UBS said on Wednesday it will close its representative office in Dubai and transfer the operations to Abu Dhabi, while strengthening its business in Dubai’s financial free zone.
The move was part of the Swiss bank’s plan to “optimise its local operations” in the United Arab Emirates, it said in a statement. It did not elaborate on how it would strengthen its services in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
UBS has been scaling back corporate advisory and investment banking services for ultra-rich clients in some emerging market countries to reduce overlap with other departments as part of changes introduced by Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti to improve profitability at the bank.
As an advisory office, the bank’s DIFC base offers more comprehensive services to clients including investment banking, research and wealth management than would be available through a representative office, which normally has to process business through a larger branch.
Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven United Arab Emirates and holds the majority of the Gulf Arab country’s oil wealth, while Dubai – which lacks hydrocarbon resources – has built itself as a regional hub for tourism and financial services.