UK financial PR giant to set up Dubai operation

Brunswick Group, one of the world's most prominent financial PR companies, is to open an office in the UAE in a move that could shake up corporate communications in the region.

The largest financial public relations company in the UK, Brunswick represents nearly a third of the top 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange. It plans to open a Dubai office in the first quarter of 2007.

Headed by Rupert Young, who has been with the group for nine years, it will be their 12th international office.

Headhunting for a small team of account managers - both here and in the UK - is already under way.

It is likely that Brunswick's new operation will partly focus on new listings on the DIFX. The group already represents Kingdom Hotel Investments and Hikma Pharmaceuticals - both listed on the exchange.

Brunswick ran the early public relations campaign for London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics. High profile clients include British Airways, Barclays Bank and Prudential.

In 2001, Brunswick recruited Bill Clinton's former aide, James Rubin, to head its political affairs unit, although it was reported that Rubin 'quietly quit' in 2004.

Many PR agencies in the Middle East have already established or are looking to set up financial divisions in order to capitalise on the growing demand for financial services.

Rivals said that the arrival of Brunswick could improve industry standards in the UAE. "It's good news for everyone," said John Hobday, managing director of Financial Dynamics in the Gulf.

"The more competition we have in financial PR, the better for the industry.

"There's more than enough work to go around - there's tonnes of the stuff."

He added: "It will help people see that there is more to PR than just churning out press releases. There are complex transactions happening more and more here. But how many PRs genuinely know how the local, regional, and international media - as well as the business world - works?"

Campaign can also reveal that UK-based financial PR firm Capital MS&L, which works with more than 15 of the FT Global 500

largest companies, will launch a dedicated Dubai office in December. The company has been building up a client base in the UAE since 2003 and is sister company to Manning Selvage & Lee, which launched in Dubai in 2001.

Neil Doyle, who will head up Capital MS&L, relocates to Dubai later this year.

'Given the increasing demand for financial communications and consultancy - and our growing client base - we are launching officially in December,' he said.

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