DUBAI (Reuters) – Standard Chartered is looking to add bankers to focus on sustainable finance, project finance and capital markets in Saudi Arabia, a market it sees will become a “front-runner” for its regional business in coming years, a senior executive said.
Standard Chartered this year began offering banking services through its branch in Saudi Arabia with a team of 25 people after it was granted a banking licence in 2019.
The licence helped the bank to expand beyond the capital markets business it has conducted in the country since 2011.
“This has just been a start and we will continue to add as business grows. We have the capacity to quite easily double what we have currently,” Sunil Kaushal, the bank’s regional CEO for Africa and Middle East, said, referring to staff numbers.
“Do remember we have a large presence in the regional office, so some of it will be fresh hires, some of it will be moves from here to the kingdom,” he told Reuters.
On Wednesday, Fahad al-Mubarak, governor of the Saudi Central Bank, formally inaugurated the branch during a roundtable session in Riyadh.
Kaushal said the bank’s strategy in Saudi Arabia is to work with subsidiaries of global corporates and financial institutions, while taking part in transactions that contribute to the country’s economic development.
He said Islamic banking will also be a huge opportunity in the Saudi market.
“For many years to come Saudi Arabia would be – for this region Africa and the Middle East – frontrunner when it comes to contribution,” Kaushal said.
Currently, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Nigeria and Kenya are the biggest markets in the bank’s Africa and the Middle East region.
Standard Chartered was among other banks this year hired to lead energy giant Saudi Aramco’s inaugural dollar sukuk issue that raised $6 billion.
Standard Chartered was also among banks hired by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, as members of an ESG panel for its medium-term capital-raising strategy, IFR News reported.
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