France's Natixis enters Saudi Arabia to expand regional footprint

The bank will offer investment banking and capital market products to clients from its Riyadh office

An aerial view shows a deserted highway due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr feast marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on May 24, 2020. Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, began a five-day round-the-clock curfew from May 23, in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. / AFP / FAISAL AL-NASSER
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French lender Natixis has established a corporate investment banking office in Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, as it continues to expand its footprint in the Middle East.

Industry veteran Reema Al Asmari was appointed chief executive of Natixis Saudi Arabia Investment Company, the bank said on Sunday.

Based in Riyadh, the Saudi Capital Market Authority-licensed subsidiary will offer investment banking services and capital market products to its clients.

Natixis has long worked with clients based in or with interests in the kingdom.

By establishing an office in the kingdom, Natixis said it is looking to serve new clients and strengthen its relationships with existing customers, including corporates, sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions.

“Natixis’ commitment to the Middle East dates back over 20 years and is based on a conviction that our areas of expertise are closely aligned with the needs of our clients operating in the region,” Simon Eedle, the bank's Middle East head, said.

“This is very much the case for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, notably in the context of Vision 2030.”

Ms Al Asmari, who joined Natixis in August 2019 as an adviser to the Dubai Branch, continues to report to Mr Eedle.

Before joining Natixis, she served in various positions at Banque Saudi Fransi, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan.

Natixis, a subsidiary of Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France, operates in 38 countries across the world.

In the Middle East and North Africa, the lender has a presence in Algeria and the UAE.