People News & Moves

Moody’s Expands In Gulf

Moody’s Investors Service (MIS) has this month announced that it has established an office in Riyadh, expanding the company’s global outreach and deepening its role in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s debt capital markets. Mahmoud Totonji has been appointed as General Manager and Head of Relationship Management, for Saudi Arabia.


“Establishing a new office in the Saudi capital underscores our deep commitment to contributing to the broader dialogue on GCC capital markets and builds on our two decades of experience in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region,” says Robert Fauber, President of Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s initiated ratings on the Government of Saudi Arabia in January 1996 and today rates $50 billion of government debt securities.


Totonji brings more than 15 years’ experience to his new role, offering strategic financial and operational leadership in the investment and banking industries. He has established and restructured a wide array of banking and financial entities in the GCC region, including Barclays Saudi Arabia, Deutsche Al-Azizia Investment Company, Middle East Financial Investment Company (MEFIC) and a Private Wealth Management Office.


Saudi Arabia is also a key market for Islamic Finance, an area in which MIS is a globally-recognized thought leader on ratings, research and speaking engagements at leading conferences and events globally. The Kingdom completed the world’s largest ever inaugural Sukuk issuance at $9 billion in April 2017. The transaction was rated A1 by MIS.


Franklin Templeton Expands Presence In LatAm

Franklin Templeton Investments this spring announced the opening of a new office in Santiago, Chile to support sales and its client service needs in the country. The firm has appointed Gonzalo Ramírez Correa as vice president, Sales. Based in the firm’s new Santiago office, he will work to develop tailored solutions for clients in Chile while leveraging the capabilities of Franklin Templeton’s various investment groups. He will report to Sergio Guerrien, director and country manager for South America (excluding Brazil), who will oversee the Chile operation.

“We are very delighted that Gonzalo has joined our team in this period of growth in the Chilean market,” said Guerrien in a company statement. “With the opening of this new office in Santiago, we are committed to strengthening our capabilities in the South American region as our clients look to us to solve their needs for specific investment outcomes while leveraging the comprehensive resources and broad expertise of Franklin Templeton.”

Clifford Chance Promotes Mideast Counsel

Leading international law firm, Clifford Chance, today announced the promotion of Stephen Chance, Cheuk-Yin Cheung and Bilal Rana to Counsel. The promotions are effective as of May 1 2018.

Stephen Chance will lead the Middle East Asset Finance practice. Based in Abu Dubai, Chance will continue to manage and grow the practice working with regional and international banks and aviation sector participants. He will work closely with Antony Single who remains active in the Middle East, but now spends the majority of his time in the firm’s London office.

Cheuk-Yin Cheung has successfully built and continues to grow the Derivatives and Structured Products practice in the Middle East. Cheuk, the firm sais in a statement, is the leading authority in the region amongst peer firms and supports numerous global and regional financial institutions. Cheuk is based in Dubai.

Bilal Rana is an established senior lawyer seconded to the Finance practice of AS&H Law Firm in Saudi Arabia. Bilal is well-know by Saudi and international financial institutions and corporates. He works closely with Mohamed Hamra-Krouha and Yasser Al-Hussain, based in Riyadh.

“We are delighted to promote Stephen, Cheuk and Bilal to the position of Counsel. Each has demonstrated a strong aptitude to servicing our clients, forging excellent working relationships and building the capabilities of our growing practices in the Middle East,” Middle East Managing Partner, Robin Abraham, said.