(Updates with Credit Suisse response in third paragraph.)
Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- VTB Capital, the investment banking unit of Russia’s second-biggest lender, may hire four Credit Suisse Group AG bankers in Dubai for a Middle East and North Africa equities team, two people familiar with the matter said.
Karim Nsouli, head of MENA sales trading at Credit Suisse, may lead the unit, one of the people said, declining to be identified because the matter hasn’t been made public. Ali Salaam, co-head of MENA equities at Credit Suisse, may also join VTB Capital in Dubai, the person said.
A spokesman for VTB Capital in Moscow declined to comment as did a spokeswoman for Credit Suisse in Dubai.
VTB Capital is increasing headcount this year and expanding abroad as it seeks to compete in emerging markets, while global banks such as HSBC Holdings Plc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. eliminate jobs. Deutsche Bank AG and Citigroup Inc. are among companies withdrawing employees from Dubai after Persian Gulf markets tumbled, deals dried up, and they sought to curb costs.
VTB Capital’s Atanas Bostandjiev, hired from Goldman Sachs in May to lead the brokerage’s push outside of Russia, said Aug. 26 employment increased 38 percent worldwide to 1,157 this year. Makram Abboud, former managing director for Nomura Holdings Inc.’s emerging-markets team, has joined VTB Capital as chief executive officer for the MENA region. Abboud declined to comment when reached by mobile phone yesterday.
Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S. lender by deposits, cut staff at its Merrill Lynch & Co. sales and trading division in Dubai, two people said Nov. 16. Renaissance Capital, the brokerage half owned by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, closed its Dubai office after the 2008 financial crisis. Founder Stephen Jennings said in June the company may open an office in Cairo to tap the same markets.
Financial markets in the Middle East have been hurt by Arab uprisings that ousted leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and amid fears Europe won’t be able to contain its debt crisis. Fees earned by banks in the region fell 42 percent to $320 million in the first nine months of the year from $551.1 million during the same period in 2010, according to New York-based research firm Freeman & Co.
The MSCI Emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa Index is down 18 percent this year, compared with a decline of 14 percent for the STOXX Europe 600. The value of shares traded on Dubai’s stock market slumped to 19.5 million dirhams ($5.3 million) on Nov. 16, the lowest since August 2004, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
--With assistance from Stefania Bianchi in Dubai. Editors: Claudia Maedler, Shaji Mathew
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