Credit Suisse will be issued with a banking licence to operate in the kingdom Saudi Arabia's finance minister has revealed.
The Swiss bank has been seeking to obtain a full banking licence in the Middle East's largest economy since August last year, as reported. Credit Suisse will join competitors such as Citigroup JPMorgan Chase & Co and HSBC Holdings in expanding into Saudi Arabia.
"The incoming new players from international banks come after opportunities because they know there are huge projects taking place," the central bank governor said. Ahmed Alkholifey added that at present there are no more requests for mergers in the banking sector.
There is a change, a quick change really taking place when it comes to licensing. We are opening the system more and more"
Saudi Arabia is speeding up the process to allow more global banks to operate in the country. "The last three licences, one of which today was announced by the minister of finance, took less than a month," Alkholifey said at a financial conference in Riyadh.
"There is a change, a quick change really taking place when it comes to licensing. We are opening the system more and more."
Some of the world's leading financiers are gathering in Riyadh for a two-day summit six months after most Wall Street chief executives skipped a major investment conference in protest over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
BlackRock Inc plans to open an office in Saudi Arabia as the world's largest asset manager seeks investment opportunities in the kingdom and wider Middle East.
"The changes in Saudi Arabia are pretty amazing," CEO Larry Fink said at a financial summit in Riyadh on Wednesday. "We are looking at many different opportunities as an investor and we are working with the region in terms of helping them diversify their portfolios outside the region."
Fink touted the kingdom as a promising market for investors. "The region is not perfect. No region in the world is perfect," Fink said. "The fact that there are issues in the press doesn't tell me I should run from a place, it tells me we should run to a place."
The head of HSBC expects investors to pour money into the oil-rich desert kingdom. "We are excited about the role that we can play here," HSBC CEO John Flint said. "This is an economy we have a lot of confidence in. I think the future is bright."
Last year, most Wall Street CEOs dropped out of the Future Investment Initiative event hosted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid the international outcry over the murder of Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who wrote for the Washington Post. The U.S. has blacklisted 16 Saudi nationals for their role in the killing.