UBS has unveiled plans to bolster its footprint in the Middle East by venturing into the wealth management market of Qatar.

A non-binding MoU has been signed between UBS and the Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar (IPA Qatar) in this regard.

IPA Qatar is licensed on the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) platform. QFC is a major onshore financial and business centre in the region.

UBS did not reveal further details about its plans in Qatar, where it was not active till now.

The Swiss wealth manager already has offices in other Middle East markets such Saudi-Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates.

The agreement was signed by UBS chairman Axel Weber and CEO Ralph Hamers, who recently succeeded Sergio Ermotti.

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The move is part of UBS’ strategy to double assets in the Middle East and Africa.

Qatar was an obvious choice for UBS as it is the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas and also one of the richest countries in terms of per-capita income.

On behalf of Qatar, the agreement was signed by Ali Al Kuwari, the minister of commerce and industry.

Hamers joined UBS after serving as the CEO of Dutch bank ING Groep NV for nearly seven years.

Recently, UBS announced plans to invest $200m in fintech startups and other technology firms through the “UBS Next” portfolio.

UBS Next will target direct investments in early-stage fintech firms and other tech ventures.

As part of the development, the Swiss bank has entered into an alliance with venture capital firm Anthemis in a bid to ramp up investment opportunity identification and deal flow.