Business with the Gulf: On the ground or in the air?
Institutions accustomed to doing business with the Gulf from afar are now facing up to the need to have a presence in the region and deciding on what scale that presence should be.
Nobody doubts the opportunity for foreign managers in the Gulf. But how to play it?
The key question for most foreign managers is representation on the ground. Can a successful business be run out of London or another financial centre, with representatives frequently flying in, or must a permanent presence be established on the ground? And if so, what should that presence be – just sales and relationship management, or analysis and manufacturing?
Historically, many institutions have handled the region from afar, but are starting to move resources in. UBS, for example, has had representation in the Gulf for 30 years (starting in Abu Dhabi) but on the asset management side has only recently based somebody permanently within the Dubai International Financial Centre.