Ex-UBS Banker Momdjian Starts Frontier Markets Investment Firm

Albert Momdjian, who led UBS AG’s business with the wealthiest in the Middle East and Africa, has set up a company in Dubai to invest in frontier markets.

Sokotra Capital will focus on countries including Mongolia, Vietnam and Africa, targeting investments in agriculture, real estate and hospitality, according to Momdjian’s LinkedIn profile. Momdjian confirmed the details in a phone interview and said Sokotra will seek to co-invest with family-owned groups in the region. He declined to provide further information.

A rising number of Middle Eastern bankers are starting their own firms or joining boutique investment houses to exploit growth opportunities in emerging and frontier markets. Ali Asghar, the former head of Lazard Ltd.’s Dubai office, last year left to set up his own boutique emerging-market focused firm, while former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Ziad Awad established an advisory and consultancy firm in Dubai.

Frontier markets have outperformed developing-nation stocks since the start of 2013, with the MSCI Frontier Market Index rising 8.5 percent in 2014 following a gain of 21 percent last year. That compares with a drop of 5 percent in 2013 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which is little changed this year.

At UBS, Momdjian ran the corporate finance team catering to large families and ultra-high-net-worth individuals from 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to joining UBS, he was the head of investment banking operations for Credit Agricole SA in the Middle East and Africa.

A spokesman for UBS declined to comment on Momdjian leaving the bank.

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