UBS Deepens Mideast Footprint With Qatar Wealth Management Foray

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UBS Group AG plans to open a wealth-management business in Qatar after its chief executive officer marked his first day on the job by signing a memorandum of understanding with the country’s Investment Promotion Agency.

The Zurich-based bank’s CEO Ralph Hamers and Chairman Axel Weber clinched the initial agreement on Sunday with Ali Al Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, the government-backedQatar Financial Centre said in a statement. It didn’t give details of UBS’s plans.

Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is one of the richest nations in per-capita income. Cost-cutting has pushed UBS to focus its wealth management offerings on its top clients, while pushing others to digital offerings.

Hamers became CEO on Sunday, after nearly seven years at the helm of Dutch bank ING Groep NV, where he was credited with driving a digital transformation. Hamers’s predecessor at UBS, Sergio Ermotti, led a pivot from volatile investment banking to wealth management, turning the bank into a world leader that oversees $2.5 trillion in assets.

In addition to Qatar, UBS has offices in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, according to its website.

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