July 30, 2013 / 11:37 AM / 4 years ago

Morgan Stanley names new Qatar head as deal activity revives

DUBAI, July 30 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley has appointed Qatari national Abdulla al-Ansari as the bank’s new head in the country, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters, a sign the U.S. bank is positioning itself for a share of rising deal activity from the gas-rich Gulf state.

Al-Ansari, who has previously worked at Qatar National Bank’s brokerage division, will replace Khalid al-Subeai who joined The First Investor, the investment banking arm of unlisted local lender Barwa Bank, late last year.

A spokesman for Morgan Stanley confirmed the contents of the memo.

Qatar has spent billions of dollars buying stakes in some of the world’s high-profile companies through its sovereign wealth fund. The Gulf state is also expected to beef up infrastructure spending as it hosts the football World Cup in 2022.

“Abdullah brings significant experience in the Qatari brokerage industry as well as a broad network to the firm,” the memo said. He will be part of the bank’s investment banking department but will work with all other divisions to help expand the Qatar business, it said.

Investment banking activity in the region is showing signs of a slow revival as financial markets pick up and global companies resume expansion plans.

Morgan Stanley was the sole adviser on the merger of two state aluminium producers in the United Arab Emirates in June, a 15 billion dollar deal to create the world’s fifth-largest producer.

That deal saw the bank take the No.1 position for any announced M&A deal in the Middle East, according to Thomson Reuters league table data.

Qatar, which saw its emir hand over power to his 33-year-old son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani last month, has about 30 billion dollars a year globally through its sovereign wealth fund, which has picked up stakes in companies such as Glencore , Volkswagen and Porsche.

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