PineBridge hires new Middle East CIO

The former asset management unit of AIG has recruited Wael Aburida to lead its private equity and real estate team in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

PineBridge Investments announced today that Wael Aburida has joined its Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and Turkey team as chief investment officer. In the newly created post, he will be responsible for overseeing deal origination, negotiations, execution, portfolio management and exits by the New York-based investment firm’s private equity and real estate team covering that region. He will be based in Bahrain and report to Talal Al Zain, chief executive of PineBridge Investments Middle East. 

Aburida has led private equity and real estate investments across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He previously served as director of mergers and acquisitions at Waha Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based investment firm active in various sectors, including real estate. Prior to that, he was director of the global M&A group at Intel Corporation, based at its global headquarters in Santa Clara, California. 

“I am very excited to be joining PineBridge at such a key juncture,” said Aburida in a statement. “While private equity is slowing in some developed markets, there is significant regional demand for proprietary private equity and real estate deals. We will be capitalizing on this demand for high-quality direct investment opportunities, rigorous due diligence and active portfolio management of investments.” 

PineBridge has been increasing its focus on emerging markets, including the Middle East. The firm has been bulking up its team in the MENA region and, since March 2012, has hired a new regional chief executive, chief operating officer and head of client services, among others.  

“The Middle East and North Africa was a region where we have not had a substantial presence,” Al Zain said earlier this year. “We see significant opportunities for investment and substantial liquidity across MENA and Turkey, which have many underpenetrated markets across all assets classes.” 

In the MENA and Turkey region, PineBridge is focused on four core areas, including private equity, investment management, distribution and real estate. Its regional real estate investment strategy focuses on income-producing assets in the Gulf markets of Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman.

PineBridge is the portion of the asset management business of American International Group that was sold to Pacific Century Group, an Asia-based private investment group controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, in 2010 for approximately $500 million. The firm currently has $71.5 billion in assets under management as of March 31, including $19.9 billion in alternatives.