Guggenheim KBBO Partners Continues To Strengthen Middle East Operations, Appoints New Head Of Asset Management

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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-Tuesday 12 February 2019 [ AETOS Wire ]

Joint venture between US investment bank and Abu Dhabi-headquartered investor KBBO Group closes landmark transactions and enhances asset management capabilities

Guggenheim KBBO Partners is pleased to announce that it has appointed Virginie Afota as head of its Asset Management division.

Ms. Afota, who joined in late 2018, has over 20 years of experience in asset management and special situations investing at prominent institutions including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Goldman Sachs and AXA Investment Managers. She holds three master’s degrees in Mathematics and Finance from Ecole Polytechnique, ENSAE and Stanford University.

Commenting on Ms. Afota’s appointment, Mohammad Barraj, CEO of Guggenheim KBBO Partners said: “We are excited to have Virginie join our team; appointing someone of her caliber to this role represents an exciting step for the firm as we continue to attract talent along our path towards growing both our Asset Management and Investment Banking verticals. Her track record and expertise will enable us to service and establish high-profile investor relationships in the industry. In the past, the Asset Management division has raised close to AED 3 billion in AUMs, including from significant sovereign and quasi-sovereign wealth funds over the past two years.”

“I am thrilled to join the Guggenheim KBBO team and to be part of a successful growing platform”, said Ms. Afota. The diverse culture and values of the firm help us promote and provide superior client service whilst building long-term relationships. I am looking forward to working with the team and further growing Guggenheim’s asset management franchise across the region.”

Guggenheim KBBO Partners has grown rapidly since its inception in late 2015. The firm’s business model is centered around providing strategic advice to leading corporates and family offices and access to Guggenheim’s suite of specialized asset management products to blue-chip investors in the MENA region. Despite fierce competition, challenging market conditions, and a decrease in deal activity in the Middle East, Guggenheim KBBO Partners’ Investment Banking platform has recently been one of the most active advisors in the UAE and MENA region, with over 15 transactions closed in just less than three years with an aggregate transaction value of close to AED 5.5 billion.

“The past few years have been a transformative period for Guggenheim KBBO Partners as a whole with key transaction milestones achieved, including advising on multiple landmark buy-side and sell-side transactions involving investments by the two largest private equity firms in the GCC region”, said Mr. Barraj, who also spearheads the Investment Banking business. “We have also expanded our investment banking capabilities to three senior bankers originating and executing cross-border transactions across the region. We have a unique platform that allows us to provide trusted advice to our clients – a strong regional team on the ground coupled with the bandwidth, network and depth of the team at Guggenheim Securities, whose professionals have advised on some of the largest and most complex transactions in their industries globally.”

The Investment Banking team has a strong pipeline of advisory mandates under execution across the healthcare, aviation, consumer, and education sectors regionally, while the Asset Management team will be launching a new Guggenheim fund offering across the region in late Q1 2019.

In addition, Guggenheim KBBO Partners is a key strategic partner of the Milken MENA Summit, held annually in Abu Dhabi since the inaugural event in February 2018. Last year, the conference convened 750 senior executives, influential investors, government officials, sovereign wealth fund directors, and philanthropists. Dylan Glenn, Chairman of Guggenheim KBBO Partners commented: “Guggenheim KBBO Partners played an integral role at the Milken MENA Summit, expanding the firm’s visibility in the region and internationally.”

Guggenheim KBBO Partners is a Dubai-based joint venture between Guggenheim Partners and KBBO Group headquartered in the DIFC and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.


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