(Bloomberg) – The head of UBS Group AG’s investment banking business in the Middle East is set to join Abu Dhabi’s wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co., according to people familiar with the matter.
Michael Cleanis, managing director and head of global banking for the Middle East and North Africa, spent 12 years at UBS in Dubai. He mainly covered sovereign wealth funds in the region and advised on several major transactions, including the merger to create the largest lender in the United Arab Emirates, First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC.
“We remain committed to our business in the MENA region and maintain a significant presence in the region,” UBS said in a statement. Mubadala declined to comment, while Cleanis could not be reached for comment.
Investment banking activity picked up in the Middle East, boosted by a series of initial public offerings in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. The financial services industry has also consolidated as states develop national champions to fund their economic reform programs.
UBS employs only a handful of investment bankers in the Gulf region and is currently working alongside other banks as an advisor on the public listing of Dubai’s Tecom Group. The bank’s wealth management division, meanwhile, has grown. Last year he poached a team from rival Credit Suisse Group AG for the United Arab Emirates.
The bank’s broader emerging markets business has recently lost several senior traders. UBS cut its investment bank in South Africa, Bloomberg reported in December. Pawel Dela, who ran the investment bank in Poland, joined Morgan Stanley late last year, according to his LinkedIn profile.
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