Lloyd’s broker RFIB has been granted a licence to broke insurance and reinsurance business in Saudi Arabia.

Following the receipt of the licence RFIB, has now established a full office in Riyadh headed by Anthony Harris, who has been working for RFIB in the Middle East since February 2006. It has also appointed Naji Tamimi, a Saudi national, as the new operation’s deputy general manager. He was previously key accounts manager at local firm Malath Cooperative Insurance & Reinsurance Company.

RFIB’s new Saudi office will initially handle reinsurance business, but intends to explore opportunities in specialist retail insurance business after its first year of operation.

The new unit currently has four staff, but is planning to grow this. It eventually intends to have 50% of its staff made up of Saudi nationals.

RFIB has been handling risks from the Saudi market for almost 30 years, but last year the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority decided to enforce its existing rules more strictly, requiring foreign brokers operating in the country to require a licence.

SAMA required RFIB to find a Saudi Arabian partner to set up its Riyadh operation. The company has partnered with local businessman Bassam Al-Dhabaan, who owns 40% of the unit.

“Our new insurance and reinsurance broking licence is the final stage in our establishing a domestic presence in this important and growing market and we would like to thank SAMA for their help in working with us to achieve this licence,” Harris said in a statement.