Gulf Central Merchant Bank Ltd is a London based independent and privately owned financial services firm, GCMB is a UK registered company and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Our core business includes investment management and investment banking services. Headquartered in London and through its multinational team, GCMB offers exceptional services to clients and outstanding access to global financial markets.
Gulf Central Agency Group was founded in 1976 by Ahmed Chedly Azaiez. GCA was first incorporated in Tunisia, operating out of Switzerland and with offices in Tunisia and Kuwait. As a young and motivated entrepreneur, Mr Azaiez’s idea was to create a solid business bridge linking the three continents in the import export and commodity trading arenas through various product sectors.
In the subsequent years GCA grew to become one of the leading trading organisations in the region. Having expanded across Africa, Mr Azaiez was made an honorary consul of the Republic of Liberia, recognising his achievements. Following his death in 2005, his son Hakim Azaiez took up the Gulf Central Agency brand and revived it by re-launching the business in 2011 focusing on financial services and merchant banking.
Hakim Azaiez is the Chief Executive Officer of the London based Gulf Central Merchant Bank Ltd and Chief Investment Officer of the bank's investment arm Gulf Central Agency Asset Management where he leads the investment management advisory efforts. He has 15 years experience in global markets across all asset classes. He is a founding member of the re-launched GCA. Prior to GCA AM Hakim worked for international banking and financial institutions including DMB, Raiffeisen Bank and Jefferies. He held various roles from sales and trading to portfolio management.
Hakim sits on the board of Gulf Central Merchant Bank and is a member of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce and the Arab Bankers Associations. Hakim holds a BA from Oxford College and a level three certificate from the Charted Institute for Securities & Investments. Hakim is fluent in four languages including English, French, Arabic and Italian.
Chris heads up our real estate division which covers residential & commercial investment and development across the UK, Europe and the GCC region. He works closely with the CEO to enhance the value within the Bank and promotes the asset management services of the Group.
Chris joined the Bank in 2016 and has over 30 years experience working at leading investment banks such as Morgan Stanley, BNPParibas, IntesaSanPaolo and Kleinwort Benson. He founded his own investment capital management company during the 'liquidity crisis' of 2008/09 and subsequently sold it to Kleinwort Benson in 2010 where he managed the business for 2 years. His experience covers fixed income, capital markets, origination and marketing. He has run sales teams across the UK, Europe, MENA and Asia covering asset classes such as asset backed securities, corporate credit, high yield and real estate investment.
The key to his success has been his ability to understand the needs of his clients and then source investments or developments that match their requirements. His guiding principals in business are fairness, transparency, trust and creating value added services that enhance his clients performance.
As Head of our Private Assets Group, Amar works with our corporate clients to provide value creation, strategic planning and corporate finance advice. His skill sets include Initial Public Offerings and access to Private Equity markets.
Therefore his business sectors cover the capital markets space, mergers and acquisitions, and capital raising.
Educated at the Sorbonne University in Paris, Amar is fluent in English, French and Arabic.
Amar has been with us for over 2 years and has worked on a number of high profile projects including Quick in France, Primark in the UK & IKB in Germany.
With over 16 years of experience, he is well placed to provide our corporate clients with strategic advice and capital planning. Within the Bank, Amar is able to capitalise on our international client base which includes private equity, hedge funds and institutional investors.
Prior to joining us Amar worked for Terra Firma Capital Partners, Nomura Global Markets, RBS Global markets and Merrill Lynch.
Dr. Wladimir Ledochowski
Prior to joining GCMB in 2013 Dr Ledochowski was Deputy General Manager of Raiffeisen Bank International London Branch for 10 years with specific responsibility for operations and the development of new business relationships for the RZB Group in the UK market. His previous appointments have included a Directorship at Ecoban Finance (Europe) Ltd (1998-2003) where he specialised in the distribution of Ecoban’ s emerging market finance facilities in the European markets and Moscow Narodny Bank (1984- 1998) where he was a member of the Management Committee in London responsible for the trade finance business, it’s branch in Singapore and the subsidiary in Moscow.
Wladimir was Managing Director of Fiduc Finance & Trading Corp Ltd (1986-1994), initiating the Group’s investment banking activities. From 1981-1994 he was part of the Management of Trade Finance International Ltd. He holds a Doctorate of Law from the University of Salzburg, Austria and is fluent in German, English and Spanish
Malik joined GCMB in 2013. He is also Senior Advisor for the Maghreb region for Raiffeisen Bank International since 2006. In conjunction with this position Malik is a Managing Partner of Ethix Consulting in Casablanca. Prior to that, Malik was the country manager at Arab Bank for Morocco, for four years, and during the same period, he was a board member of the Arab-Tunisian Bank in Tunis. His career also included two long stints with Gulf International Bank in London, focusing on Southern Europe between 1987 and 1991, and as Vice-President in charge of the Maghreb countries between 1997 and 2001.
Early on in his career, Malik worked seven years with Bank of America, in London and Bahrain, and two years with the IFC in Washington DC. Malik holds a Bachelors Degree from the Sorbonne and is a graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris
Stephen was appointed as a Senior Advisor in 2018 to lead the Real Estate division. He comes with 20 years of senior management experience across a range of services in the Real Estate industry.
He was involved in different sectors within the Real Estate industry, including; Healthcare, Commercial and PRS. Stephen is the co-founder of Charles Terrence Estate (a registered provider of social housing and charity) and the Pivotal Homes Group, where he oversees the Portfolio Construction, Investment Management and Asset Allocation.
Stephen is a keen advocate of partnership working, and has hands-on experience of managing a number of long-term, collaborative projects with local authorities and operating partners. His objective is to work within the public and private sectors to deliver real benefits to communities and individuals, while offering excellent returns to partners and investors.
Funda Ayhan joined the team in 2014, prior to that she spent the past twenty years covering Emerging Markets with roles ranging from equity research, investment banking and fund management. Her career has included roles at Nomura International PLC where she managed the Global Emerging Markets equity desk, and prior to that the Russian equity desk at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Funda was also a Director on the Emerging European equity desk at ING Financial Markets, where she covered global institutional investors. Earlier in her career she was a fund manager with AIB Govett in London, where ran the asset allocation and stock picking for the Turkish and Southern European markets.
Having started her career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen & Co, she went on to qualify as a CPA in addition to attaining a Level 1 CFA. Funda has divided her time across various geographies including Sydney, Istanbul, Moscow and London. Mrs Ayhan is also a co-founder of Cap Connect. Funda is fluent in Turkish and English.