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Prominent Credit Suisse banker, Aladdin Hangari, set to join HSBC in Qatar

Prominent private banker, Aladdin Hangari, currently with Credit Suisse, is in advanced talks to join HSBC in Qatar. His potential move reflects the increasing competition for wealth management in the region, fueled by the substantial oil-rich resources.

Although the deal is not yet finalized, sources indicate that UBS may still manage to retain Hangari. Photo: Getty Images

Additionally, negotiations are underway for four other staff members to join him in the transition.

Hangari has played a vital role as the Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse’s Qatar operations, mainly handling the relationship between the bank and the Qatari royal family. The royal family has been a significant shareholder and a key client for the past decade.

UBS’s aspirations to strengthen their presence in the region face a setback with Hangari’s potential departure. However, if UBS can retain key members of staff, they may be able to leverage Credit Suisse’s longstanding connections to their advantage, especially after UBS’s recent near-collapse and subsequent takeover.

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A spokesperson for Credit Suisse assures clients that their needs will continue to be met by existing team members, and succession plans will be announced in due course.

In 2021, UBS established a new wealth office in Doha that capitalizes on the flourishing hydrocarbon industry.

This move not only allowed UBS to tap into the growing wealth of the region but also created an opportunity for them to manage assets on behalf of the Qatar Investment Authority, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds.

To bolster their teams across the Middle East, UBS has actively recruited private bankers from Credit Suisse, including teams responsible for the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Separately, a team of ten Credit Suisse wealth managers focused on the Middle East have recently resigned and are expected to join Deutsche Bank.

The move includes senior private bankers such as Saad Osseiran, Nasri Nohra, Rabih Demashkieh, and Agnes Tan.

At this time, HSBC and Deutsche Bank have not provided any official comments on these developments.

In an effort to prevent further departures, UBS has offered special commission incentives to some of their private bankers from UBS and Credit Suisse, encouraging them to bring in fresh cash. The bank has also promised bonuses to key personnel to persuade them to remain with the institution.

Iqbal Khan, UBS’s head of wealth management who previously worked at Credit Suisse, undertook a worldwide tour, including the Middle East, to reassure important talent that UBS is dedicated to retaining them. However, the recent departures imply that these measures may not be sufficient.

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Last month, Hussam Qasim, another private banker at Credit Suisse, joined the Qatar Investment Authority’s domestic investment team.

If the deal with Hangari is successful, it would be a significant accomplishment for both HSBC and Deutsche Bank.

The Middle East has become a critical battleground for wealth managers, given the region’s considerable oil wealth, attracting ultra-rich families and businessmen. This has prompted global wealth management firms to vie for a larger market share.

Deutsche Bank’s Claudio de Sanctis, head of international private banking and previously with Credit Suisse, plans to make substantial investments in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, particularly targeting Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The bank has already recruited three wealth bankers from Credit Suisse, focusing on Saudi clients, earlier this year.

HSBC has expanded its presence in the United Arab Emirates to enhance its international private banking business and capitalize on the region’s growing wealth.

Hangari, who joined Credit Suisse in 2004, also oversees the bank’s joint venture with Qatar Holding LLC, Aventicum Capital Management.

Reports indicate that UBS plans to cut over 50% of Credit Suisse’s existing workforce as they withdraw from certain business areas and continue to prioritize risk management.

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