Natixis opens investment banking office in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI, May 31 (Reuters) - French investment bank Natixis has opened a corporate and investment banking office in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh and appointed former JPMorgan banker Reema al-Asmari as its chief executive officer, the bank said on Sunday.

Western financial institutions have been seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia since the government unveiled plans to privatise state assets and introduced reforms to attract foreign capital under its Vision 2030 programme to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil.

“By establishing a local presence, Natixis aims to deepen its relationships with its existing clients, including corporates, sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions, and to serve new clients, including family offices,” Natixis said in a statement.

The bank’s office, located in Al Faisaliah Tower, will offer “tailor-made capital markets products and investment banking services”.

Al-Asmari, who joined Natixis last August as an advisor to the bank’s Dubai branch, will continue to report to Simon Eedle, Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking’s regional head for the Middle East.

Eedle said in a statement that the bank’s commitment to the Middle East dated back more than 20 years and he believed its areas of expertise were closely aligned with the needs of clients in the region. “This is very much the case for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, notably in the context of Vision 2030,” he said, adding it was a “pivotal time” for the kingdom. (Reporting by Yousef Saba and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)