Dubai: First Abu Dhabi (FAB) said on Tuesday it has secured a license from the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA) to establish a commercial banking business in the Kingdom.

The license from Saudi Arabia’s central bank follows the recent approval FAB received from the country’s Capital Market Authority to establish an investment banking subsidiary, FAB Investment KSA.

The latest license allows FAB to operate up to three branches across Saudi Arabia, the bank said in a statement.

Abdul Hamid Saeed, group chief executive officer of FAB, said the licenses will allow the bank to tap into the Gulf’s largest economy and build on the strong potential of the Saudi market.

The push to enter Saudi Arabia comes amid expectations that Saudi Arabia’s main bourse will be upgraded to emerging market status from frontier market by global index compiler MSCI in the next few months. The upgrade is expected to drive strong liquidity in the Kingdom’s financial markets, attracting more foreign investors including institutional ones.

FAB earlier said it will be stepping up its presence in Saudi Arabia, and sees 2018 as the year in which it will establish physical presence in the Kingdom.