In June 2007, FGB opened its first overseas office in Singapore which, in 2009, was upgraded to a wholesale banking unit. FGB also obtained a Category IV branch licence in the Qatar Financial Center in November 2008 which resolved in the expansion of FGB's reach into Qatar. This has since been upgraded to Category I branch in April 2011. FGB has also opened a Representative Office in India on October 2009.
International and Targeted Regional Growth
FGB's international expansion is part of its diversification strategy. New geographies, emerging economies and different products are expected to, in the long term, provide varied revenue sources.
As a reflection of our commitment to convey our Bank globally, we established a new and separate division, “International Business” (“IB”), in July 2007 to lead FGB's overseas expansion outside GCC countries.
IB's vision is to establish a geographically diversified presence, and participate in the momentum of emerging markets in Asia, Europe and Africa as well as other emerging markets where we can participate in the emerging economies with growth momentum in the banking and financial services space. To achieve this, we embrace a multi-pronged approach of build and buy initiative as the opportunity presents itself.
In 2009, FGB upgraded its existing office in Singapore to a wholesale banking unit, thereby establishing First Gulf Bank Singapore, which represents FGB's regional hub in Asia. Similarly in April 2011, FGB upgraded its branch in Qatar to a Category I branch providing wholesale banking services to its clients in Qatar and the region.
In addition to the banking outlets in Singapore and Qatar, FGB has also established a representative office in India, which will act as a channel of communication between the head office and parties in India. The role of the Indian representative office is, therefore, limited to collecting information about possible market opportunities for the head office and providing information about the bank and its products to prospective Indian customers.
The international footprint currently operates in the corporate space - a core competency of our operations within the UAE. International locations are manned by seasoned bankers from within those markets with an eye to positioning FGB as 'local' to the needs of the country/region. An established customer service framework has enabled FGB to establish an end to end solution to meet clients' needs.
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