HSBC enters talent war for UAE finance lawyers

HSBC is set to join the highly competitive market for talent in the Middle East by embarking on a recruitment drive to boost its legal team in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in response to the buoyant financial markets in the region.

The bank, which has its legal function for the UAE headquartered in Dubai, is hoping to recruit a number of lawyers specialising in derivatives and fund services within the next two years.

Head of HSBC’s UAE legal department Melika Betley said: “Competition is tough in the UAE and we’re all competing for good lawyers. We need to respond to the growth and the level of activity.

“I’m looking at derivatives and fund lawyers because these are the areas that have developed very quickly.”

The bank is considering alternative ways to build its team, including secondments and lateral hires from rival banks. Secondments would be likely to come from the bank’s international panel firms, which include Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Norton Rose.

Betley said competition was tough in the UAE, with firms, banks and corporates battling to keep hold of highly skilled specialist lawyers.

Betley heads a team of three in Dubai, with one lawyer in Egypt and one in Qatar. The team is responsible for servicing the whole of the UAE.

HSBC has experienced significant success in the region and has benefited from a presence that extends back to 1950. Saudi Arabia has been a particular success for the bank since the 1950s. HSBC established a formal joint venture, for which is holds management control, with the Saudi British Bank in 2005.