Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), the Swiss investment bank which advised Qatar on some of its most high-profile investments, said it’s gaining deals on merit and not because of the Gulf state’s status as a key shareholder.
“We’re winning deals in a competitive environment on the basis of how strong our credentials are in a particular sector, geography or product,” Aladdin Hangari, the bank’s chief executive officer for Qatar, said in an interview. “Just having Qatar as a shareholder is not enough to win mandates.”
Qatar and Credit Suisse are boosting ties after the gas-rich nation took a stake in the bank and bought its London headquarters. Switzerland’s second-largest lender and Qatar Holding, a unit of the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, also formed Aventicum Capital Management in 2012 to boost emerging-market investments. Hangari also heads that business.
The Swiss lender has advised Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund on high-profile deals including stake purchases in German automaker Porsche SE and the acquisition of London’s Harrods department store. Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund, is the bank’s second-largest shareholder with a 5.1 percent stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The fund is also the third-largest shareholder in British lender Barclays Plc (BARC) after providing capital to the bank during the global financial crisis.
Hangari said he expects Qatar, the world’s richest nation on a per capita basis, to continue investments outside the country even amid political change at home. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani became Emir in June last year after his father handed over power.
“For a country like Qatar, which is continuously generating large amounts of wealth, they need to look at investing capital abroad,” Hangari said.
Qatar Holding was part of an investor group that agreed to buy a stake in American Express Co.’s business-travel unit for $900 million in March, while former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani is providing Deutsche Bank AG with a 2.1 billion-euro ($2.9 billion) cash infusion.
Three weeks earlier, Sheikh Hamad’s Al Mirqab Capital SPC vehicle made a takeover offer for Jersey-based Heritage Oil Plc.
The Gulf state will continue to favor Europe for its overseas investments as the legal and regulatory framework in the continent is familiar with Qatar, Hangari said.
Hangari said he was focused on building a business in the Gulf state that was not solely reliant on investment banking operations and had more “predictable” revenues through asset management and private banking.
“In a world where mandates are being won on success fee basis, it can be tough when deals fail,” he said. “So it’s important that you have business lines where revenues are more predictable in nature and that is what we are doing in Qatar.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Dinesh Nair in Dubai at firstname.lastname@example.org