Boutique investment bank eyes Gulf expansion

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Exotix, a UK-based boutique investment bank with a focus on emerging markets, has kick-started its Dubai operations and says it has ambitious plans to expand in the region going forward.

The bank has been given the thumbs up by the DIFC and has opened its new office with an initial workforce of just three, but says it is currently hiring and has plans to expand its regional operation in the near future.

The office will be initially focused on fixed income sales and trading with a bias towards the MENA region, and will also provide credit research to clients. It also plans to add equity trading capabilities in due course.

"We felt that the time was right to provide a dedicated team serving our growing local client base and have put in place a group of experts to build the Dubai franchise. The office opening is the first step in a series of ambitious plans for the Gulf market and we are already looking to expand our offering in the region," said Vikas Nath, CEO of Exotix.

Considering the relative dearth of expansion plans or new entrants to the Dubai market at the moment, Exotix's intentions to build its operations here are a welcome boost. However, it's doubtful the bank would have entered the Gulf had it not been for the souring economic situation there.

Prior to opening the Dubai office, the firm told the FT how the growing need for debt restructuring and defaults appealed to its specialisation in distressed and illiquid assets.

It's been actively involved in deals around bonds issued by Omani project Blue City, Gulf Finance House and Nakheel, said the newspaper.

The new Dubai team comprises Robert Elliot, who joins from GCF as head of operations; Ahmad Alanani, who relocates to the emirate as director of fixed income sales and Naji Nabaa, associate director of fixed income sales.

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