HSBC Bank Middle East has opened a branch in Kuwait, the first foreign bank to do so, following the relaxation of rules in 2004 in the licensing of foreign banks by the Government of Kuwait. The decision to issue a license to HSBC was approved on 28 February by Kuwait’s Council of Ministers.
The Branch was officially opened by Mr. Ali M. Thunaian Al-Ghanim – President of the Kuwiat Chamber of Commerce and Industry and David Hodgkinson, Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chairman of HSBC Bank Limited, on 2 October 2005 in the attendance presence of The British Ambassador as well as the Kuwaiti and international media and HSBC staff. A dinner for prominent local guests and staff was held to mark the occasion at the Sheraton Hotel, Crystal Ballroom later on the same day.
HSBC first opened in Kuwait, as The Imperial Bank of Iran, later renamed British Bank of the Middle East, on 28 February 1942, and left the country in 1971 following the nationalisation of all foreign bank operations.
The new branch is situated in the Qiblea district of Kuwait City, near to the Sheraton Hotel. It comprises 23 floors of the newly completed Kharafi Towers building which provides easy access to customers, plentiful available parking, and a pleasant and modern environment for staff and visitors. The branch will, when fully occupied, accommodate some 40 members of staff.
The branch will provide corporate banking and trade services, investment banking, markets and advisory services, securities custody and clearing services, payment and cash management solutions, private banking (offshore) services, and wealth management services.
“Our new business in Kuwait fits squarely within the HSBC Group Middle East investment banking and wealth management strategies, and provides us with direct access into the dynamic Kuwaiti market” said David Hodgkinson, Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chairman of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited at the opening of the new branch. “ It fills an obvious network gap for us in the Middle East, and allows us to forge new direct relationships with major institutions in Kuwait through the provision of a wide range of top quality corporate and investment banking services.”
Nick Nicolaou, Chief Executive of HSBC Kuwait, added, “Our arrival has attracted a good deal of positive attention. Quite apart from the additional business we expect to generate by being physically located in Kuwait, the additional two-way flow of business through the HSBC network is likely to be very significant. As the region’s largest international bank, and Euromoney’s Best Bank in the Middle East for the last 3 years running, we are very excited about the prospects for HSBC in Kuwait.”