Saxo Bank focuses on wealthy Middle East clients

03 November 2013

Region is home to many influent investment banking clients

The Middle East is becoming a more important market for Danish investment bank Saxo Bank as wealthy clients that move markets become increasingly important.

“There is a clear movement, we are going to bigger clients, investors that move markets; VVIPS [very important persons] and ultra-high net worth individuals,” says Lars Seier Christensen, chief executive officer and founder, Saxo Bank.

The Middle East is home to a large number of wealthy individuals that are becoming increasingly important for investment houses such as Saxo Bank, which has an office at DIFC. “In 2009, when we opened our office in Dubai, 4-5 per cent of our global income was from the Middle East, now it is 8-9 per cent,” says Christensen. “Global revenues have grown over that period too, so the growth has been significant.”

The Middle East is one of the few global markets that offers real growth potential as populations and economies grow. “In general we believe more in markets where there is more demographic movement than Western Europe,” says Christensen. “We have a deliberate strategy and we have opened offices in Brazil, South Africa, Moscow and India.”

Saxo Bank’s business in the Middle East has traditionally been dominated by foreign exchange (FX) trading. That has changed in recent years as the bank seeks to diversify its business and offer other financial products, as global FX trading has stagnated. “We want to widen our focus,” says Christensen. “This is working well. We have reduced our dependency on FX and we have become more diverse. Today 65 per cent of our business comes from FX. That compares with 80-90 per cent a few years back.”

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