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November 3, 2022

UBS looking to close dealmaking and advisory business in MENA region

Swiss banking giant UBS Group is set to shut down its dealmaking and advisory business in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Bloomberg has reported citing people privy to the development.

Recently, the unit’s last senior banker in MENA resigned from his post, told the unnamed people.

The bank also decided to withdraw its on-the-ground activities in the last few weeks.

It plans to bring in bankers and experts from other parts of the world, including US and UK, to look after deals in the region, the people added.

However, the bank’s others units such as global trading and wealth arms will continue to do business in the region.

A UBS spokesperson refused make any comment on the report.

Since the resignation of Michael Cleanis, who was a managing director and head of global banking for MENA, a flurry of executives left the bank’s investment banking division, according to the publication.

Cleanis exited UBS in March this year to join Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment.

During his 12-year stint with UBS, Cleanis was primarily responsible for handling sovereign wealth funds in the region.

Furthermore, UBS has been downsizing its investment banking business in a number of emerging markets like India and South Africa.

In 2019, the bank revamped its dealmaking operations across the globe and promoted Javier Oficialdegui and Ros Stephenson to jointly lead the investment banking division.

Growing on-the-ground deal activities initiated by other banks have led UBS to back out of Middle East and North African markets.

Last week, UBS launched a new digital wealth management service platform to attract more wealthy clients in China. 

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