Russia's Sberbank to target Middle East investors with UAE subsidiary

The state-owned bank said Sberinvest Middle East would engage in trade finance of Russian exports to the Middle East

  
A man walks past a Sberbank branch in Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula. Image used for illustrative purposes.

A man walks past a Sberbank branch in Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula. Image used for illustrative purposes.

Getty Images

MOSCOW- Russia's largest lender Sberbank SBER.MM has received approval in principle to open an office in the United Arab Emirates to facilitate investment between Russian and Middle Eastern investors, the bank said on Monday.

The state-owned bank said Sberinvest Middle East would engage in trade finance of Russian exports to the Middle East and that the company's launch would create a link between Russian businesses and investors from the region.

Sberbank, which already has three million customers in 17 countries outside Russia, expects to obtain final authorisation from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority to open an office in Abu Dhabi by the end of the year.

"Last week we obtained an in-principle approval from the local regulator to open Sberinvest Middle East Limited, which followed an approval from the Russian watchdog," Oleg Ganeev, chairman of Sberinvest Middle East's board, said in a statement.

The planned subsidiary will have a fully licensed Islamic window, which will allow it to operate in accordance with sharia investment principles, the company added.

"We also have big plans to export Russian food products to the Gulf states and to develop traditional Islamic finance products through the expertise of the Sberinvest Middle East team," Ganeev said.

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise) ((alexander.marrow@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242;))