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Saudi Arabia’s regional HQs program gains momentum as more firms set up bases

Franklin Templeton and the IMF launch their regional headquarters in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia’s regional HQs program gains momentum as more firms set up bases
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

Saudi Arabia’s strategy to attract global companies through its regional headquarters program is gaining traction. 

Launched this year, the program incentivizes companies operating in the kingdom, offering benefits like a 30-year zero percent corporate and withholding tax rate for RHQ activities and a 10-year exemption from Saudization requirements, which mandate a certain percentage of employees to be Saudi nationals.

This week saw a major win for the program with the arrival of global investment giant Franklin Templeton. The company, boasting $1.6 trillion in assets under management, announced the launch of its Riyadh operations after receiving licenses from the Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA). These licenses allow Franklin Templeton to offer “Managing Investments and Operating Funds” and “Advising” services.

“The Middle East is a key region for Franklin Templeton,” said CEO Jenny Johnson. “We are delighted that Saudi Arabian investors now have local access to the firm’s global strength through its robust global platform and public and private market offerings.”

Muneera Al-Dossary, CEO of Franklin Templeton Saudi Arabia, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the kingdom’s rapid economic transformation and its commitment to contributing through innovative investment solutions and local talent training.

The RHQ program’s success extends beyond Franklin Templeton. The Saudi Cabinet recently approved an initial agreement for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to establish a regional headquarters in Riyadh.  

According to the Saudi Press Agency, this move is expected to enhance coordination on economic policies and contribute to regional stability and growth.

With these high-profile additions, Saudi Arabia’s RHQ program could pave the way for the kingdom to become a regional hub for business and finance.

The Innovation By Design Summit is in Doha on April 24. Attendance at the summit is by invitation only. Delegates can register here to receive their exclusive invite.

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