Dubai: UBS wants to ‘mirror’ the Dubai success in Saudi Arabia, according to Ali Janoudi, the company’s head of wealth management Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
UBS, which is active in wealth management, asset management, and investment banking among other businesses, currently operates out of two advisory offices in Dubai and Riyadh and has more than 60 employees. The company has doubled the number of employees in less than three years in Dubai.
“Saudi Arabia is a key market in our business strategy and we aim to mirror the growth we have recently achieved in Dubai in line with the country’s transition plans,” Janoudi said in an interview.
Saudi Arabia, which aims to remove the country off oil, announced the Vision 2030 programme under which the kingdom will sell stakes in state assets, including oil giant Saudi Aramco and create the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, among other projects.
“Saudi Arabia remains an important market for UBS and having had a physical onshore presence for nearly 10 years now, we are clearly committed to our clients in the country. One of our priorities is to continue to attract the best talent and we have recently invested in hiring key senior people,” Janoudi said.
The regional market is changing and there has been a big change compared to what it was a decade ago, and UBS wants to exploit that opportunity.
“There are economic and demographic transformations happening all over the Middle East, but in particular in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Women and millennials are taking increasingly visible roles in the financial sector and also in the management of family wealth and assets,” Janoudi said.
According to a study, millennials globally are likely to be worth up to $24 trillion by 2020, or roughly 1.5 times US GDP, presenting a business opportunity. In the UAE, 91 per cent of the millennials had already started their own business or considered themselves likely to in the near future.
Dubai was listed in the top three working destinations of choice for millennials alongside London and New York.
“We can simply say that we want to be ready to adjust to new expectations and be able to engage with shifting demographics and in a way that is meaningful and beneficial to our clients in these regions,” he added.
Till the end of 2017, UBS managed $165 billion of clients assets in the emerging markets excluding APAC, and Mena was a ‘key region’ with a strong growth momentum.
Among the other markets, UBS’ clients are interested in the art market.
Like the numbers speak for themselves. Globally art sales reached $63.7 billion in 2017, and it has delivered 8.9 per cent returns since 2000.
“Our clients are also interested in our expertise in themes like art and philanthropy. We provide our clients with insight into the art market and strategic guidance on managing art collections and legacy planning through our art competence centre,” UBS’ Janoudi said.