Cambodia's central bank picks Citi for offshore custody

CitiÆs first mandate in Cambodia comes as the National Bank of Cambodia looks to diversify its investments offshore.

The National Bank of Cambodia has selected Citi to provide global custodian services for its offshore investments.

Under the mandate, Citi will safe keep the Cambodian central bank's assets in addition to providing outsourcing, performance measurement, compliance monitoring, investment administration and accounting services. The central bank is Citi's first client in the kingdom, complementing its existing presence in other Southeast Asian countries.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Cambodia had gross official foreign reserves of $2.5 million at the end of 2007.

"We are extremely confident that the global custody services provided by Citi will be of major benefit to the National Bank of Cambodia as we look to expand and diversify our investments offshore," says central bank governor Chea Chanto. "Citi's quality of services and experience regionally and globally will be key to our future plans."

Global custody involves the safeguarding of investor assets in multiple countries around the world. Typical value-added services include arranging settlement for client trades as well as investment intelligence and risk analytics.

In spite of the economic crisis, Citi continues to expand its provision of custody and clearing services. The expansion included last December's addition of Bangladesh and January's expansion into the United Arab Emirates. 

In 2007, Cambodia's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 10.2%. The country's tourism and garment exports receipts -- which made up 13.1% and 12.1% of GDP in 2007, respectively -- are the country's largest economic engines after agriculture and are vulnerable to the global economic downturn.

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