HSBC ranked top agent bank in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH — HSBC Saudi Arabia Ltd., of which SABB (Saudi British Bank) owns 40 per cent, has been ranked the Number 1 and 'Top Rated' Agent Bank in Saudi Arabia in Global Custodian magazine's 2006 survey. HSBC has also been named the 'Top Rated' Agent Bank in the Middle East and North Africa region in the same survey.

By Habib Shaikh

Published: Mon 23 Apr 2007, 8:41 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:16 PM

The Global Custodian Agent Banks in Emerging Markets Survey measures the perceptions of both domestic and cross-border respondents including banks, broker-dealers, fund managers and others, who rated their agent banks on the quality of the sub-custody, clearing and settlement services provided across 68 emerging markets.

"We are proud that our clients have rated us the Number 1 Agent Bank in Saudi Arabia. We will continue to invest in the business and work closely with the local regulators and exchanges to contribute to the further development of the Saudi market," said Timothy Gray, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Saudi Arabia Ltd.

HSBC Saudi Arabia Ltd. has been providing sub-custody services to local and cross-border institutional clients in the Middle East for more than 10 years, and its network is now covering 10 countries in the region.

Zafar Khan, head of securities services, said that the award recognises HSBC Saudi Arabia's commitment to delivering the highest level of service to the clients, who have rated the Bank in the survey. "Our clients will continue to benefit from the comprehensive range of sub-custody and securities clearing services including settlement, safekeeping and corporate actions that we provide," he added.

According to Dr Mohamed A. Ramady, visiting associate professor, department of finance and economics, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, the Saudi financial sector has been growing over the years and today accounts for around SR95 billion or nearby 13 per cent of GDP at constant 1999 prices. This sector, which includes finance, insurance and real estate advisory, stood at around 2 per cent of GDP in the early 1970s. The number of people employed in this sector was around 94,000 as of 2005, with Saudis representing 28,000 or nearly 30 per cent. Of these, around 5 per cent were Saudi females. The total number of private sector employees for 2005 was estimated at around 5.362 million and the financial sector employment seems to be a miniscule 1.75 per cent.

"However, it is not the quantity but the quality of the financial sector workforce that counts, as these tend to be amongst the highest paid in the job categories and their "ripple" effect is far more prominent than in the other labour sectors," he said.

Ramady said that Saudi Arabia is now embarking on setting up King Abdullah Economic City. For this to succeed, and become more than an additional real estate project, it is imperative that the same effort goes from now into putting in those sets of necessary "ingredients" that made London so successful. "This cannot be achieved overnight. One quick solution is to import foreign expertise, skills and know-how to create a financial centre. This is not in a nation's long-term interest, but merely creates a "virtual reality" financial centre, manned by expensively paid foreigners with little "ripple effect" to the rest of the national economy," he explained.

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