x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

BofA chief sees 'upside' for the UAE economy

The UAE's economy has a "measured upside" despite having been stung by the financial crisis, according to the new divisional chief at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The UAE's economy has a "measured upside" despite having been stung by the financial crisis, according to the new divisional chief at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "There has been significant progress on infrastructure since I was last here," said Jonathan Moulds, the bank's newly appointed president of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Canada. "There is a transparent financial system, and a regulator that I think in many sectors is progressive. There is a measured upside, but it will take time."

Mr Moulds, making his first trip to the UAE in his new role at the merged bank, said the region remained an important part of Bank of America Merrill Lynch's global strategy. The bank was still hiring worldwide and planned to add jobs in the Gulf, he said. "We have a strong wealth management presence in a number of places. And I think if you look at our advisory business, M&A [mergers and acquisitions] is strong, and trading in equity is very strong. Combine that with an organisation that has a strong balance sheet and a strong presence on the ground and I think we can make a big impact here. We already are." On the brink of financial collapse, Merrill Lynch merged last September with Bank of America (BofA) in an all-stock deal worth a reported US$50 billion (Dh183.65bn).

The deal gave BofA a much larger international footprint and additional brokerage and investment banking clout developed over nearly a century by Merrill. @Email:afitch@thenational.ae