French investment giant Natixis opens in Saudi Arabia

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French multinational financial service giant Natixis announced it would open a corporate and investment banking office in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Natixis is one of the world’s largest asset managers, with nearly $1 billion in assets under management, according to the firm’s website. The company said it had appointed Reem al-Asmari, a former adviser at the Natixis Dubai Branch, as the CEO of the new Natixis Saudi Arabia Investment Company.

“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. This is very much the case for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, notably in the context of Vision 2030, and we are delighted to have established a local presence in order to better serve our clients at this pivotal time for the Kingdom,” Natixis’ corporate head for the Middle East Simon Eedle said in a statement.

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Natixis said in its statement that it aims to expand its clientele to include family offices through the establishment of the office in the Kingdom, and deepen its existing relationships with various corporates, sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions.

Asset managers in Saudi Arabia

The company joins US investment heavyweight BlackRock, which opened an office in the Kingdom in September last year.

BlackRock said earlier this month that Saudi Arabia represents an attractive, resilient investment while the global economy scrambles in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi Arabia “represents a very attractive investment. BlackRock is currently overweight Saudi debt relative to our other emerging markets,” Terrence Keeley, global head official institutions group at BlackRock said in a webinar on May 19.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Kingdom has moved to shelter its economy from the severe global economic downturn caused by the virus.

In total, Saudi Arabia has planned more than 120 billion riyals ($32 billion) in economic stimulus, equal to around 4 percent of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product, to combat the coronavirus.

While these steps may have served to blunt the edge of the coronavirus recession, the Kingdom’s Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan warned earlier this month that more “painful” steps for the economy are ahead.

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