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One of the world’s largest SWFs has quietly been hiring London finance professionals

Researchers, strategists and economists working for large investment banks in the City need new options. This might be working in investor relations, escaping to the buy-side or trying to secure a place at an independent research firm.

Nishay Patel, a former director and rates strategist at UBS's investment bank in London, has just moved to the Middle East to join the sovereign wealth fund (SWF) Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) as a fixed income strategist in the UAE. Patel has spent the entirety of his investment banking career in London, having joined Citi in September 2008. He spent nearly seven years at the U.S. bank before moving to UBS in May 2014, but he moved to the new role at ADIA earlier this month.

SWFs in the Middle East have long viewed London as a deep talent pool to fish from, and ADIA - which has 1,700 employees globally - has been targeting senior figures in the City in recent months. In January it hired André Méthot, who worked as a senior vice president in quantitative research at PIMCO in London as a research manager focused on portfolio construction in its strategy unit. Dale Brooksbank, who was head of trading for EMEA at State Street Global Advisors in the City arrived in February as head of equities trading. Mike Vessey, who was head of data governance at RBC Capital Markets in the UK, moved to Abu Dhabi to take the same role at ADIA, also in February.

ADIA has been hiring for a range of roles, but it's the options available to under-fire researchers and strategists that are arguably the most interesting. ADIA has long claimed to be the biggest employer of CFA charterholders in the Middle East. This is in part because it has so many people working in direct investments as well as portfolio managers, but it's also been building in research and strategy.

The biggest proportion of ADIA's equity investments (50%) follow index-tracking strategies, but this division is underpinned by a large research team. What's more, its internal equities team  indexed funds department undertakes the majority of its equities investments, and is underpinned by a research team. Its internal equities team, an active management division which invests in stocks across the world, employs a large research team undertaking bottom-up fundamental research that would usually be found in a large fund manager or hedge fund.

Xiaowei Kang, who was previously co-head of equity research at S&P Global in London, leads ADIA's research team for the indexed funds department, while Christof Rühl, formerly the chief economist for BP, is the global head of research at the SWF. ADIA said in its latest annual report published in July last year that research roles had been a key focus for it.


Photo: Getty Images

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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