Credit Suisse boss says deals are not because of Qatar

Aladdin Hangari, the bank’s Qatar CEO, has defended the bank’s link to the rich Gulf state

A regional CEO of Qatari-backed Credit Suisse Group has defended its link to the rich Gulf state, saying it was gaining deals on merit and not because of the Gulf state’s status as a key shareholder, Bloomberg reported.

The Swiss investment bank has advised Qatar on high-profile investments. The nation holds a 5.2 percent stake in the bank and in 2012 bought its London headquarters.

Switzerland’s second-largest lender and Qatar Holding, a unit of the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, also formed Aventicum Capital Management in 2012 to boost emerging market investments.

Aladdin Hangari, the bank’s chief executive officer for Qatar, said in an interview with Bloomberg: “We’re winning deals in a competitive environment on the basis of how strong our credentials are in a particular sector, geography or product. Just having Qatar as a shareholder is not enough to win mandates.”

The Swiss lender has advised Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund on high-profile deals including stake purchases in German automaker Porsche and the acquisition of London’s Harrods department store.

Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund, is the bank’s second-largest shareholder. The fund is also the third-largest shareholder in British lender Barclays after providing capital to the bank during the global financial crisis, Bloomberg reported.

Hangari said he expected Qatar, the world’s richest nation on a per capita basis, to continue investments outside the country.

“For a country like Qatar, which is continuously generating large amounts of wealth, they need to look at investing capital abroad,” Hangari was quoted as saying.

He said the Gulf state will continue to favour Europe for its overseas investments as the legal and regulatory framework in the continent is familiar with Qatar.

Hangari said he was focused on building a business in the Gulf state that was not solely reliant on investment banking operations and had more “predictable” revenues through asset management and private banking.

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