London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Gulf Merchant Group LLP, a UK-based international investment house, have announced its intention to enter the Saudi market within the next 6 months after obtaining a license to operate in the kingdom.
CEO Mr. Nabil Maaloul told Asharq al Awsat that the volume of privately held fortunes in the gulf region is estimated at above SR3 trillions, half of which in Saudi Arabia, that the estimated annual growth rate of those fortunes is 8%, and that the share of women’s fortunes in the gulf is 40% of the total volume of fortunes, pointing out that the rich in the Middle East own 1% of the world’s total fortunes.
In a press conference held at Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh yesterday, Maalul added that 85% of private fortunes in the gulf are based abroad, with 30% in Europe alone, pointing out that people from the GCC fortunes stood at $900 billions following the rise in oil prices during the last five years and that such amounts entice investment.
Gulf Merchant Group Limited (GMG), a new regional investment banking services and asset management company, has been licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority to operate as an authorized firm within the Dubai International Financial Centre. The group will provide its investment banking services in line with highest international standards to family companies and wealthy individuals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
GMG is expected to help privately and family held businesses manage their growth and diversify their investment portfolios on both regional and global levels. The group will also contribute to channeling foreign direct investments to this market segment by providing investment banking services to global companies looking forward to investing in the region.
Maaloul asserted that there are various reasons behind entering the gulf market, including the growth factors which the gulf region enjoys, especially after the rise in oil prices, the deregulation of key sectors and the gulf states’ admission to the World Trade Organization, the in-flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and the change in the positions of some family company owners in the region.
GMG CEO said that through its Dubai base the company now manages businesses of and provide consultancy to 10 clients with investment volume above SR3 millions and that the company recently provided consultancy to establish a new company in the kingdom and incorporate a bank in Oman, remarking that UK-based GMG seeks to become one of the major reputable consultancy firms in the gulf by offering consultancy services to financial institutions and abundantly rich individuals.
Maalul emphasized that family held companies face major risks as 66% of them decline once they are passed on to the third generation; however, he confirmed that his company offers full protection to this type of companies by providing consultancy aimed at developing their business and ensuring their survival for a longer period.
He said the company aims at motivating privatization in the gulf region, minimizing debts and ensuring the in-flow of foreign investments into the gulf as well as giving gulf investments access to various global markets.
Talking of the type of investment the company intends to engage in, Maalul said that the company provides consultancy in various investment fields, including restructuring of government- and privately held companies and finding the appropriate solutions to raise their capitals and boost their growth, and that it intends to diversify its investment portfolios and seek favorable opportunities through its new office in Dubai, which is the company’s gate to gulf individual fortunes, pointing out that his company’s activities included corporate IPO (initial public offering) management.
According to Maalul, the company’s goals also include building a leading firm that relies on honesty, integrity, flexibility, innovation, confidentiality, commitment to be distinguished, client focus and building bridges to capital and talent investment opportunities between the West and MENA as well as getting acquainted with clients’ investment goals and knowing services such as corporate ownerships, asset management and asset privatization.
Maalul said the company will also offer investment needs services to clients through offering a wide range of products across diverse categories of assets ranging from securities to fixed income, multi-asset products and alternative investments and will focus on investment in the company, assessment, sustainable business models and the applicable standards for government’s partnership in reputable companies.
GMG stipulates a minimum capital of $1 million for those seeking consultancy support, and its system will apply to all GCC states