Credit Suisse to hire private bankers for Saudi Arabia push
Zurich, Switzerland - Credit Suisse Group AG is planning to hire more relationship managers in Saudi Arabia, joining rivals including Deutsche Bank AG in designating the country as a priority for their wealth management business.
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 Saudi Arabia, where the government is looking 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 continues to seek a banking license for Saudi Arabia that would allow it to open branches in the kingdom. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Deutsche Bank AG and BNP Paribas SA already have such licenses, while HSBC Holdings Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Credit Agricole SA operate in the country through minority stakes in local lenders.
The Zurich-based lender has allocated about US$600mn of its capital to expand in the Gulf nation, 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.
Saudi Arabia is taking steps to make the Middle East’s biggest stock market more attractive as it readies an initial public offering for state oil company Saudi Aramco. Last month the country passed a major barrier to being classified by MSCI Inc as an emerging market, an achievement that may draw billions of dollars to its traded companies through eventual inclusion in some global stock indexes.
Credit Suisse turned its focus to wealth management after CEO Tidjane Thiam took over at the Swiss lender in 2015. The international wealth management unit led by Iqbal Khan, which includes the Middle East, said pretax profit fell 3 per cent to US$305mn in first quarter.