The UK-based Close Brothers is establishing independent advisory and investment banking activities in the Middle East, which will focus on developing corporate finance. To that purpose, it will be opening a regional office in Bahrain in September.
The name of the new unit is Close Brothers International, and it will be staffed by a number of senior executives who had worked for Robert Fleming & Company and Shroder Asseily.
Colin Craig is the unit's chairman. He previously led Flemings Middle East operations, and earlier served as a director at Shroder Asseily. Craig also has been involved in consultancy work with the British Ministry of Defense on the Saudi offset program, and this relationship will continue through Close Brothers International, reported Middle East Economic Digest.
The Close Middle East team includes former Flemings executives Richard Evans and Howard Lack (who will be the firm's managing director), Iranian-born utilities specialist Ali Naini, and veteran bankers Lord Denham and Tim Holder.
According to Craig, Flemings' takeover by Chase Manhattan Bank played a key role in his decision to move to Close. He plans to target medium-sized investment deals, an area in which the recent consolidation of international investment banks has created a vacuum. Once the Saudi capital market opens up, Close Brothers plans to locate a strategic partner to allow it to become among the first Western institutions to establish a direct investment banking presence in that country. Close also aims to develop a foothold in the Iranian market, especially in light of the ongoing U.S. sanctions.
Close Brothers Corporate Finance is one of the leading financial advisers to companies in the United Kingdom, with an increasing number of clients from Europe and further abroad. Over 70 corporate finance professionals make up an experienced advisory teams in London, providing more than 80 publicly quoted companies with a wide range of investment banking services. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
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