Citigroup, through its Global Transaction Services business, today signed a Depository Agreement with the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE) at BSE's new offices at the Financial Harbour.
The agreement will enable the bank to provide custody of BSE-listed securities to local, regional and international institutional investors starting September 2010, thus helping broaden the exchange's investor base
The agreement was signed by Mr. Fouad Rashid, Director of BSE and Mr. Mayank Malik, Citi's Country Officer in Bahrain. The Signing of the Depository Agreement with Citi comes along with BSE's move to its new state-of-the-art headquarters at the Bahrain Financial Harbor.
The BSE agreement takes Citi's proprietary network, the largest in the world, to 58 markets globally, of which 32 markets are in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Following the signing, Mr. Fouad Rashid said: "We are continuously seeking to cooperate with leading local and international institutions to provide more financial services and alternative advanced investments to investors at BSE. We welcome the joining of Citigroup to the companies and institutions cooperating with BSE, and we hope that the signing of this agreement will encourage and attract more foreign investment to the Kingdom of Bahrain and therefore enhance the shareholders' base at BSE."
Mr. Rashid added: "The financial services that compliment the trading procedures in capital markets have witnessed a significant development, emphasizing its importance in the investment of securities to meet the evolving and expanding needs of investors. We will continue to cooperate with leading financial institutions to provide custodian services and other related services in order to provide more investment options for investors.
Mr. Lee Waite, Global Head of Direct Custody and Clearing, said: "The Bahrain Stock Exchange is a world class bourse and one of the most experienced in the region. Providing Direct Custody and Clearing (DCC) services to the investors at BSE is an integral part of Citi's regional expansion plan to embed its Securities and Funds Services business in the region. ReachReaching 58 markets is a milestone for our business and shows Citi's unrivalled ability to respond to and support our clients who will benefit from local expertise combined with globally consistent services. The Kingdom of Bahrain continues to be a dynamic and exciting economy and one that we remain fully committed to".
This move follows the 2008 announcement by Citi that its Securities and Fund Services division was extending its fund servicing domiciles with the addition of Bahrain Regulated Funds to its current service offering. The addition of Bahrain brought the number of Funds markets serviced by Citi to 20. Citi's fund service capability through Bahrain was its first in the Middle East. "The Middle East is an exceptional market place - one demanding local solutions with global service standards. Our plan is to build out our full Securities and Fund Services product set within the region to service Intermediary, Investor and Issuer clients both locally and internationally," said Mr. Waite.
Citi has been in the Middle East for nearly 50 years and views the region as critical to its global franchise. It currently offers full scale corporate banking services across ten Arab countries including Egypt, UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait as well as Pakistan.
By acting as a depository participant, Citi will offer custodial services in the market for BSE-listed securities. These services include, but are not limited to: account management, the protection of client assets, settlement of securities activity, handling post-trade issues, the collection and payment of dividends and interest, and the processing of corporate action activities in the market.