch.
“With over 40 years experience in the region, our decision to set up operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is further evidence of UBS’s long term commitment in the Middle East and marks yet another important milestone for the firm,” said John Fraser, chairman and CEO of UBS global asset management and group executive board member, in a statement. “The CMA approval give us the opportunity to extend our world leading position in wealth management in the region, but also brings us closer to our asset management and investment banking clients in Saudi Arabia.”
The firm has also applied to the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority to open and operate a branch in Qatar’s financial centre, which it hopes will increase its footprint in the Middle East.