Saudi strategy: going it alone or finding a partner?
The many new financial services licences issued by the Capital Markets Authority in Saudi Arabia have presented international businesses with a challenge: which model to use to make the best of this new opportunity?
Some, like Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan, have gone it alone. Some have partnered with very big names: Goldman Sachs has taken a stake in NCB Capital, the securities arm of National Commercial Bank, which through its Al Ahli funds range is arguably the most powerful player in domestic Saudi Arabian asset management. "We’ll work together jointly in Saudi Arabia on investment banking, marketable securities and the fund business," says Sami Abdo, managing director of investment services at NCB Capital. "It has progressed tremendously. It opens up a very wide range of products to our customers, and brings them global capability; it also helps us build our internal capability.