Goldman Sachs has applied to Saudi Arabia’s capital markets regulator for a license to trade equities in the kingdom, two sources familiar with the move said, in the latest step by Western banks to expand operations in the country, Reuters reports.
The bank has been operating in Saudi Arabia since 2009 as an agent and underwriter, but in 2014, the Saudi Capital Market Authority approved a change in the bank’s profile and it has been authorized to arrange, advise and manage investment funds and portfolios, according to its website. The move “indicates growing interest among investment banks and fund managers to expand in Saudi Arabia after the kingdom unveiled plans for oil firm Aramco’s $100 billion initial public offering and introduced a string of reforms since 2015 to attract foreign capital,” according to Reuters.
Goldman Sachs was reportedly in talks to file for an equities trading license in March, but until today, no formal application filed.
Earlier this week, Saudi British Bank (SABB), which is 40 percent owned by HSBC Holdings, appointed Goldman Sachs to advise it on a proposed merger with fellow Saudi Arabian lender Alawwal Bank, sources familiar with the matter said.