Veteran banker appointed head of Saudi's Debt Management Office

Veteran banker appointed head of Saudi's Debt Management Office
Published: 13 June 2017 - 5 a.m.
By: Reuters

The veteran banker who helped Saudi Arabia sell the world's largest emerging market bond issue last year has been appointed head of the kingdom's Debt Management Office (DMO), the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

Fahad al-Saif, who has held senior positions at Saudi British Bank and HSBC Saudi Arabia, was originally seconded to supervise the DMO last year as the body was established to help finance a large state budget caused by low oil prices.

He oversaw Saudi Arabia's record $17.5 billion debut bond issue last October but then returned to the private sector, becoming deputy managing director at Saudi British Bank.

The ministry said on Monday that as permanent head of the DMO, Saif would now build the office's capacity and skills in order to strengthen its position in international debt markets.

During Saif's absence, the DMO was run on an acting basis by a senior central bank official, Ayman al-Sayari. In April, it raised $9 billion with Saudi Arabia's first international issue of sukuk.

Saudi officials said last year that they planned to borrow a total of $10 billion to $15 billion internationally in 2017, but Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan told Reuters in April that those figures might be exceeded, depending on market conditions.

In principle, Riyadh aims to cover its state budget deficit - officially estimated at 198 billion riyals ($52.8 billion) this year - with foreign or domestic bond issues rather than by drawing down its financial reserves, he said.

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