(Bloomberg) — Alternative asset manager Sagard Holdings is opening an office in the United Arab Emirates’ capital of Abu Dhabi, the latest international investment firm to set up in the oil-rich Gulf.
The Canadian firm’s first regional outpost is in Abu Dhabi Global Market — the city’s main financial center — which is vying with hubs in neighboring Dubai and Saudi Arabia to become the region’s preferred destination for foreign money flows. It will be led by former Bank of Montreal executive Firas Mallah.
Sagard — controlled by the billionaire Desmarais family — joins a growing number of hedge funds and private equity firms flocking to the Persian Gulf, drawn by the absence of income taxes and the proximity of some of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds.
Ray Dalio is setting up a branch of his family office in Abu Dhabi, part of the hedge fund billionaire’s deeper push into the Middle East, while Brevan Howard Asset Management co-founder Trifon Natsis relocated to the city.
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Sagard’s new office cements ties between the firm and the Gulf region. Earlier this year, Bank of Montreal and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ agreed to buy minority equity stakes in the company.
“We are already building on exciting local partnerships and are eager to accelerate our many opportunities for growth and collaboration,” Sagard Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul Desmarais III said in a statement.
Sagard, which invests in venture capital, private equity, private credit, real estate, and royalties, already has offices in Europe and the US.
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