DUBAI - Northern Trust Corp has joined a growing number of financial institutions looking to bolster their presence in Saudi Arabia, saying on Friday it had picked the oil-rich kingdom as its headquarters in the Middle East.

The move by one of the world's biggest custodian banks comes after Riyadh, in an effort to become the Middle East's financial hub, brought in measures requiring foreign firms to set up regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia or risk losing business.

"The establishment of our MENA (Middle East and North Africa) regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia reflects continued investment in infrastructure, capabilities and expertise in the region," a Northern Trust spokesperson said.

The company, which safeguards more than $14 trillion in client assets globally and manages more than $1 trillion in investments, has existing offices in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and has been active in the region for decades.

A senior official at the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia's $700 billion plus sovereign wealth fund, said in October that it would soon be a pre-requisite for asset managers to have people on the ground if they want to manage PIF funds.

Some companies have raised concerns over the regulatory framework, including taxation, and there is speculation the government could extend its deadline to soothe investor doubts.

The kingdom has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into Vision 2030, a vast strategy to wean its economy off hydrocarbons, spearheaded by the PIF.

Lazard said in January it plans to make its presence in the kingdom its regional Middle East and North Africa investment banking hub.

(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh in Dubai and Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro in London; Editing by Alexander Smith)