UBS extends credit line to Qatari Sheikh for $9 billion in Mideast push

People with knowledge of this matter claim that UBS Group AG has extended a credit line of $9 billion to one of Middle East’s largest investors, as Sergio Ermotti tries to retain the ultra-rich in the region following Credit Suisse’s takeover.

People who asked not to be identified while discussing private details said that the Swiss lender agreed to provide financing to the former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. The new credit facility replaces existing lines of UBS and Credit Suisse by at least 50%.

UBS declined comment. A Sheikh Hamad representative did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

UBS wants to maintain its position as the manager of wealth in the Middle East for oil-rich royalty, tycoons and other wealthy individuals. This is due to the collapse of Credit Suisse which had an important business in this region. Gulf countries have some of the highest concentrations of wealth in the world.

HBJ is the name of the sheikh who ran Qatar’s sovereign fund. During his time at Qatar Investment Authority the fund acquired stakes in commodity trader Glencore Plc British lender Barclays Plc as well as luxury department store Harrods. The fund became one of Credit Suisse’s largest shareholders.

Since then, the sheikh is one of Deutsche Bank AG largest shareholders and has family offices that invest capital in public equity, real estate, and private assets around the world.

Aladdin hangari, the Qatari royal family’s key relationship manager, left UBS over the summer. He chose not to continue at UBS, and instead joined competitor HSBC Holdings plc. He brought five other people with him to help expand wealth operation in the region. Hangari, according to sources familiar with the situation, is now looking to hire other key staff members from Credit Suisse’s Middle East wealth business.

Hangari’s exit is a blow to UBS’s ambitions to expand its presence on the ground in the region. Credit Suisse’s strong links with the region could be an asset to UBS, provided it can retain key personnel. People familiar with the matter said that it also compounds UBS’s need to repair the relationship the royals have had with Credit Suisse since being exposed to Greensill. He had invested about $200,000,000 into the now-defunct Greensill fund. One of the people stated that this money has been recovered in large part.

UBS opened a new wealth office in Doha, Qatar in 2021. The goal was to tap into a market that is booming due to the soaring hydrocarbon revenues. UBS could now manage additional assets for the QIA. UBS has been expanding its Middle East teams in recent years by poaching Credit Suisse bankers, including those covering the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and other countries.