If soaring oil revenues hadn't focused banks' attention on the Middle East already, Saudi Arabia's recent announcement of a massive privatisation programme, with projected investment opportunities of $623bn between now and 2020, should have been enough to turn their heads.
Sure enough, London headhunters say banks are looking for senior corporate financiers to boost their presence in the region. "The Middle East was historically about private banking and wealth management," says one London headhunter. "That's changing and firms are beginning to put corporate financiers on the ground."
Most bankers working in Saudi Arabia are based in Dubai, says Davies, although some are also working out of London.
Banks seeking to bulk up in the region include Morgan Stanley, which recently announced plans to create an investment banking unit in Dubai, moving 25 bankers to the Dubai International Financial Centre. Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan are also said to be hiring.