Like a significant number of Lebanese in the 1970s, Monir and his wife Hayat, left the Middle East in pursuit of the ‘American Dream’. Monir was determined to fulfill his life-long ambition to become a successful banker in the finance capital of the world.
What began as a profession in commercial banking, ultimately led to his success as an investment banker, with an illustrious career that spanned 5 decades and three continents. Today, Monir serves as President of Wafra Capital Partners Inc. in New York, a U.S. registered investment advisor, which currently manages about $4.1 billion in assets.
Monir began working in finance after graduating from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1968. He immediately joined the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), a joint venture between the government of Abu Dhabi, Arab investors, and the National Westminster Bank of the U.K, (NATWEST).
In 1979, NBAD selected Monir to be their representative at the newly established consortium bank in New York: UBAF Arab American Bank (UBAF), a joint venture between Arab, French, and U.S. banks. Monir was responsible for all of Middle East marketing, as well as the newly established investment banking division.
With an entrepreneurial spirit, Monir spent years investing in diverse real estate, banking and business ventures. In 2000, he joined Wafra Investment Advisory Group, New York, an SEC regulated investment management firm, majority-owned by the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS), an investment arm of the Government of Kuwait. He heavily contributed to the growth and success of Wafra Management Group, which today manages over $23 billion in total assets, and employs about 170 people.
While building a remarkable professional career, Monir never forgot his roots. Monir, Hayat and their two children, Sam and Dâna, returned to Lebanon regularly, making worthy financial contributions, largely in support of medical and educational initiatives.
With an unwavering commitment to support Ain Ebel, their small village in the South of Lebanon, the Barakats built a new sports stadium, an innovative technology lab [that serves both students and faculty], as well as a scholarship program for underprivileged students.
Monir was also actively involved in promoting the services and curriculum of the Lebanese American University (L.A.U.) in Beirut, particularly in the supply of medical equipment to the new University hospital. He was subsequently appointed Chairman of the LAU Health Foundation, a U.S. based entity representing LAU and serving its U.S. interests.
As a founding member of the Arab Bankers Association of North America (ABANA), a 500 plus executive membership organization, Monir served as its president for 2 consecutive years.
He is currently a Director on 29 professional funds and financial institutions, as well as a Board member of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
Monir and Hayat are also invested in their local Westchester community. They are proud to have helped found and establish the St. John Paul II Maronite Catholic Church, where they are both considered to be leading members and supporters of the community.