Dubai digital bank Zand already had a roster of high-profile investors, including Yussufali of LuLu Group. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai-based digital bank Zand has won the backing of investors such as Franklin Templeton and Aditya Birla Group, it said on Tuesday, as it seeks to seize opportunities thrown up by fintech.

Abu Dhabi’s Al Hail Holding, Al Sayyah & Sons Investments, Global Development Group, M.A. Yusuff Ali of mega retailer Lulu Group, and Zand co-founder Olivier Crespin are also on board as investors, according to a statement.

The launch of Zand, which will offer both retail and corporate banking, in the UAE is “imminent,” the statement said.

“We have a strong group of shareholders who believe in creating long-term value for our customers. With their support, Zand is set to reshape the future of banking,” said Zand chairman Mohamed Alabbar.

“In addition to their impressive track records, prominent reputation and extensive experience, each shareholder brings a new perspective to our industry which will be the backbone of Zand’s market proposition.”

Digital banks have taken off with the spread of finance technology in the Middle East, a region with high internet penetration and a largely young population.

Zand will be competing other digital platforms including Wio, backed by Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ and the offshoots of traditional banks such as Dubai’s Emirates NBD.

The digital-only bank was announced in April last year.

“As the first fully independent digital bank in the country, with a full UAE banking licence, Zand will provide innovative, effective financial solutions that help simplify businesses and lives, addressing the needs of both retail and corporate customers,” Alabbar had said during the announcement.

While the bank is get to go live, customers can visit its website and register their interest.

Key investors

The Aditya Birla Group, helmed by chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, brings a global operating experience across diverse sectors and markets spanning 36 countries, and a financial services experience with funds under management of $57 billion. The group, with a century-old legacy, has a market cap of about $75 billion.

Franklin Templeton, one of the world’s largest global asset managers with over $1.5 trillion in assets under management, has 75 years of investment experience. The company has been present in the Middle East for more than two decades.

With over 20 years of global experience in banking and fintech, co-founder and CEO of Zand, Olivier Crespin, is leveraging hybrid digital strategies to build the bank. He said, “We have an ideal foundation to launch Zand with shareholders who encompass a complete local and international ecosystem.”

“Our shareholders inspire us to build relevant products and innovative solutions that meet the needs of customers in the digital age.”

With inputs from Bloomberg