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Investment banking: EFG Hermes extends its international reach

It is a sign of the times that, as investment banks in the UK and US downsize, those in the Arab world are doing the opposite.

One of the most active financial institutions in the region is Egyptian firm EFG Hermes.

Last month, it completed two deals, highlighting its ambitions in the Gulf and in wider international markets. EFG invested in one of Kuwait’s leading brokers, so gaining access to the second most important stock market in the region, and took a 9.97% stake in Panmure Gordon, one of the UK’s oldest and most blue-blooded independent investment banks.

At £3.2 million ($5.7 million), the Egyptian bank’s investment in Panmure Gordon is relatively small, says Hassan Heikal, chief executive at EFG Hermes. He admits that the move was an opportunistic one. "It will probably be a one-off," he says.

Hassan Heikal, EFG Hermes

"There are only 14 licensed brokers; therefore to take a controlling interest in one of the biggest is meaningful for us"
Hassan Heikal, EFG Hermes

He adds that the investment strengthens the bank’s ability to service its client base in the Middle East, the UK and the US. "It makes sense for us to have a closer look at what’s happening in the international markets," he says.

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