A New York-based financial consultancy, which offers advice to banks, private equity companies and sovereign wealth funds in the region, is on a recruitment drive to more than double its staff in Dubai as demand for its services grows.
After gaining a reputation as a go-to source for Wall Street firms in need of help, Accordion Partners is eying similar opportunities in the Middle East. It signed a partnership deal in November with Eagle Investments, an advisory firm based in the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Now it is seeking to bolster its team of four experts in the emirate.
"We plan to grow our presence in Dubai significantly and part of that will be hiring to bring in five new people in response to client-based demand and parachuting people in for specific assignments," said Nick Leopard, the company's founder and chief executive.
A former investment banker at the defunct Bear Stearns and several other investment companies, Mr Leopard established the company in 2009 after the financial meltdown that began in New York. He assembled a high-flying team of former industry insiders and offered their services to investment banks and private equity firms needing an extra pair of hands to seal a deal, draft a budget, manage investor relations or handle compliance.
Spying an opening in the Middle East, Accordion began dipping its toes in the market about a year ago, sending in members of its team to advise sovereign wealth funds, investment banks and private equity firms. It now hopes to build a bigger presence through its partnership with Eagle Investments.
"We realised there were large opportunities in the GCC for Accordion as there are sovereign wealth funds and family offices which have a need for international calibre resources they may not normally have access to, as this is an underserved market," said Mr Leopard.
The needs of financial companies in the Middle East were similar to those in the United States in some ways, he said.
As dealmaking has cooled from pre-crisis levels, buyout firms are having to hold on to portfolio companies longer, rather than selling for a quick profit. As a result, they are having to squeeze more from the value of their investment.
"It's no longer three or four years and flip. It's now holding investments for five years or longer, so there's now a need to put an emphasis on operational improvement," he said. "Another major opportunity is the fact a lot of groups are looking to professionalise their investment to take more of a hands-on approach."
Accordion is also fielding inquiries from companies in the region seeking help managing their US-based portfolios.
Eagle Investments will manage Accordion's services in the region. It was part of a capital raise in April by Accordion that included high-net worth investors.
"We strongly believe that Accordion's unique ability to bring top-tier operational and transactional support to clients with greater cost efficiency … will be extremely appealing and fill a growing need in this robust market," said Raj Dvivedi, the chief executive of Eagle Investments.