HSBC to move Middle East head office from Jersey to Dubai

HSBC’s Middle East unit will transfer its place of incorporation and head office to the Dubai International Financial Centre from Jersey, the bank said.

The lender’s presence in the UAE dates back to 1946, when it was called the British Bank of Iran and the Middle East, but its head office has been in Jersey since 1994.

There will be no impact on day-to-day onshore banking activities for its customers in the UAE, a bank spokesman confirmed.

“This relocation will have no impact on any of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited’s local regulatory relationships in the Mena region, nor on its business in the countries in which it operates,” a statement from the bank said.

The move, expected to be completed next year, will involve relocating about 100 staff to the DIFC, where HSBC’s private bank already operates. The unit will then be “lead-regulated” by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Mohammad Al Tuwaijri, deputy chairman and chief executive of HSBC Mena, said that management has been considering this move for some time.

“Aligning our business and regulatory oversight geographically makes strong strategic sense,” he said.

Essa Kazim, the governor of the DIFC, welcomed HSBC’s decision and said that it is “a testament to the UAE’s role as a location for businesses to thrive”.

The number of active companies registered at the DIFC increased to 1,327 in the first half of this year and the number of people employed within the free zone stood at more than 18,500.

By 2024, DIFC aims to roughly triple in size, looking to lure 1,000 of the world’s top financial firms to Dubai, with a members’ combined balance sheet of $400 billion and a total workforce of 50,000.

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