Credit Suisse to Form Aventicum Capital With Qatari Fund

Credit Suisse Group AG and Qatar Holding LLC, a unit of the Persian Gulf emirate’s sovereign-wealth fund, agreed to form asset manager Aventicum Capital Management to boost investments in emerging markets.

The joint venture, to be overseen by Credit Suisse Qatar head Aladdin Hangari, will operate out of two hubs including a Doha-based unit focusing on investments in the Middle East, Turkey and other frontier markets starting in early 2013, the bank said today in a statement. It will also have an international business based in an unidentified location.

Hashem Montasser, formerly head of asset management at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, was appointed chief executive officer and chief investment officer of the Doha unit. Martin Keller, Head of Asset Management EMEA for Credit Suisse, will serve as chairman of the board for the joint venture, the bank said.

Qatar and Credit Suisse are boosting ties after the nation took a 6 percent stake in the bank and bought its London headquarters. The country, which has the world’s third-largest gas reserves, is snapping up assets across the globe as it seeks to reduce its energy dependency and has $30 billion to invest this year, Qatar Investment Authority board member Hussain Al Abdulla said in April. QIA is a Qatari wealth fund.

Morgan Stanley

Qatar is also weighing a potential stake in Morgan Stanley’s commodities unit, Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani said Oct. 15. The bank has been considering options for its commodities business, run by Colin Bryce and Simon Greenshields, both 56, amid new rules and a pledge by Chief Executive Officer James Gorman to shrink the fixed-income and commodity trading division to help improve returns.

Economic expansion and high oil prices are driving prosperity in the Middle East, boosting demand for wealth and asset management services. The Qatari economy is set to expand about 6 percent this year, the fastest pace in the Gulf Cooperation Council, according to a survey of 12 economists compiled by Bloomberg. That surpasses the expected average growth of 1.3 percent for the Group of 10 industrialized nations.

Private wealth in the Middle East and Africa may rise 6.6 percent annually to $6.1 trillion in 2016 as the region’s oil-rich economies continue to prosper, the Boston Consulting Group said in June. Wealth in the region increased to $4.5 trillion last year, up 4.7 percent from $4.3 trillion in 2010.

Qatar Expansion

Credit Suisse announced in November that it was planning to expand in Qatar in 2012 by providing asset-management services to local and international investors, once it had secured regulatory approvals. The bank’s board of directors met in Qatar about a year ago, and it’s also been shifting staff to Doha from Dubai, two people familiar with the matter said in September.

Credit Suisse, the second-biggest Swiss bank, rose 2.1 percent to 22.59 Swiss francs at 12:41 p.m. in Zurich.

The government-run Qatar Financial Center Authority, charged with expanding the country’s financial services industry, announced a strategy in 2010 to make Qatar a hub for asset management as well as reinsurance.

The joint venture’s international business will start later next year, according to the statement. No further information on the unit was given.

Hangari will report to the venture’s board, as well as to Bob Jain, Credit Suisse’s head of alternative asset management, according to Suzanne Fleming, a spokeswoman for the bank.

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