Standard Bank Plc establishes its first full overseas branch in the Dubai International Financial Centre

South Africa's leading financial institution, Standard Bank Plc, the international investment banking subsidiary of the Standard Bank Group, has been granted license by Dubai's Financial Services Authority to operate as an authorized firm within the DIFC. This will be the first full overseas branch of the Standard Bank Plc. Standard Bank believes that this development will both re-enforce its existing franchise in the Middle East, which began with the setting up of a Representative Office in April 1997, as well as provide the base to further tap into the growing business opportunities in a region that is currently experiencing the highest growth rates since the 1980s.

Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Director General of DIFC Authority, welcoming Standard Bank, commented:

“It is our pleasure to welcome Standard Bank to the DIFC as our partner in growth. The Middle East is one of the key areas of growth in the coming years. With a combined GDP of US $ 1.8 trillion covering nearly 2 billion people, the region offers vast potential. The DIFC is the ideal platform for international banks to access this burgeoning market. “

Standard Bank hopes to consolidate its pre-eminent position in the regional gold markets, built on its recent success in the field of Islamic Finance. This was highlighted by the ground-breaking $200 million Gold Sukuk DMCC launched in May 2005, and Standard Banks aims to grow its business in global markets, trade finance, private banking and asset management.

Standard Bank Dubai's GM, Jeffrey Rhodes says, “The decision by the DFSA to grant us a banking license concludes a personal journey for me that started in February 1997 when I was sent to Dubai with a briefcase. It has now resulted in Standard Bank Plc choosing Dubai and DIFC to locate its first full overseas branch. I firmly believe that the bank will build on the platform for growth that has now been created.”

Martin Botha, Standard Bank Plc's Managing Director responsible for the region added, “This development confirms Standard Bank's commitment to the Middle East and is part of the Group's ambitious expansion plans for its international wholesale operations. Our vision is to grow the Dubai branch significantly over the next three years in order to take advantage of the growing economic and political importance of this region in a global context.”

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