Home Hedge Funds The full list of finance firms betting on the Middle East

The full list of finance firms betting on the Middle East

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From Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio to BlackRock’s Larry Fink, top finance executives are investing heavily in the Middle East.

Global financial services giants are betting big on the region by opening offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

Some of the world’s biggest hedge funds, asset managers, family offices, law firms and investment banks flocked to the Middle East in the last couple of years to take advantage of low taxes, a favourable time zone and a comprehensive regulatory framework.

Here are the top finance firms investing in their Middle East operations.

Investment Banks

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs announced in May 2023 that it is opening a new office in Abu Dhabi. The investment banking giant already had offices in Dubai and Riyadh.

Morgan Stanley

New York-headquartered Morgan Stanley this year became the latest investment bank to open an office in Abu Dhabi. The investment bank announced the opening of its office in the UAE’s capital on 29 February. Morgan Stanley also has a presence in Dubai and Riyadh.

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JPMorgan

Jamie Dimon-led JPMorgan has been in the Middle East for over 16 years. The investment banking giant opened its Dubai office in 2007 and established a presence in Abu Dhabi in 2021. The bank’s investment in its Abu Dhabi office helped boost financial services headcount in the UAE’s capital last year, according to Abu Dhabi Global Market. JPMorgan has an office in Riyadh.

Hedge funds

Millennium Management

New York-headquartered hedge fund Millennium Management, which has over $60bn in assets under management, opened its Dubai office in 2022. Some of the firm’s senior portfolio managers are based in its Dubai office.

Brevan Howard

Alan Howard’s hedge fund Bevan Howard, which manages more than $30bn in assets, picked Abu Dhabi as its Middle East headquarters in February 2023. Alan Howard said Abu Dhabi has the potential to become a “global financial centre”.

TCI Fund Management

British billionaire Christopher Hohn’s TCI Fund Management, which made $12.9bn in profit last year, announced the opening of its office in Abu Dhabi in November 2023.

The inflow of hedge funds across the Middle East is relatively new, compared to other financial players such as investment banks. Dubai International Financial Centre and Abu Dhabi Global Market, two economic zones across the UAE, have been able to attract dozens of hedge funds since 2021.

READ Forty-five hedge funds want regulatory approval in race to Dubai

Asset managers

BlackRock

Larry Fink’s BlackRock, which is the world’s largest asset manager, has a strong presence in Saudi Arabia. The company opened an office in Riyadh in 2019. Last year, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser joined BlackRock’s board. BlackRock also has an office in Dubai.

Wellington Management

US-based Wellington Management opened its office in Dubai in January 2024. Wellington Management, which has more than $1tn in assets under management, doesn’t have a presence in any other country in the Middle East.

Fiera Capital

Canada-based asset management firm Fiera Capital opened its Abu Dhabi office in February 2024. The firm, which manages over $120bn in assets, doesn’t have a presence in Dubai or Riyadh.

Family offices

The Dalio Family Office

Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, picked Abu Dhabi for a branch of its family office in April 2023. The Abu Dhabi Global Market-based office is the firm’s only presence in the Middle East.

Farro Capital

Singapore-based family office Farro Capital selected Dubai as its Middle East headquarters in December 2023. The firm moved its co-founder Rajiv Garg to lead operations in the region.

Wrise Group

Singapore-based family office Wrise Group is another name that opened its Dubai office in January 2024. The firm hired former Citi exec Dhruba Jyoti Sengupta as CEO of its Middle East business.

Law firms

Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis, the world’s largest law firm by revenue, opened a new office in Riyadh in October 2023. Kirkland & Ellis doesn’t have an office in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Simmons & Simmons

London-based Simmons & Simmons has deep roots in the Middle East region. The law firm opened an office in Dubai International Financial Centre in October 2021. In January 2024, Simmons & Simmons further strengthened its presence in the Middle East, opening an office in Riyadh.

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins received a regional headquarters licence from the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia for its Riyadh office in February 2024. The law firm also has an office in Dubai International Financial Centre.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Bilal Jafar

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