For Recruiters

Eight banks you should want to work for in the Middle East

The financial services job market is heating up in the Middle East, despite the fact that large international banks are cutting jobs elsewhere in the world. While headcount continues to fall in certain institutions, the message is one of expansion in the Gulf. Here are seven firms talking up recruitment.

1. Barclays

Barclays’ huge restructuring programme within its investment bank will see 7,000 people laid off – or around 30% of total headcount in the division – and 19,000 jobs will go across the organisation over the next three years. In the Middle East, however, the expansion of Barclays’ corporate bank (a bid to compete with the large local players) continues. Barclays said that it was increasing its corporate banking headcount in the GCC by 10% last year, but according Rezwan Mirza, head of the division in the UAE, 2014 will also be a year of hiring for Barclays in the region.

2. Renaissance Capital

RenCap is opening a new Dubai office this summer and has just named Ahmed Badr as CEO and head of MENA equities. So far, two other new employees – Omar Darwish as sales trader and execution trader and Omair Ansari as a research analyst – have joined but expect other hires down the line.

3. JPMorgan

The shake-up in JPMorgan’s Middle East operations, naming Declan Hegarty as general manager for its Abu Dhabi office, is more an internal re-shuffle than a big expansion plan, but the bank is hiring in the region. It’s currently looking for an associate in its Dubai-based corporate finance team and a host of compliance roles, and is expanding its Saudi Arabia investment banking team. Considering the small size of most global institutions’ investment banking operations in the region, this is not insignificant.

4. Natixis

The French bank already has a relatively significant presence in the Middle East, with around 40 staff working for its investment bank in Dubai, but intends to bolster headcount by a further 50% this year. Natixis is following the tactics of many of its French rivals of expanding outside of their home market – notably BNP Paribas, which is hiring in Asia – and, in this instance, the Middle East is set to benefit.

5. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi

Forget last year’s layoffs, NBAD is hiring in 2014 – 450 people to be precise. Of this, 180 will be focused on selling the bank’s retail products and luring more customers as it attempts to move up the regional league tables. Elsewhere, commercial banking is the focus. The good news is that these will be local recruits, whereas previously NBAD’s was expanding its international footprint.

6. Saxo Bank

Saxo Bank is joining the chorus of international banks starting to open up offices in Abu Dhabi, following the emirate’s move to launch a financial centre to rival Dubai in the region. It’s the firm’s second office in the UAE and it has appointed Filippo De Rosa to head it up. For the time being, it’s a representative office, but has the potential to expand once Abu Dhabi’s ambitions step up a gear.

7. EFG Hermes

The Middle Eastern investment banking powerhouse has been a little quiet since shelving its plans for a merger with QInvest last year, but its situation appears to be looking up in line with the recovery in investment banking revenues in the region. Profits in its investment bank jumped in the first quarter, admittedly after a loss during the same period in 2013, and this is starting to filter down to hiring ambitions. It has unveiled Dima Jardaneh as a Dubai-based research analyst as it bolsters its fixed income offering in the region. Expect more hires to follow.

8. Saudi Hollandi Bank

Saudi Hollandi Bank is looking to expand its investment banking footprint in anticipation of a flurry of IPOs in the coming months. It's also boosting lending in a move that will result in more hires at the retail level.

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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