Saudi Arabia has reportedly hired HSBC Holdings banker Fahad Al Saif to start a debt management office responsible for the kingdom’s first international bond sale.
Sources told Bloomberg that Al Saif recently joined the Ministry of Finance on an open-ended secondment from Saudi British Bank, in which HSBC owns a 40 per cent stake, where he was general manager of global banking and markets.
He is also a board member of HSBC Saudi Arabia Ltd.
The move would make Al Saif the second HSBC banker to be appointed to a government role in recent months.
The bank’s chief executive for the Middle East Mohammad Al Tuwaijri was appointed deputy economy and planning minister in May as part of a shakeup of the kingdom’s economy announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Earlier this month, the kingdom sent invitations to banks to arrange a bond sale, sources told Bloomberg. Minister of state Mohammad bin Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh indicated last month the country could issue a bond sale as early as September.
SABB and HSBC confirmed Al Saif’s secondment to the Ministry of Finance, saying he remained an HSBC Saudi Arabia employee but was “relinquished” of all management and board responsibilities to avoid conflicts of interest.
Saudi Arabia’s planned tapping of the international bond market follows several high profile sales from Gulf governments this year. Last week, Qatar sold $9bn in Eurobonds in the Middle East’s largest ever bond sale.
Union Investment Privatfonds GmbH senior money manager Sergey Dergachev told Bloomberg that Saudi Arabia would “have to offer a very generous premium” for its planned bond issue, following Qatar’s sale.