RenCap Hires Michael Harris From BofA as Part of MENA Expansion

Renaissance Capital Ltd. hired Michael Harris from Bank of America Corp. to head Turkey research as the Russian investment bank expands its Middle East and North Africa operations, its chief executive officer said.

Harris, who will be based between London and Istanbul, will report to David Nangle, RenCap’s head of equity research, Igor Vayn said in an interview in Moscow. Harris joins RenCap after 19 years at Bank of America, where he was most recently the head of emerging Europe, Middle East, Africa and global frontier equity strategy based in London, and will replace Yavuz Uzay, who has left the bank, Vayn said.

RenCap, controlled by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, is joining banks from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Arqaam Capital Ltd. in expanding coverage of the Middle East and Africa as local stock markets rally and economic growth climbs. Turkey’s benchmark stock index has jumped 8.4 percent this year, even after a corruption probe spiraled into a political crisis. That compares with a drop of 10 percent for Russia’s equity gauge.

“Our target is to generate 50 to 70 percent of our revenues in Russia and about 30 to 50 percent in other locations,” Vayn said. “To achieve this, we have gone to the Middle East-North Africa region.” RenCap currently derives about 70 percent of revenue in Russia and more than 30 percent elsewhere, according to Vayn.

Expansion Plans

RenCap plans to open its Dubai office over the summer with a staff of seven before boosting the number to 15 in a three-years period, Vayn said. The bank also poached Omar Darwish from Credit Suisse Group AG for its equity business in the emirate, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

“We’re taking one step at a time, we’ll see how we’re developing in MENA, and then we’ll think of other things,” Vayn said. “It would be illogical to talk about other additional offices at the moment. Our expansion is focused and we’re trying to do it without accumulating gigantic costs.”

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