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Is the Middle East coming back?

On we have repeatedly reported about the recruitment developments in the finance and banking sectors. While the forecasts seemed promising in early 2011 by the fourth quarter things had slowed down so much that some HR experts even started to advise to flee. Although the sector is still experiencing serious challenges internationally (and the Middle East is no exception), new opportunities also rise for talented and proactive finance and banking specialists.

Jun 14, 2012

One such hot spot is the Gulf region and Saudi Arabia in particular, where large local banks are recruiting wealth and cash managers, commercial bankers, and compliance and corporate banking relationship managers, while interest in capital market specialists is predicted to soon rise.

Several international banks are looking in that direction for expansion. Japanese Nomura and France-UK BNP Paribas are already on the search for talent. Recently, Barclay’s Wealth management division has also turned its head East hiring investment bankers there. Insiders predict that within less then a decade their presence in Saudi Arabia would increase substantially. Standard Chartered also opened offices in the Kingdom and is now looking for professionals to compete with the Saudi British Bank (where HSBC is also a shareholder) in dept offerings. Other important players, like VTB Capital, have also relocated personnel to focus on the Saudi stock market instead of others in the area.

However, it is not all perfect either. Saudi authorities are already known for being reluctant to let expat communities enter their borders and their banking systems. They have been working hard to introduce legislative changes which will make it rather problematic for new branches to open and recruit foreigners – recently, banks were obliged to meet an 86% localization ration (up 16% from what used to be mandatory). This, according to consultants, might lead to a significant slow down in the plans of any international player to enter the oil kingdom.


The Team


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