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BofA Merill picks EFG head for top Mena job

Dubai, May 17, 2011

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA) has poached the top executive at Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes in the Gulf to run its business in the Mena region, two sources said on Monday.

Phil Southwell has run EFG in the Gulf region since July 2009 and previously worked at Deutsche Bank. At BofA Merrill Lynch, his remit will include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Bahrain, one of the sources said.

Southwell takes up his new role on July 1 and will report to Andrea Orcel, who heads global banking and markets at the US bank, the source added.

Separately, Saeed Maghdoori, BofA Merrill Lynch's president and chief operating officer for the Middle East, has resigned from the bank, one of the sources said.

Maghdoori quit the bank two weeks ago, the source said, adding his job was mainly administrative and that he did not handle any client responsibilities.

EFG Hermes and BofA Merrill were not immediately available for comment. Southwell did not answer calls seeking comment.

Southwell's departure may be an added blow to the Egyptian investment bank, already under spotlight for its ties to the son of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Gamal Mubarak owns 18 per cent of its subsidiary EFG-Hermes Private Equity.

EFG, also one of the largest asset managers in the region, was forced to suspend redemption requests on some of its funds following the closure.

Last month, EFG said board member and head of brokerage Sherif Cararah had resigned, in a move which hit the share price of the country's biggest investment bank.

Investment banks operating in the Gulf region have been hard hit by the political crisis which has kept investors away from capital markets and crippled appetite for deals.

Few banks have been hiring or expanding their operations in the region. Total investment banking fees for the first-quarter fell 58 per cent to $48.8 million compared with $116.3 million for the previous year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Last week, a source told Reuters that French bank Credit Agricole's top investment banker for the Mena region had resigned.-Reuters




Tags: Merrill Lynch | Bank of America | EFG hermes |

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