Arqaam expansion targets Asia, Africa

Arqaam Capital, a Dubai-based investment bank that acquired financial companies in Libya and Egypt in 2012, may expand in South-east Asia and Africa in the coming year as demand for emerging-market assets spurs revenue.

By Zahra Hankir (Bloomberg)

Published: Tue 26 Feb 2013, 12:21 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:40 AM

“Global institutions of developed markets are currently retrenching from their frontier and emerging-market bases, increasing the opportunity that we have in front of us today,” CEO Riad Meliti said. Arqaam is exploring both acquisitions and “organic” growth, he said. Arqaam is among Arabian Gulf investment banks that are hiring after Europe’s debt crisis led banks including Credit Suisse Group, Nomura Holdings and Morgan Stanley to trim their regional presence. Trading value in emerging-market shares has risen in 2013 as economic growth that’s more than six times higher than developed nations spurs corporate earnings.

The company, which expects to this year “significantly” increase assets under management from $175 million, has boosted staff 28-fold to 110 since it started operations five years ago, Meliti said. Arqaam will add headcount in Dubai, Cairo, Tripoli and Beirut, after posting a compounded annual growth rate of 35 per cent since inception, a level of momentum it expects to sustain, he said.

“Our macro vision is global in terms of what’s happening with the shift in focus from developed to emerging and frontier,” Meliti said. “Anything in between is just turbulence, because we know the trajectory in the long term.”

“It was a critical market for us to have a presence on the ground in to produce research and add value to regional and international clientele to invest in the market,” Meliti said.

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