Dubai boutique advisory started by former JPMorgan, Citi bankers

Two former investment bankers from JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup have started a boutique advisory firm in Dubai, aiming to tap appetite for deals in the US and Canada.

Trussbridge Advisory DIFC will advise clients on capital market and corporate finance transactions in the Middle East, and mergers and acquisitions primarily in North America, according to founders Samer Katerji, a former managing director for Citigroup’s Middle East investment banking unit, and Rody Yared, a former executive director at JPMorgan. Trussbridge plans a permanent presence in the US and is close to hiring a senior banker to run operations in New York, Mr Yared said in a May 20 phone interview.

The startup is the latest in a string of Middle Eastern firms founded by senior bankers betting on their experience and relationships with big corporates to set up on their own.

Albert Momdjian, who handled UBS’s wealthiest clients in the Middle East, quit last year to start an investment company in Dubai. Ali Asghar, the former head of Lazard’s office in the emirate, left in 2013 to set up an emerging-market focused firm, while former Goldman Sachs banker Ziad Awad established an advisory and consultancy business in the sheikhdom the same year.

“The big banks are focused on large size transactions,” Mr Yared said. “The space is crowded with international banks when it comes to deals above half-a-billion dollars. The mid-size market, with ticket in the range of $100 million to $250 million, is not actively covered by these banks.”

Qatar Investment Authority is among regional investors scouting deals in the US. The sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, which controls more than $100 billion in investments, is setting up an office in New York as it looks to expand its US portfolio.

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