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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Credit Suisse hiring private bankers for Saudi Arabia expansion

Banks looking to tap anticipated surge in private wealth in the kingdom

Credit Suisse is one of several banks looking to tap rising private wealth in Saudi Arabia. Michele Limina / Bloomberg
Credit Suisse is one of several banks looking to tap rising private wealth in Saudi Arabia. Michele Limina / Bloomberg

Credit Suisse Group is planning to hire more relationship managers in Saudi Arabia, joining rivals including Deutsche Bank in designating the country as a priority for their wealth management businesses.

The recruitment drive comes after the Zurich-based bank established a platform allowing it to offer private banking services and products in the country, according to an emailed statement from the company.

“Credit Suisse is further expanding and investing in its business in Saudi Arabia, a key growth market and of great importance to international wealth management,” Bruno Daher, head of that business in the Middle East, said in the statement. “We consider the onshore private banking presence as a natural progression to further build our local footprint.’’

The Swiss lender is among global banks seeking to profit from an expected surge in private wealth in the kingdom, where the government has pledged to enlist the private sector in its plan to diversify the economy away from oil. Deutsche Bank is preparing to “massively expand” its product offering and hire relationship managers in the kingdom, Peter Hinder, head of EMEA Wealth Management, said in an interview this month.

Credit Suisse is still seeking a banking license for Saudi Arabia that would allow it to open branches in the kingdom. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas already have such licenses while HSBC Holdings , Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Credit Agricole operate in the country through minority stakes in local lenders.

The Zurich-based lender has allocated about US$600 million of its capital to expand its business in the kingdom, people familiar with the matter said early this year. The bank, which has a securities and equities business in the kingdom, plans to use some of the money to offer investors Lombard loans, which are backed by liquid assets such as stocks, the people said. Such loans could help facilitate trading in local equities, they said.

*Bloomberg