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ABN Amro is to build its wholesale clients corporate and investment banking activities in the Middle East & Africa, via its regional headquarters located in Dubai.

The bank’s increased focus on the region will see the bank expand and integrate its client coverage, corporate finance advisory and capital raising activities for debt and equity, in order to provide clients with a powerful single platform for their overall corporate and investment banking needs.
ABN has recently located six investment banking professionals to its Dubai office including Ragheed Shanti, formerly head of credit markets for Latin America at ABN Amro in New York, who will spearhead the operation. Shanti has over 18 years of cross-product industry experience and strong local connections in the region. ABN also expects to grow the size of its team in Dubai.

Alexandra Cook, chairman of global clients in ABN Amro’s wholesale clients business, says: “The Middle East and Africa is one of the most important growth regions in the world and we intend to significantly build our capabilities, in order to foster stronger client relationships. Dubai continues to develop as a world financial centre and as a focal point for business in the region.”

ABN Amro’s regional corporate and investment banking platform will provide clients with a full suite of investment banking products including project finance, structured finance, corporate finance, equity and debt capital markets solutions.

The bank’s focus on the region has been driven by the deregulation of key sectors and increasing interest in privatisation. The launch of the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) later this year, is also expected to spur increased capital markets activity in the region.

Menno de Jager, vice-chairman of wholesale clients and formerly head of ABN Amro’s equity capital markets business, comments: “The prospects for companies in this region are excellent. We are developing our capabilities in the region, in order to become a partner of choice for clients across the Middle East and Africa.”

As well as providing a comprehensive range of corporate and investment banking services in the region, clients will also benefit from the significant experience of ABN Amro’s specialist global sector and product teams and the bank’s wholesale clients banking network across 50 countries.
In October 2004, ABN simplified the organisation of its wholesale clients business in order to further focus on opportunities for growing wholesale banking revenues through the development of new products and cross product synergies.

The changes, aimed at allowing bankers more time to focus on clients and less time on administrative tasks, saw wholesale clients move from operating through seven business units to two main client facing businesses: global markets and global clients.