Citi launches global technology hub in Bahrain

Web DeskWeb Editor

28th Sep, 2021. 11:01 am

DUBAI: Citi has launched a global technology hub at its Bahrain offices to develop its digital platforms and strengthen its position in the financial markets, Khaleej Times reported.

The first-of-its-kind initiative in the region is launched in cooperation with a government-funded labour fund Tamkeen and the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

“Under the plan, Citi will hire at least 100 people in coding-related roles each year over the next 10 years. The new hires will initially work on two of the bank’s main platforms, Citi Velocity and Citi FX Policy,” said Ala’a Saeed, Citi FX’s global head of electronic platforms and distribution.

Digital solutions

Technology hubs support many of Citi’s global businesses and clients and accelerate the development of digital solutions. Citi selected Bahrain as the location of its new technology hub for several reasons, including availability of skilled workforce, transparent regulations and government support.

“Selecting our two flagship systems to develop out of here in Bahrain is a huge endorsement of the talent and the calibre of people that we’ve found here,” Saeed said.

He said Citi’s industry-leading global foreign exchange business will be the first to recruit technologists at the technology hub.

“Our initial focus in Bahrain will be on engineering for Citi’s flagship proprietary platforms, working to enhance execution and connectivity capabilities across FX trading and analytics systems.

“Over time, the technology hub in Bahrain will scale to support Citi Markets and Citi’s Institutional Client Group more broadly, extending the scope of capabilities developed locally even further,” he said.

Tamkeen plays key role

Tamkeen aims as part of its efforts to create new job opportunities and upskill individuals in order to boost their competitiveness and employability in the private sector.

“Tamkeen will subsidise a portion of the salaries and cover training costs locally and abroad,” Tamkeen chief executive Hussain Mohammed Rajab, said without disclosing figures.

Rajab highlighted the importance of such programmes for potential investors to realise the depth of quality talent available in Bahrain.

“Bahrain has a proven track record that reflects the readiness and global competitiveness of its local workforce, enhancing the Kingdom’s position in attracting direct investment across all priority sectors,” he said.

Bahrain EDB’s chief executive Khalid Humaidan said Bahrain has been renowned for its solid foundations in the Financial Services sector for decades.

“The programme that we have agreed with Citi is a perfect example of the strides we are taking to evolve our economy and remain at the forefront of digital transformation,” he said.

Financial technology hub

Bahrain has sought to market itself as a financial technology hub for the Middle East and North Africa in a bid to revive its reputation as a regional banking and business centre.

Citi Bahrain’s chief executive Michel Sawaya said the pace of automation and digitalisation accelerated rapidly in the past two years across the financial industry.

“Our new technology hub in Bahrain will allow us to rapidly scale to meet increasing global client demand for electronic solutions. I am certain that the hub will succeed in creating technology that will benefit our clients globally,” he said.

Citi head for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) Elissar Farah Antonios, said the new technology hub brings us a step closer to providing a better client experience in a world that is highly digitised and contributing significantly to our clients’ success.

“It also highlights our commitment to the Kingdom of Bahrain as a strategic hub for innovation,” he said.

Citi has been present in the Mena region for more than 50 years. Its institutional capabilities in the region include corporate and investment banking, capital markets, equity research and Islamic banking, among others. Its consumer banking services in Mena cover the UAE and Bahrain, while it maintains close relationships with affluent and high-net-worth clients in the region through Citi Global Wealth.

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