(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG hired a former Morgan Stanley banker to run its ultra-high net worth business in Saudi Arabia as the bank consolidates its wealth management operations, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Gabriel Aractingi will be based in Geneva and joins from Bahrain’s Investcorp Bank BSC where he’d been head of its Saudi Arabia business since May, said the person, asking not to be identified because the move isn’t public. The Zurich-based bank confirmed his appointment.
Aractingi left his role as Morgan Stanley’s CEO in Saudi Arabia in August 2016 after six years with the U.S. lender. Yasser Bajsair will replace him as Investcorp’s head in the kingdom, another person familiar with the matter said.
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UBS Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti is merging UBS’s two key wealth-management units into a combined business to be known as Global Wealth Management as he seeks to boost efficiency and better compete with U.S. competitors such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America. The bank recently hired veteran JPMorgan banker Ronald Wehrli to run its newly created ultra-high net worth business in Africa and the Middle East, including Israel and Turkey.
UBS is among foreign banks with the biggest wealth-management arms in Saudi Arabia, people familiar with the matter said in November. Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan and Credit Suisse Group AG also manage billions of dollars for some of the kingdom’s richest individuals, the people said.
Many banks are growing their wealth management business in the region. Credit Suisse plans to hire more relationship managers in Saudi Arabia, while Barclays Plc hired UBS banker Steve Klemme to head its private banking operations in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia is winding down a government probe into allegations of corruption that involved hundreds of the kingdom’s wealthiest individuals including princes, billionaires and government ministers. Authorities said last month that they have reached agreements to recover more than 400 billion riyals ($107 billion) in settlements with those detained as part of the probe. An additional 56 suspects have refused to settle and remain in custody.
(Adds background on UBS wealth hires in fourth paragraph.)
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