Please share a brief history of your firm and its service portfolio.
AJMS Global Consulting, earlier known as Morison UAE Consulting GRC was rebranded and became an independent entity in 2018. As part of the re-branding, the entity retained its clients, employees and partners. The purpose of launching a new brand was to fill the void of a niche consulting firm that has hands-on experience of delivery in GCC.
Since then, the firm has grown leaps and bounds and currently operates as a network of full members and affiliates across the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, India, Hong Kong, the UK, Netherlands and Kazakhstan. The activities of the firm are in four major verticals i.e. GRC, Tax, Technology and Management Consulting, each having its own Sub-Service Lines.
AJMS Global comprises of professionals with previous experience in Big Four, leading banks, insurance companies, exchange houses, regulators, and global IT powerhouses. As of now, the firm provides services to around 350 FI and non-FI clients in the region, and overall has served more than 1,000 clients.
The firm and its Founder have been bestowed with several awards. To quote a few, would include Superbrand, Finnext, APAC Entrepreneur, Global Youth Icon, Best InsurTech Solution of the Year 2022, Best KYC Onboarding Solution etc. In addition to the above, the firm has a unique privilege of being AML advisors to governmental organisations in the UAE and GCC region.
As a corporate leader, how much in your view has the business in your vertical changed in these last two years and how has your brand evolved to stay in step?
During the last two years, due to restricted mobility and recession, while many a business suffered, AJMS Global significantly grew in terms of clientele, human resource, geographical footprint, and number of Partners. We adapted to the remote work model and transitioned from a centrally managed organisation to a fully decentralised one with network-wide adoption of common framework policies, and their local variants to reflect laws of the respective lands.
In summary, AJMS group has now doubled in size and brand value during the last two years. The key attributes for the same have been two-fold:
1. Regulatory landscape has changed, which led to multiple opportunities of engagement with clients, including:
a, IFRS 17 for Insurance Sector
b. FATF driven measures to combat AML/CFT in GCC countries in general and particularly in the UAE. This combined with consequential campaigns by local regulators to enhance the regulatory requirements e.g. registration in government managed goAML portals, developing policies and procedures, acquiring technological solutions for continuous monitoring, etc.
c. AML Regulations for DNFBPs
d. VAT law promulgation in Oman
e. Enforcement of consumer protection laws in GCC countries
2. Digital transformation
a. To meet the growing digital transformation demand of the financial sector, AJMS responded by launching three subsidiaries in the last two years.
b. We focused on providing Al-driven solutions, which are user friendly and fully compliant with regulatory requirements.
Provide a bird’s eye perspective on how you see your sector evolving over the next decade and the part your organisation will play in this evolution.
During the coming decade, some of the key changes anticipated could be the following:
1. Technology disruption will completely transform the way business is done.
2. Sustainability and ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) frameworks will come into play as a mandatory compliance requirement for all regulated and large sized businesses.
3. Changing political dynamics around the globe and emergence of alternative financial mechanisms.
We are well positioned to cater to the needs of the global marketplace through our diversified service offerings. We are already negotiating our entry into the African continent and expanding our Asian presence. On an ongoing basis, we are converting our traditional service infrastructure into monetised product lines. We anticipate that the AJMS Global brand will emerge as a global brand with revenues that are comparable with the top ten consulting firms in the MENA.
How critical is R&D to the evolution of a firm and how much of a role does it play in the success of your organisation?
Very important! We have a dedicated Strategy Sub-Service Line, and associate R&D function as an integral part of it. Our R&D is spread across our service verticals and is a necessity to retain our supremacy in what we do. In fact, we are usually the first ones who partake with regulators to apprise the masses on changes to legal, technical, technological and/or political industry dynamics. Some of the examples have been outlined below:
1. We have launched the first Crypto AML Compliance Solution in the region, given the importance of the crypto business in the region.
2. We are also the first UAE firm to launch its own ESG monitoring tool.
3. We are the first UAE-based company to launch an award winning IFRS solution.
What have your major contributions been to the growth of your brand?
Brands are built on the pillars of support from clients, partners/employees, as well as the society at large. Some of the key attributes to our success are outlined below:
1. Client retention: With 95 per cent client retention rate, we have been able to build a strong foundation of clients, which keeps on increasing every year.
2. Partner retention: At AJMS, Leadership/Partners have been retained 100 per cent since day 1 of their joining as we offer them the opportunity not only to grow financially but to achieve self-actualisation in making a difference and leading the market in their area of expertise.
3. Society: We are from the knowledge industry and our fees are linked to the time we spend, yet CSR is part of our core values and an integral part of our KPIs. For example, we have spent hundreds of man hours in pro bono activities including raising awareness of the GCC business community and have been formally acknowledged by the likes of Dubai Economy who granted us a letter of felicitation for raising mass-scale awareness of AML framework for Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs).
We have replicated similar campaigns in Oman and Bahrain and have been well received by the business community and regulators alike. To be recognised as a brand that is the most trusted advisor and a global flagbearer of financial good governance has been my ambition, and that’s why we have been recognised as one of the top Superbrands in the UAE for the last three years in a row.
As a regional corporate icon, what advice do you have for those interested in making inroads into your sector, as well as for entrepreneurs in general?
I believe in hiring the right leadership, empowering them to lead the way, and supporting them through our business ecosystem to become recognised leaders of tomorrow.
It is important to highlight that, time and again, the AJMS leadership has been receiving awards and accolades from regional and global institutions on multiple forums and we are proud that we have great leaders who are working towards achieving the common goals. This is the very reason that the AJMS Global brand is growing aggressively in the MENA. We are unique in that instead of run-of-the-mill employees, we hire entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.
As an entrepreneur, I have always focused on creating the ecosystem where our clients, partners, employees and society at large can maximise collective value proposition. Hence, this is something I would recommend to all budding entrepreneurs to focus on, as this would enable a strong foundation for building a regional and global brand.