Citigroup has recently shut down its mergers and acquisitions division in the Middle East as investment banks in the region struggle to justify a large presence here amid low deal volumes even as they aggressively cut costs globally.
MarketWatch reports that Citi's head of M&A in the Middle East, Samer Katerji, recently stepped down from his position and won't be replaced, two people familiar with the matter said. M&A business related to the Middle East will be handled by Citi bankers out of the bank's London hub, one of the people said.
'These moves are due to lower volumes and the fact we can cover this out of London', said one of the two people, who added Katerji may be taking up another function within the bank. Saad Ullah Khan, who also worked on M&A for Citi in Dubai, has already left the bank, the person said.
In the meantime, Bloomberg reports that Barclays, which is cutting 3,700 jobs as it reduces costs by $2.6bn a year, said it plans further expansion in the Middle East and North Africa on rising demand for wealth management and investment banking services.
Barclays, which employees about 1,000 people in the region, expects to hire about 100 more this year and has a 'healthy pipeline' of debt capital market and M&A deal mandates, John Vitalo, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview in Dubai last week.