Barclays Veteran Joins $4 Billion Wealth Firm Azura in Dubai Bet
Wealth manager Azura hired former Barclays Plc executive Hazem Shish to build up its deal-making operations in Dubai as it ramps up its expansion in the emirate.
(Bloomberg) -- Wealth manager Azura hired former Barclays Plc executive Hazem Shish to build up its deal-making operations in Dubai as it ramps up its expansion in the emirate.
Shish, 43, recently started as a partner in the firm’s strategic opportunities team in Dubai, according to a company statement. He previously worked for more than a decade at Barclays, where he helped lead its financial-institutions banking for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa and was involved in some of the London-based firm’s largest deals in the sector, Bloomberg previously reported.
Companies including Hudson Bay Capital Management, AllianceBernstein LP and Julius Baer Group Ltd. have expanded in Dubai in the past year, helping fuel a boom in the region that has cemented its status as a major hub for the super rich alongside the likes of London and New York.
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The Middle East is emerging as one of the world’s key battlegrounds for global wealth managers such as Azura, with the United Arab Emirates alone attracting an estimated 4,500 new millionaires in 2023, according to consultancy Henley & Partners. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are among Wall Street banks targeting the region for growth.
Azura, started by former Julius Baer banker Ali Jamal in 2019, has almost 50 employees globally and about $4 billion in assets under management. It’s added more than 20 professionals since the start of 2021 from firms including Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and UBS Group AG. It recently hired veteran investment banker Philippe Pillonel as chairman of its Swiss branch to bolster deal-making services.
Focusing on billionaire fortunes, Azura opened a New York office in March run by former Credit Suisse executive Anthony Kontoleon, adding to locations in London, Geneva and Monaco. Azura started a Singapore branch in 2020 and its Dubai location in 2022, where Societe Generale SA veteran Mohamed Virani leads operations overseeing more than $1.5 billion, according to the statement.
Shish also worked on some transactions involving sovereign wealth funds Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Mubadala Investment Co. during his time at Barclays, which he left in 2021. He began his own advisory firm as well as an asset-management business focusing on blockchain before joining Azura, according to his LinkedIn profile. He will report to Kontoleon.
--With assistance from Archana Narayanan and Dinesh Nair.
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