What is the strategic importance of the Saudi market in relation to Deutsche Bank Group's overall MENA strategy?
Emerging markets in the overall context of Deutsche Bank's global business strategy are extremely important. Emerging markets obviously encompass many countries and regions, including Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Within MENA, the GCC is a critical part. Saudi Arabia, being the largest economy in the GCC and one of the largest among emerging economies, has a special place within the overall strategy of the bank. With a GDP of nearly $950 billion, a youthful population of 28 million, a solid fiscal position with significant buffers (notwithstanding the recent slide in crude oil prices), a stable and well-managed monetary and banking system, and a vibrant private sector, Saudi Arabia is one of the most attractive markets among its emerging market peers as far as the Bank is concerned. This has been our view since establishing our presence in the Kingdom in 2006. And this is why we continue to invest in our Saudi platform. In addition to our well-established investment banking and corporate finance operation we invested heavily in a well-rounded corporate banking and transaction banking presence as well as in corporate treasury services. We are also growing our wealth management, custody, and brokerage business onshore.
How does DSSA leverage Deutsche Bank's global reach to better serve its clients in Saudi Arabia?
DSSA, though operating as a segregated legal entity in compliance with Capital Market Authority (CMA) regulations, is owned 100% by Deutsche Bank. Through robust service level agreements and other arrangements with all relevant entities of Deutsche Bank Group around the globe, we are seamlessly integrated into its fabric. Therefore, our clients launching an IPO or a bond issue, for example, get the benefit of the best that Deutsche Bank has to offer globally from our product, structuring, industry and risk distribution, and management teams and systems. This is the bedrock of our business approach to Saudi clients; delivering the best advice, service, and products that the Bank can deliver anywhere in the world with no compromises. The Saudi-based team manages client interfaces and helps clients with local products and services; however, in the end, we rely on the infrastructure and the various divisions of the Bank's centers of excellence all over the world to deliver value to our Saudi-based clients.
How will the Saudi Stock Exchange's (Tadawul) further opening up to foreign investors affect DSSA?
It is an important initiative for the Kingdom's securities market and for the CMA and Tadawul. DSSA has been a key player in this market since its inception in 2008 and we continue to have a prominent position. In terms of business, the opening of the market will generate a much larger amount of flows for our brokerage business and will grow the local custody business significantly. The amount of interest among our global clients is high. There are some concerns, however, and some questions and clarifications that I hope will be resolved and addressed in a proper way in time for that launch.
How is DSSA developing local human capital in the finance sector?
It is a well-established global policy for the Bank to do two things in every country we go into. The first is to develop the markets and help the regulators, exchanges, and key market players to actually make it broader, deeper, more efficient, and liquid. The second, which is just as important, if not more so, is to ensure that we hire, train, and develop local talent and human capital. That is critical for Deutsche Bank, and it is one of the reasons why we were successful, not just in the Kingdom but also in many other countries. If you look at our platform, we are about 60% Saudis, and our senior management are all Saudi. Developing technical expertise and ensuring that the right candidates float to the very top is an extremely important consideration for Deutsche Bank.
What are your goals for the medium term?
Obviously, we have our own business objectives, which are numbers based. Maybe what is more relevant is what we aspire to be in Saudi Arabia? We have always wanted to be the leading corporate, investment, and wealth management bank in Saudi Arabia, serving our public sector, corporate, and private wealth clients with the best advice, service, and products achievable anywhere in the world. We have won accolades and awards over the years; however, I believe our aspiration is well beyond accolades.
© The Business Year - February 2015