StanChart launches Iraq operations
Dubai, November 27, 2013
Standard Chartered has announced the launch of its wholesale banking operations in Iraq with the opening of its head office and first branch in the capital Baghdad.
The new head office was inaugurated by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki in the presence of Dr Abdel Basit Turki Saeed, the governor of Central Bank of Iraq and Dr Sami Al Araji, the chairman of National Investment Comission.
Standard Chartered will be opening two more branches in the country; in Erbil next month and in Basra during the first half of 2014, said its top offiicial.
“Our entry into Iraq comes in line with our continuous efforts to organically expand our on-the-ground presence in the Middle East, which is a key strategic region for Standard Chartered. It also reinforces our brand promise, “Here for good” as we expect to play a key role in the development of the Iraqi financial sector and the economic development of the country," remarked Christos Papadopoulos, the Standard Chartered Bank regional CEO for Mena and Pakistan.
"As a client-centric bank, expanding our presence in Iraq will cater to the increasing banking needs of our international clients operating in the country," he added.
The move makes Standard Chartered the first international bank to have full-fledged on-the-ground wholesale banking operations in Iraq.
The Bank also announced the appointment of Gavin Wishart as the CEO for Standard Chartered Iraq. Gavin will be based in Baghdad and will report to Papadopoulos.
Standard Chartered said it expects to play a key role in the development of Iraq’s financial sector and be an active participant in the economic growth of the country.
Its main aim is to meet the increasing banking needs of its global network clients in Iraq, notably in the power, oil, telecoms and infrastructure sectors and to support large government projects.
The ceremony was also attended by British Ambassador in Iraq Simon Collis, Deputy Head of the British Mission in Iraq Mark Bryson-Richardson, Head of UK Trade and Investment in Iraq Chris Maskell, Deputy Head UK Trade & Investment in Iraq Catherine Pye and First Secretary Economics Mehdi Taher.
Top Standard Chartered officials including Alex Manson, the group head of Wholesale Banking Geographies, Tarek Anwar, company head of Wholesale Banking for Mena and Pakistan and a host of senior representatives were present at the ceremony.
Commenting on the Iraq foray, Simon Collis said: "I am delighted to see Standard Chartered, one of Britain’s leading financial institutions, open their offices in Iraq. Finance plays a vital role in economic development. The UK is dedicated to promoting a vibrant, open, transparent and diversified financial sector in Iraq."
"For Iraq to realise its full potential and take its rightful place in the global economy it needs to attract massive investments. The financial sector is key to this," he stated.
Standard Chartered has been present in Iraq since 2006 through a representative office in Erbil. On September 4 this year, the Central Bank of Iraq announced that Standard Chartered has received approval to open branches in Iraq.
On his new role, Gavin Wishart said: “We are optimistic about the prospects of the Iraqi economy. As an international bank, we believe there is substantial opportunity to play a leading role in the economic development of the country. In addition to servicing our existing clients, the Iraqi government is planning large scale infrastructure projects and these will require international financing solutions."
"Standard Chartered Bank is ideally positioned to provide the necessary leadership, support, skills and access to international markets to enable these initiatives to be undertaken and to develop the local financial sector," said the new Iraq head.
Before becoming CEO of Iraq, Gavin Wishart, was the chief of Banks for Mena at Standard Chartered. He has extensive experience across the bank’s network in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.-TradeArabia News Service