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Goldman Sachs latest bank to expand in Gulf as balance of power shifts

Economic trends are incentivizing multinational banks and financial services firms to expand their operations in the Gulf region.
KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

Global banking giant Goldman Sachs recently announced it will open an office in Abu Dhabi, subject to regulatory approval. Operating from the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the emirate’s international financial center, the office will add to Goldman’s footprint in the Gulf, which is already home to hubs in Dubai, Doha and Riyadh, and will allow the bank to deepen its relationship with clients in the Gulf and the rest of the Middle East.

According to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg, the Abu Dhabi office will focus on asset management, with investment banking services continuing to be serviced out of the Dubai office. It's the most recent example of international financial services firms seeking to expand their presence in the Middle East, a trend that has been accelerating in recent months.

In February, Edmond de Rothschild announced it plans open an advisory office in Dubai. In the same month, Alantra also announced the opening of an office in the emirate, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank declared in April that it plans to open its first overseas office in Abu Dhabi. 

Jai Doshi, a portfolio manager at a prominent family office in the UAE, told Al-Monitor that part of the attraction is that the country “has seen several large initial public offerings over the past year, and this is set to continue. In particular, recent IPOs have included the listing of state-owned companies in various sectors including utilities, energy and logistics.”

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