By Ben Flanagan
The company will use its expanded Dubai base to bolster its Islamic financial services operations.
Merrill Lynch, which is headquartered in New York and is one of the world’s leading financial services providers, has been granted a full-service licence at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and plans to open an office there this year.
The company has had a presence in the United Arab Emirates for over 35 years and had already obtained a DIFC licence to run a Global Private Client business in 2005.
But the full-service license will allow Merrill Lynch to grow its Islamic Finance capability across the region, in conjunction with its already established Shariah-compliant trading business in London.
This will be in addition to its core businesses of M&A advisory, structured finance, equity and debt capital market advice and wealth management services.
“Opening a dedicated Global Markets and Investment Banking office [will] provide the level of sophistication locally that clients are demanding globally […It] was a decision made in response to the development of Dubai as a global market, coupled with Merrill Lynch’s growing commitment to the region,” said Jeffrey Culpepper, head of Global Markets and Investment Banking Middle East and North Africa.
In September of last year Merrill Lynch also announced that it had launched the Dubai Investible Index (DII), the first investible index designed to track stocks listed on the Dubai Stock Exchange.
Merrill Lynch has offices in 37 countries and territories and total client assets of approximately $1.6 trillion.