Adeeb Ahamed, LuLu Financial Group MD Image Credit: Supplied

Please share a brief history and profile of your company and the services it provides.

LuLu Financial Group is a leading financial services provider based out of Abu Dhabi, UAE. In a little over 10 years, the company has expanded to 10 countries, operating over 220 branches in the highest standards of ISO excellence. The company is a recognised Superbrand and provides a multitude of financial services for the Middle East, Indian sub-continent, and APAC regions. The company has an active user base of 7 million customers, with an additional 1 million customers on its proprietary digital platform LuLu Money. The company facilitated cross-border transactions worth $8.1 Billion in 2019 and has been averaging a 40 per cent month-on-month growth in terms of customer acquisition to its digital platform, LuLu Money.

What are some of its recent achievements and how has the firm impacted its sector?

As a financial services provider, we have used the recent months as an opportunity to re-align our strategies and redefine our priorities to make financial journeys for our customers more accessible. Some of our recent achievements are:

i) Enabled MyPayMyCard salary card as a payment option on LuLu Money, our mobile app for payments

ii) Created exclusive e-wallet for Overseas Filipino Customers

iii) Enhanced deployment capabilities and product performance by leveraging cloud solution for LuLu Money

This has contributed immensely towards the digitisation of the financial services sector in GCC, Indian sub-continent and APAC, thus forging a path towards last-mile remittance and financial inclusion.

Critical and quick decision making is an art form that defines MDs. How has this evolved during the pandemic?

The pandemic has provided a window to reflect how communication plays a key role in harmonising stakeholder relations and engaging employees. More focus has been given on making sure that accurate and timely information is passed, at the first stage of the decision making itself, so that critical decisions take various leaders into confidence.

What are the challenges you foresee within your sector?

Today, LuLu Financial Group contributes to nearly 1.7 per cent of the global remittance inflows. We started the company with the vision to pioneer how a person transacts and sends money home. With the world of payments being transformed at a dizzying pace, the biggest challenge will be to marry digitisation with the need to make customer journeys hassle-free and convenient. The payments industry is taking on an invisible form, and through our investments in enhancing our digital capabilities, we have charted a clear-cut roadmap to help communities achieve last-mile remittance and financial inclusion in its truest sense.

Emotional quotient ranks high in a MD’s list of variables in handling staff. How do you relate to this statement?

A leader with a positive go-getter attitude will be able to take control of the day-to-day operations more easily by placing trust in the ability of their team. It is important for leaders to self-introspect and identify solutions to challenges that may have been overlooked previously. There needs to be a renewed focus on goals, and now is the time for leaders to give due importance to integrating technology with existing services to better serve their customer base.

Your advice to entrepreneurs planning to set up business on what it takes to build and nurture a brand.

Make sure that you enjoy what you set out to do. The process to build a brand is not an overnight one, and hence, it is of utmost importance that you have the patience and creativity to hold on, deliver results and re-apply the small successes along your journey, to ultimately grow your business to the scale you dream of.