In mid-June, Merrill Lynch obtained a license to offer investment banking products, equity and debt capital market services and wealth management in Saudi Arabia. In terms of growth, the only market that I see as holding more potential is China, says Jeffrey Culpepper, head of Merrills global markets and investment banking division in the Middle East and North Africa.
Merrill joins competitors including Bear Stearns, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley in seeking to pro½t from the kingdoms economic reforms, development of nonoil sectors and expected boost in foreign investment. But the shortage of talent in Saudi Arabia may prove challenging. There is a lot of competition, and it will take time for young Saudis to be trained in investment banking, says Culpepper.