Citi has signed a depository participant agreement with the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) to provide custody of DFM-listed securities to institutional and international clients. The tie-up will also help to expand the exchangeÆs institutional investor base.

By acting as a depository participant, banks offer custodial services in the market for DFM-listed securities. These services include account management, protection of client assets, settlement of securities activity, handling post-trade issues, the collection and payment of dividends and interest, and the processing of corporate action activities in the market.

ôDepository participant services are an essential element in the process of securities investment, and we are keen to constantly keep abreast of the different segments of investorÆs needs,ö says Essa Kazim, chairman of DFM.

ôDFM seeks to provide more options for investors via a set of the best local and global banking institutions, and will work continuously to strengthen these services through cooperation with more such prestigious banks.ö

The Middle East region, however, has not been immune to the global credit crunch having seen steep declines in its stock markets in recent weeks and subsequent liquidity injections into its banking sector. Dubai officials maintain the region is prepared to call on domestic sources to finance economic growth.

The Dubai Financial Market is a domestic stock exchange which operates as a secondary market for trading of securities issued by public shareholding companies, bonds issued by the federal government or local governments and public institutions in the country and units of investment funds.

"The Dubai Financial Market has grown into a major bourse in the region during the past few years, in line with Dubai's steady evolution into the region's pre-eminent financial market. Providing direct custody and clearing services to the investors at DFM is an integral part of Citi's ambitious regional expansion plan,ö adds Mohammed Al-Shroogi, managing director for the Middle East and chief executive officer for Citi in the UAE.

Citi's global transaction services supports more than 65,000 clients across its global network. As of the third quarter of 2008, it held on average $273 billion in liability balances under administration, and almost $11.9 trillion in assets under custody and trust.