For old Asia hand, Dubai beckons

Bob McMillen has been a leading light in Bangkok's financial community. But now he's moved to the Gulf.
Robert McMillen, former CEO at Thai brokerage Seamico Securities, is leading a team of colleagues and moving to the Middle East.

He has joined forces with Major-General Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Ali and Sharafudin Sharaf from the United Arab Emirates to open a Dubai stockbroking firm.

MAC Sharaf Securities is licensed by the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority and owns a seat on the Dubai Financial Market.

McMillen Advantage Capital Limited will own 49% of the joint venture. McMillen Advantage Capital is the corporate finance vehicle and flagship of Bob McMillenÆs newly created MAC group. He has been joined by Michael Fernandez, the former head of institutional brokerage at Seamico, who has been appointed as managing director at MAC Sharaf.

ôIÆm here because the moneyÆs here,ö says McMillen from Dubai. He will take the post of vice-chairman of MAC Sharaf. ôSimilar to Thailand, there are both local and foreign shares, so international investors can participate in Dubai markets. In terms of risk factors, IÆd draw attention to the property market, which is very hot at present.ö

2006 was a turbulent year for Middle Eastern stocks in markets like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Dubai. So why is now a good time to be investing in Dubai with the recent turbulence?

ôAccording to our research team," says McMillen, ôalthough the market is down 45%, dividends are being announced, and there are both good yields and very low price-earnings ratios. There is tremendous liquidity in the Dubai economy.ö

Investment banking at Seamico Securities, which formerly reported to Bob McMillen, is now headed by Dr Ashwani Ahuja and Shiraz Poonevala. As we reported in November 2006, Andrew Yates is now manning the foreign sales desk, along with two dealers,; he reports to Suleeyaporn Tasanasrit.

Seamico Securities was a hat-trick winner of FinanceAsia magazineÆs æBest domestic Thai brokerÆ award between 2002 and 2004.
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