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J.P. Morgan follows the money to Abu Dhabi

J.P. Morgan adds a second UAE office in Abu Dhabi.

Following the trail of money, J.P. Morgan has complemented its existing presence in Dubai with a new office in Abu Dhabi, home to the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) central government and purse strings.

The US bank opened the office in a ceremony this week attended by Heidi Miller, chief executive of J.P. Morgan treasury and securities services, and Khalil Mohammed Sharif Foulathi, chairman of the UAE's central bank, among others.

"Opening an office in Abu Dhabi is an important milestone for us in this region and demonstrates the strategic importance of Abu Dhabi to our business," said Asif Raza, Middle East and North Africa head of J.P. Morgan treasury and securities services. "The office will further strengthen our ties to the local business and financial community, and enable us to help these clients meet their needs."

Other international banks with offices in Abu Dhabi include Citi, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and UBS.

J.P. Morgan's Abu Dubai opening comes after the balance of economic power appears to have shifted in the UAE. Last November, quasi-sovereign corporate Dubai World sent palpitations through global capital markets when it asked for a standstill agreement for $26 billion worth of debt. While the final impact proved minimal outside the emirate, the central bank of the UAE, funded largely by oil (and cash) rich Abu Dhabi, provided $10 billion to the Dubai Financial Support Fund to cover debt repayments.

As if in symbolic punishment, the tallest building in the world was renamed the Burj Khalifa, after Abu Dhabi's leader, when it opened in Dubai last month.

J.P. Morgan has four other offices in the Middle East, in Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and offers its customers asset management, investment banking, private banking, and treasury and securities services. It has been in the Middle East for over 50 years.

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