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Citigroup wants to hire up to 20 bankers in Saudi Arabia, where it plans to formally begin operations in the first quarter after obtaining an investment banking licence in the kingdom, a senior executive said. Saudi Arabia's economic reform programme would create investment banking opportunities through privatisations and by encouraging more savings by the population, Carmen Haddad, chief executive officer of Citi Saudi Arabia, told Reuters.
The bank obtained a licence in April to conduct capital markets business in Saudi Arabia, a move enabling Citigroup to return to the kingdom to offer banking services after an absence of almost 13 years.
More than a dozen foreign banks have licences to operate branches in Saudi Arabia. Several international lenders want to build a presence as opportunities emerge from the kingdom's reforms to wean the economy off a reliance on oil revenues.
The opportunities include an array of privatisations such as the government's plan to list up to 5 per cent of Saudi Aramco in an initial public share offering.
They also include steps such as raising the proportion of Saudis who own homes and encouraging more consumers to save.