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Deutsche shifts top Mideast ECM banker to London

Deutsche Bank is moving its top Middle East equity banker to London from Dubai, the bank confirmed, the latest in a string of moves by international banks prompted by low business volumes in the region.

October 15, 2011 4:00 by

The German bank said Christopher Laing, head of MENA equity capital markets, was relocating to the UK from the Gulf, without adding further detail.

Earlier, four banking sources had told Reuters that Laing was returning to London, having been originally relocated to the UAE in 2008 when Western banks were boosting their presence in the Gulf to offset falling revenues in the United States and Europe.

However, the hoped-for boom did not materialise and, with scant equity issuance from the Gulf for the last three years, institutions are now drawing people back.

“There is just not enough business to warrant keeping a purely ECM banker based in the region,” a source with knowledge of the move said.

According to Ernst & Young, the value of MENA initial public offerings was down 52 percent in the second quarter of 2011, at $374.8 million from $775.4 million in the same period in 2010.

Globally, $64.6 billion was raised by companies through IPOs in the second quarter of this year.
Laing will continue to be based in Dubai until the end of the year and will formally begin covering the region from the UK in January, a second source said.

Citi has already moved its top MENA equity banker, Adam Key, back to the UK, according to two banking sources.

Key, who was also sent to the region from London in 2008, relocated over the summer, the sources said.

International banks have been reassessing their presence in the Gulf as a dearth of work is compounded by pressure to make cost savings.

Credit Agricole is closing its Middle Eastern mergers and acquisitions operations, with the business to be run from its Paris office, an executive told Reuters last month.

Meanwhile, Japan’s largest investment bank, Nomura, shut down its research department in Dubai, and Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse cut their top equity research jobs for the MENA region, sources told Reuters in September.

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