(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc is courting private bankers as it seeks to expand its business of catering to the growing number of millionaires and billionaires moving to the Middle East. 

The British lender already added 100 bankers in 2023 and is looking to hire “opportunistically” in the energy-rich region in the coming months, according to Aladdin Hangari, who joined HSBC to lead its private banking business for the Middle East and North Africa last year.

The moves should help his unit boost client assets by around 60% in the next 5 years, Hangari said. The division is the largest contributor to HSBC’s Swiss private banking entity, which currently manages $85 billion in client assets. 

“We are in all the key markets and we have a strong business,” Hangari said in an interview. “There’s a lot more we can do with existing clients, and there’s more we can do in terms of attracting new clients.”

HSBC is known for its wealth prowess across Asia, but it’s long lagged Swiss rivals like UBS Group AG in the Middle East. Hangari brings some of that know-how to HSBC after previously spending 20 years at Credit Suisse, where he was most recently one of the bank’s top wealth-management executives for Qatar and the key relationship manager for the Qatari royal family.

Read more: UBS Hands Qatari Sheikh $9 Billion Credit Line in Mideast Push

Along with Hangari, HSBC added several other key hires from Credit Suisse last year, including bankers that will expand the lender’s coverage in countries including Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Those moves came after HSBC opened an onshore branch for its private bank in the United Arab Emirates in 2022 in order to cater to clients with investable assets of over $2 million. Assets from new customers in the country surged 51% last year, the bank said. 

“There is definitely a strong demand for talent and especially the top performers,” Hangari said. “There is an opportunity for us to grow everywhere, but obviously Saudi is going to always be a key market for all the private banks due to its sheer size, along with the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.”

HSBC is betting that its strong operations in Asia will help it win more business with wealthy investors in the Gulf. The two regions have sought to deepen their ties in recent years and China’s President Xi Jinping is meeting with Arab leaders this week to discuss trade.

“We see definitely a lot of interest both in terms of investments from Middle East into Asia and Asia into Middle East,” Hangari said. “We want to be in the middle of these investment flows and trade flows.”

(Updates with more information about UAE business in seventh paragraph.)

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