Asa Fitch

  • Last Updated: September 15. 2008 9:22PM UAE / September 15. 2008 5:22PM GMT

A worker carries a box from the offices of Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf in London on Sept 15 2008. The British operations of the US investment bank were placed in administration today to protect them from creditors. Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

The collapse of Lehman Brothers and the sale of Merrill Lynch in the latest fallout of the global credit crisis have thrown into question the future of the banks’ operations in the Middle East.

A spokesman for Lehman in London said today that the company’s assets were being liquidated and it was “possible” that all employees in the Middle East would lose their jobs. Bankers, meanwhile, said they were reviewing business deals they had with Lehman, which they described as a “minor” player in the region.

Lehman, which has a staff of around 40 in Dubai, said today that it would file for bankruptcy in the US, putting an end to the storied bank’s 158-year run.

The future for employees of Merrill in the Middle East appears less shaky; sources in the company’s Dubai office said they had received no indication that their jobs would be in jeopardy following the bank’s purchase by Bank of America yesterday for around US$50 billion.

Brokerage and investment banking fees businesses have thrived recently in the Middle East, and Bank of America is not likely to pare down operations in the highly lucrative region, analysts say.

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