File - A Barclays bank branch is seen in London August 30, 2012. (REUTERS/Neil Hall)
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"International banks have found this market more challenging to find their edge and differentiate themselves enough to build a viable business," Boutros Klink, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Capital Saudi Arabia, said in an Aug. 14 interview in Dubai. The bank is focusing its business on the kingdom's debt markets, he said.Some international banks have started shrinking in Saudi Arabia even as the kingdom plans to open its $577 billion stock exchange to direct international investment. Saudi Arabia's 12 domestic lenders benefit from being able to offer a full range of banking services, while most foreign banks are licensed to conduct limited activities by the kingdom's Capital Market Authority.Nine of the top 10 brokerages on the Saudi Stock Exchange this year are the units of local banks, and six of the top 10 bond underwriters are local, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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