DUBAI Aug 21 U.S. investment bank Lazard Ltd's
most senior banker in Dubai, Ali Asghar, has left to set
up his own emerging markets-focused boutique firm, three sources
familiar with the matter said.
Asghar, who headed Lazard's Dubai office as a director,
joined the bank in 2007 and focused on mergers and acquisitions
advisory, restructuring and capital raising in the Gulf Arab
Global investment banks scaled back their Middle Eastern
operations in 2012 due to a dearth of deals and pressure to cut
costs from larger centres like London and New York.
Deal activity has revived in 2013 but most banks are
reluctant to fill senior vacancies.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
Asghar's new firm - "Emerging Circle" - would be based in the
Asghar's departure effectively means Lazard has no senior
bankers in Dubai and will rely on staff in London and other
major centres to execute and originate deals, the sources said.
In the Middle East, Lazard also has an office in Riyadh for
investment banking functions.
One of the sources said Asghar left Lazard in July.
A spokesman for Lazard in London declined to comment on
Asghar's departure or the firm's staffing in the region. Asghar
could not be reached by telephone.
Lazard is currently advising French media firm Vivendi
on the sale of its majority stake in Morocco's Maroc
The firm also advised Qatar Holding, the investment arm of
the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, in negotiations with
Glencore last year when the fund threatened to derail
its merger with Xstrata unless the terms were improved.