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Credit Suisse downsizes Gulf investment-banking team

Swiss bank won’t replace senior staff departures in Dubai as it expects Middle East business volumes to decline


High-level departures from Credit Suisse in Dubai are part of an overall reduction to the Swiss bank’s Middle East investment-banking operation, according to a source familiar with the matter.

At least three senior investment bankers have left Credit Suisse’s Dubai operation in the past three months - including Jeffrey Culpepper, formerly head of investment banking in the region. Culpepper is now acting as an advisor to Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse is slimming down in Gulf investment banking, says the source, in anticipation of an expected downturn in Gulf M&A, as well as a continued slump in activity in equity capital markets in the region. Credit Suisse declined to comment when contacted by Euromoney.

Erwin Van Der Voort, formerly head of Middle East M&A, and George Pavey, formerly head of equity capital markets for Emerging Europe Middle East and Africa, have also left Credit Suisse’s Dubai operation in the past three months.

Like other senior bankers, Pavey moved to Dubai three years ago, when banks anticipated relatively resilient growth in earnings from the Gulf. Although Pavey previously maintained a base in London too, he has now relocated to Hong Kong to co-head global markets solutions in Credit Suisse’s Asia-Pacific business.

Van der Voort has moved to New York to focus on advising hedge funds for Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse has been one of the most active Gulf M&A advisors in recent years, with particular dominance in Qatar - Qatar Investment Authority is one of Credit Suisse’s biggest shareholders. Culpepper, for example, is one of the best-known figures in the Middle East’s banking community.

But figures from Dealogic show investment-banking revenues in the Middle East and North Africa (excluding Israel) fell 40% year-on-year during the first eight months of 2011. Increased business in Africa is also leading banks including Barclays and Standard Chartered to reduce numbers in Dubai, in favour of Johannesburg.

Euromoney understands BNP Paribas is hoping to build up its debt capital markets and advisory teams in Johannesburg instead of Bahrain, one of its main existing bases for Africa investment bankers.

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