• Societe Generale banks on Saudi growth


    Societe Generale banks on Saudi growth

    Frederic Oudea, chairman and CEO of Societe Generale

    Societe Generale, one of the largest European financial services groups, is striving for strengthening its foothold in Saudi Arabia after securing licenses from the Capital Market Authority (CMA) in 2009 to develop its investment banking activities in the Kingdom.
    Societe Generale, through its fully owned subsidiary Societe Generale Saudi Arabia, aims to fulfill its ambition as the relationship-focused bank, a reference on its markets and areas of expertise. "We want to accompany our international clients in the region, and to offer our local clients the full range of our expertise," Frederic Oudea, chairman and CEO of Societe Generale, told Arab News.
    "We will meet the strategic goals of our clients, large corporates, financial institution and family offices, offering them essential types of services such as advisory financing (project finance), hedging and investments solutions, and areas where the bank is recognized as a leading player," he said.
    Societe Generale Saudi Arabia, which was granted the 5 CMA licenses - dealing, managing, arranging, advising and custody - in 2009 and activated in December 2010, has been fully operational since the beginning of the year in Saudi Arabia.
    "These licenses will enable us to initially focus on the development of our corporate and investment banking activities which represent one of the main areas of expertise of our group," Oudea, who visited the Kingdom this month, said.
    He added that the bank's development in the Kingdom will rely on its strengths. The bank is a leader in many fields. It has been a global leader in equity derivatives since 2001 and strong positions in fixed income, commodities and research, a top player in Eurobonds since 2005, and the best export finance arranger since 2001.
    "We have also been developing our investment banking activities since 2009, in order to better accompany our clients and strengthen the strategic dialogue with them. This new development in Saudi Arabia completes our set up in the GCC region," he said, adding: "We already have offices in Dubai, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, and are active in all the GCC countries including Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. New hires are expected this year and others will follow according to the way our business develops, he added. "Our staff is highly qualified and comprises 50 percent of Saudi nationals," Oudea said.
    About Societe Generale Saudi Arabia's CMA licenses, the group said: "These represent an important step in the bank's expansion in the GCC region and underscore its strong commitment to the Kingdom and the region as a whole." Saudi Arabia represents more than 50 percent of the GCC economy while housing many large corporates and financial institutions to which the bank anticipates to offer adapted advisory and financing solutions.
    Established in the region since 1997, Societe Generale is active in the GCC countries. This new step will enable the bank to leverage its presence and accompany the development of its regional and international clients.
    Drawing on the group's extensive banking heritage of over 140 years and geographic and business diversification, Societe Generale Saudi Arabia is in a solid position to offer world-class award-winning financial products and services to clients in the Kingdom, according to the group’s statement.

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