Against a backdrop of austerity and government spending cuts, last month’s $14.1bn merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB) represents an exciting opportunity for growth in the Middle East.

It is also of historic significance. The merger of NBAD and FGB, respectively Abu Dhabi’s largest and third-largest lenders by assets, ranks as the largest domestic Middle Eastern M&A deal of all time. (CONTINUED - 1922 WORDS)