Bloomberg makes Dubai a hub and builds out an Islamic finance product, one of the top five most-trafficked financial sites on the Web, is regarded as a premier site for news and financial information. Spurred by a recent boom in sales in the region, Bloomberg is expanding its Dubai office into a regional hub, a move that will as much as quadruple its local staff over the next year.

Max Linnington, the company’s newly appointed regional head of Middle East and South Asia, announced the expansion today in advance of a panel discussion with economists and dignitaries in front of the Dubai International Financial Centre’s iconic The Gate building, where Bloomberg has had offices for two years.

“We are going to be bringing all the elements of what you would find in one of Bloomberg’s largest offices here in Dubai,” he said. Although Bloomberg gathers its news and data from bureaus all over the globe, it currently sells its terminals from seven main hubs: London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Sao Paolo and San Francisco.

The company has had a presence in Dubai for a decade. The planned expansion would increase its staff from 25 to 40 by the end of the year, and to as many as 100 by the middle of next year, Mr Linnington said.

The decision to expand was prompted by strong regional sales of its terminals, which provide financial news and data to bankers, traders, portfolio managers and corporations, as well as to other journalists.

“The region for us has seen explosive growth,” he said. “For example, last year in the UAE, we grew our core business by 61 per cent. And already this year, we exceeded what we achieved in all of last year in the UAE. So we are selling a lot of Bloomberg terminals, basically.”

The company has also been developing an Islamic finance portal, which Mr Linnington said would be helped by having more people on the ground building relationships.

“Particularly since the meltdown of the western capitalist system, there has been an increasingly large focus on the virtues of Islamic finance,” he said. “Today, there is no one single provider of information that caters to the Islamic finance market. So by Bloomberg being here, we are in the process of building out an Islamic finance product. We are very confident that we can build a product that meets the needs of the market right now.”

Despite the fact that its client base of financial professionals has been among those hardest hit by the economic crisis, Mr Linnington said the company’s business “is up fairly significantly in today’s environment”. The company services about 300,000 terminals worldwide, bringing in about US$5 billion (Dh18.37bn) in annual revenues, he said. It has news bureaus throughout the GCC, including in Bahrain and Kuwait, and is in the process of opening offices in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. A news bureau was also planned for Abu Dhabi, he said.

The new regional hub will cover the GCC, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. The office’s expansion will take place across the sales, journalism and data departments, and its services will eventually include a local help desk.

Keach Hagey, The National (UAE), October 29. 2008

Ripple effect: Slump in job recruitment

The global financial crisis has affected the employment market in Dubai, with some corporations putting a freeze on recruitment to cut costs, headhunting firms and academics have said. The relocation of bankers and financial advisers to Dubai amid a worsening downturn in the United States economy is making it tough to find jobs here in the industry, say applicants.

Competition is becoming fierce for jobs as senior finance experts fill positions in Dubai, closing the door on younger, less experienced bankers and traders.

Farhan Hassan, 21, is an economics graduate from the University of Edinburgh who has been trying unsuccessfully to land a finance job in Dubai for weeks. The timing of his graduation with one of the worst financial downturns in decades isn’t helping, he said. “It hasn’t been this difficult for graduates to get a job in the last 20 years.” Hassan said he has encountered other financial advisors since coming to Dubai, all of them looking for work and complaining that the doors keep closing in their faces. Many, he said, hail from New York and Boston where banks and investment firms have laid off thousands to keep the financial ledger in the black.

Since late last year, thousands of financial specialists have been laid off by giants such as Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. Some estimates have put the job loss at 80,000 positions globally since the American housing market began losing trillions in value and the largest consumer market in the world steadily declined. Globally, 200,000 more jobs will be lost in the coming weeks, say economists.

“Dubai is probably one of the only places right now that is still making money, that’s why everyone in my industry is coming here,” he said. An American newspaper report noted that banks are also relocating its workers to places such as Dubai and Hong Kong, where massive liquidity levels are flowing cash through markets. One media report stated that, for example, five top executives from Morgan Stanley were relocated from London to Dubai earlier this year.

Source : Xpress (UAE)


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