RBS to close Dubai offshore office after review

RBS International will close in August, just over a year since it opened in the emirate.
RBS to close Dubai offshore office after review
OFFSHORE ACCOUNT: RBS International will close its Dubai office in August. (Getty Images)
By Elsa Baxter
Tue 14 Jul 2009 04:16 PM

Royal Bank of Scotland has been forced to close its Dubai offshore office just over a year since it opened following a “strategic review of its business,” it can be revealed.

RBS International will close its offshore banking office in August, a spokesman for the group confirmed on Tuesday.

According to a statement given to Arabian Business, the closure follows a company-wide review of the group.

A lack of new expat customers has also been cited as a reason for the closure.

“In recent months RBS International, the offshore banking arm of RBS Group, has been under going a strategic review of its business,” the statement said.

“As a result of that review we will be focusing on our core jurisdiction of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar. It is regrettable that our small office in Dubai will be closing.

“The RBS Group continues to have a strong presence in the Middle East through its global banking markets, the RBS Business Coutts teams in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.”

The RBS International office opened in Dubai in April 2008. It employs seven members of staff and has about 400 customers.

“We are trying to find all of them alternative roles at the moment,” said a spokesman for RBS Group’s wealth management division.

“From a customer perspective, there should be little change as they will still continue to have their accounts, but they will be based in Jersey rather than Dubai,” he said.

The spokesman said the decision to close the offshore office was due to a limited number of new expat customers.

“The office was really there to serve the expat community in Dubai and I think that the growth of that community probably in the short-term was limited. I’ve no doubt that will pick up sometime in the future,” he said.

Rising school fees and job losses in the UAE have fuelled speculation that thousands of mainly western expatriates would leave the country this summer.

In May, removal companies based in the emirate told Arabian Business they were overwhelmed with bookings for outgoing expats for June. They also said the number of people relocating to the UAE had fallen dramatically.

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