Citigroup receives Abu Dhabi Global Market branch licence

The branch will provide liquidity management solutions to Citi’s clients looking to establish regional treasury centres in the UAE

Citi has received license to set up a branch at ADGM. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
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Citigroup received a licence to establish a branch at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGAM), the emirate's fast-growing financial hub, as the global lender looks to expand its regional presence.

The new Citi branch will provide liquidity management solutions to clients looking to establish regional treasury centres in the UAE. Upon receiving final approval from Financial Services Regulatory Authority, which oversees ADGM, the branch will also provide institutional banking services to its customers around the globe, the lender said in a statement on Tuesday.

The new branch will boost Citi’s banking capacity in the UAE, where the lender has been offering wholesale and retail banking services since 1964. The license was granted during Citigroup chief executive Mike Corbat’s visit to ADGM.

“The UAE is an important market with tremendous potential for Citi,” Elissar Farah Antonios, Citi’s country officer-UAE, said. “The ADGM platform complements our footprint in the region and enables us to engage in a wide spectrum of wholesale banking business out of Abu Dhabi.”

Global lenders are strengthening their position in the Arabian Gulf region, which is home to about a third of the world’s proven oil reserves, as GCC governments transform their economies and take measures to cut dependence on crude for revenue. Citi also plans to return to the Saudi Arabia, after an absence of more than 13 years and has applied for a license to operate in the kingdom.


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If successful, Citi could also pursue with the Saudi central bank permission for a full bank branch licence, potentially joining other banks such as JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank, according to Reuters.

Citi is currently present in twenty-five markets across the Middle East and Africa region, and its services include corporate and investment banking, capital markets, sales and trading, transactions services, private banking and Islamic banking operations. The lender also offers consumer banking services in the UAE and Bahrain.

“ADGM will continue to support Citi and like-minded financial institutions in catering to the increasing establishment of regional treasury centers, which are seeking world-class expertise and innovative solutions,” said Richard Teng, chief executive, FSRA.

“I look forward to Citi adding to the vibrancy of the market and expanding the available banking and financial offerings. Together, we can better serve the institutions, investors and business community in the UAE and globally.”