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Sun 29 Jul 2012 06:16 PM

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Credit Suisse scales back MidEast research ops

Sources say European bank is latest to cut back research roles in the region

Credit Suisse scales back MidEast research ops

Credit Suisse has moved the head of its Middle East private banking equity research division to Geneva, two sources told Reuters on Sunday, the latest European bank to scale back research roles in the region.

Kamran Butt will support private banking sales in Switzerland with market research after spending six years in Dubai, two people familiar with the matter said.

"Other analysts from outside the Middle East will be covering the local market here," said one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is not public.

Credit Suisse confirmed Butt's departure on Sunday and said it remained committed to the Middle East and North Africa region.

"Kamran Butt is relocating to Switzerland to take on a new role as Investment Strategist, Advisory and Sales for Middle East and Africa, and the Indian subcontinent," said a bank spokesman. "The bank is looking to replace the role locally."

The Swiss bank unveiled measures this month to boost its capital base in response to criticism from the central bank, and also announced new cost cuts, including at the investment bank, although some analysts have called for even more radical steps.

Leading global investment banks have been cutting research staff in the Middle East to save costs amid tough global conditions and a dearth of work in the region.

In the past year, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have cut top equity research jobs while Japan's largest bank Nomura has shut down its research department, sources told Reuters.

Middle East private banking staffing is down about 30 percent in the last two years due to redundancies and relocating staff to other regions, the second source said.

In February, sources said HSBC was significantly scaling down its private banking operations in the Middle East. Europe's biggest lender moved its top private banker in the region to London.

The Middle East and Africa wealth management sector grew 8.6 percent in 2010 and overall assets under management could grow to $6.7trn by 2015 helped by high oil prices, a study by the Boston Consulting Group in June last year showed.

The region's private banking sector has several pure-play private banks like Julius Baer and Sarasin Alpen, competing with diversified banks such as, JP Morgan Chase and UBS.

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