Societe Generale celebrates 20 years in the Middle East

Societe Generale celebrates 20 years of being in the Middle East, serving clients as a multi-specialist international bank by providing access to the Group’s worldwide capabilities in corporate and investment banking, structured finance, Islamic finance, and investor solutions that are a natural fit with the region’s needs.

The bank became active from the region in 1997 with the creation of a representative office in Bur Dubai, which led to the opening of a fully-fledged branch in 2007 in the Dubai International Finance Centre. Its geographical footprint has expanded since then, with offices being opened in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, and participation in transactions across the GCC and North Africa.

Client franchises have grown, as the bank deepens its roots in the local economies to serve the full spectrum of customers, including governments and government-related entities, private sector corporates, private equity funds, conventional and Islamic banks, and family offices. New teams on the ground have boosted capacity, with an extended fixed income and credit derivatives sales platform; a structured finance platform, with specialists in project finance, export finance, asset finance and debt capital markets; and a trade finance footprint that has been expanded to serve both our corporate and bank clients. 

Richad Soundardjee, Chief Executive Officer, Middle East, said: “This region is a land of opportunity for banks who have the expertise and the appetite to become entrenched. It takes time to connect, to build client portfolios, and we have done that over the past 20 years, and especially since 2014 with the implementation of a five-year strategy to cement our position here, and we now have strong client relationships through a stable set-up, intimacy with the region, and agility in execution. As regional countries undergo an economic transformation and begin to make long-term structural changes, there is more than ever a natural fit between Societe Generale’s areas of expertise and the region’s needs.” 

The bank is growing roots in the region beyond its business relationships, truly entrenching itself in the fabric of the local economies and societies. Earlier this year it partnered with French Public Investment Bank BPI France to bring technology-focused SMEs from France to the region to meet prospective partners in the public and private sector to advance the GCC’s commitment to the digital economy and innovation in urban development i.e. Smart Cities. This year also marked the launch of The Circle initiative, a financial literacy programme for businesswomen. 

Looking ahead, the bank is ready to mobilise the strong franchise it has established and deepen and grow the expertise it provides to the region. Areas of focus include sovereigns, with a team on the ground dedicated to this fast-growing segment; the establishment of a specific coverage team to serve family offices; and expanding the Islamic Finance footprint. As a global bank, clients also gain access to its very strong footprint in other geographies, in particular Africa, Russia, and western and eastern Europe. 

As a bank committed to this region over the past 20 years and willing to commit for the long term in the future, Societe Generale is looking forward to continue to deploy both financial and intellectual capital to serve its current and future clients in the Middle East.