Ex-Merrill Lynch big hitter Crocker leaves Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

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Stuart Crocker, global head of private banking and wealth management at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Merrill Lynch veteran, has left the bank, according to sources close to the situation.

In the battle for the vast, and growing, pool of Middle Eastern wealth, regional private banks were supposed to be making a challenge to the dominance of big international players offering glamorous offshore bankers in London and Switzerland.

Crocker was one of the landmark hires to bolster the case for the local banks. He joined Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) in May 2011 as global head of private banking and wealth management. He's a big hitter who had previously served as CEO of HSBC’s Dubai private banking as well as being a 15-year veteran of Merrill Lynch in both the UK and UAE.

Now sources suggest that Crocker has left the bank. We understand that there is no replacement lined up and Crocker’s exit comes amid a change of strategy at the bank. ADIB didn’t respond to our requests for comment.

As well as opening a new office in the DIFC last year, ADIB has been expanding its wealth management unit beyond the borders of the Middle East and adding headcount. In May last year, it unveiled a swanky new office in London, and was eyeing new operations in Singapore.

“We also need to have a few international booking centres and it would make sense to have something in Switzerland and it would make sense to have something in the Far East, somewhere like Singapore,” said Crocker at the time.

In its annual report, ADIB said that 2012 was a year for “laying the foundations” for the growth of its relaunched private banking operation and one key priority for 2013 was to expand its Sharia compliant investment offering to clients.

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