Credit Suisse seeks Saudi banking licence

Credit Suisse has stepped up its plans to expand in the Middle East by sending its chief executive to apply in person for a full banking licence from Saudi Arabia’s financial regulator.

“I have been to Riyadh, I met the head of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), I made the application myself,” said Tidjane Thiam as reported by Reuters.

The bank has been growing its presence in Saudi Arabia and the UAE with the appointment of more bankers in its investment banking and wealth management divisions.

A number of other international banks and fund managers have sought to capitalise on Saudi Arabia’s efforts to liberalise its economy and enlarge its financial services industry. Citi was awarded a banking license by SAMA in April while Goldman Sachs was licensed to trade equities in Saudi Arabia in August 2017.

Thiam denied that his bank’s Middle Eastern expansion plans had been delayed because of its links to the Qatar Investment Authority, which holds a 4% stake in the bank. Qatar has been subject to an economic and political blockade other GCC states since June 2017.

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