HSBC Securities Services (HSS) hopes to expand on its agency clearing product whereby it provides back-office support to broker-dealers for clearing trades in the Middle East, says Arindam Das, the new head for the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Last month, the UK bank started offering this product pursuant to opportunities arising from an outsourcing deal involving Nasdaq Dubai and the Dubai Financial Market.

Das, who started his new role on August 1 and remains in Dubai, will be keeping a watchful eye on forthcoming regulations. There are moves in the pipeline to allow market participants to offer new products like stock lending and derivatives for the first time in the Gulf, he says. He is responsible for making sure HSBC is ready to provide the support services for such products.

Previously regional head of custody and deputy head of HSS for MEA, Das succeeds Jayant Rikhye, who is now head of strategic planning at Saudi British Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
 
Das will be in charge of securities services in 11 local markets – Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritius, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
 
He will report to Cian Burke and Drew Douglas, co-heads of HSS. Each of the local Middle Eastern country heads will report to Das. In addition, he will be responsible for Glyn Gibbs, Dubai-based head of business development for MEA, and Irfan Hasham, who coordinates the sub-custody network across the Middle East from Dubai.

HSBC is one of the dominant custody and sub-custody providers in the Middle East, having been present in this space from the mid-1990s. Its business stems from foreign institutions investing in the region, as well as local institutions investing in the Middle East and overseas.

So what about the recent BlackBerry-messaging ban in the UAE -- will it have an impact on business? No, says Das, who feels there are more pressing concerns.

“Our challenge in the Middle East in general is the relatively slow recovery in our local markets from the time the global financial crisis started,” he comments. “Whereas many emerging markets have rebounded strongly after the financial crisis, ours have been slower. We hope they do sooner rather than later.”

Das has worked for HSBC for 14 years, including six in Dubai. In addition to custody, HSS includes the fund services and corporate trust and loan agency lines of business.

HSBC told AsianInvestor last month that it ultimately aims to offer a global 'one-stop shop' for all securities services, incorporating custody, fund administration, stock lending and prime broking. This will involve consolidation and centralisation -- for example, of the bank's core global custody platform -- and streamlining of technology and processes, which began two years ago and will continue for the next two.