Citigroup Starts Operations In Saudi Arabia After 13 Years

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Time: January 25, 2018

After a 13-year absence from Saudi Arabia, Citigroup held its first board meeting in the country on Wednesday, marking its return to the region’s largest market with formal approval from the Kingdom’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) to start offering investment banking services.

The U.S.-headquartered global banking giant exited from the Kingdom in 2004, when it sold a 20% stake in Samba Financial Group—then Saudi American Bank—to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). Citigroup had managed Samba under an agreement which was last renewed for a five-year tenure in 1999.

The Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority (CMA) granted Citigroup a license in April 2017, allowing the bank to provide a range of investment banking, debt and equity capital markets, securities and research capabilities to their local and institutional clients. In May 2017, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority issued a license for Citi. The bank also secured a commencement letter form CMA that month, wrapping up its final set of approvals.

“Saudi Arabia is a regional economic leader and a strategically important market for Citi,” said Citi CEO Mike Corbat in a comment on the company’s return to the Kingdom. He also noted that Citi would work in sync with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to create a more diverse and sustainable economy.

Citigroup Saudi Arabia’s board is comprised of Citi senior executives and independent directors, who will oversee the bank’s business strategy and governance in the Kingdom.  Carmen Haddad serves as Citi Country Officer-Saudi Arabia and Vice Chairperson-Citigroup Saudi Arabia.

In the past, Western financial institutions including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan Chase have secured licenses from the Capital Market Authority to unfold operations in Saudi Arabia.

This article was first published in Forbes

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