RIYADH: Citigroup is considering seeking a full banking licence in Saudi Arabia, the president and chief executive of the bank’s institutional clients group said on Wednesday. “We’re looking at whether or not we should expand our activities here into a full banking licence,” James Forese said at a business conference in Riyadh. The US bank won formal approval in January from the kingdom’s Capital Market Authority regulator to begin investment banking business. More than a dozen foreign banks have licences to operate branches in Saudi Arabia, battling for business resulting from ambitious reforms to wean the economy of the world’s top oil exporter off crude oil. Citigroup left Saudi Arabia in 2004 after operating for five decades when it sold its 20 per cent stake in Samba Financial Group. But in 2015 it won permission from the regulator to invest directly in the local stock market, marking the first step in its return.
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