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Moelis to hire ex-C.Suisse banker Touma for MidEast role - sources

Dinesh Nair
Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 | 1:27 AM ET

DUBAI, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Moelis & Co, an independent investment bank, is set to hire Rami Touma, previously the Qatari investment banking head for Credit Suisse, to help boost its Middle Eastern operations, said four banking and industry sources aware of the matter.

Touma left Credit Suisse last year after heading the Swiss lender's Doha-based investment banking operations since 2007. In that role, he handled relationships with major clients, primarily the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund.

He will join Moelis' Dubai office as an executive director in early 2014 with the appointment pending regulatory approvals, one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

After years of sluggish growth, investment banking activity in the Gulf Arab region is showing signs of revival aided by a recovery in financial markets, but banks have been slow to fill vacancies or add new staff in the region.

Middle Eastern investment banking fees reached $402.2 million in the first nine months of 2013, a 23 percent increase from a year ago, helped by a rise in debt capital markets-related fees.

New York-based Moelis was founded in March 2007 by Wall Street dealmaker Kenneth Moelis who stepped down from Swiss bank UBS to set up a firm to advise companies and governments on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and capital raising activities.

The firm's Middle Eastern investment banking operations is headed by Yorick Van Slingelandt who joined the company from J.P. Morgan Chase Inc in 2011.

Moelis was involved in the $25 billion debt restructuring of Dubai World in 2010 and advised creditors on the restructuring of a $1 billion Islamic bond by UAE-based Dana Gas in 2012.

The firm was also an adviser to Emirates Investment Authority, Etisalat's main shareholder, in the UAE telco's $5.7 billion acquisition of Vivendi's controlling stake in Maroc Telecom last year.

(Reporting by Dinesh Nair; Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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