Shuaa to launch digital wealth management platform to broaden client base

Investment bank hires new chief digital officer as it moves to strengthen its digital offerings

Shuaa Capital on Monday said it is launching a digital platform to expand its wealth management services. Jaime Puebla / The National

Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital will launch a digital platform to expand its wealth management services and has hired former Visa executive Hadi Raad to run the FinTech business.

Mr Raad joins Shuaa as chief digital officer, the company said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are traded.

He is the former digital solutions head for Visa's operations in Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and has also worked for Google.

Shuaa said it plans to strengthen its digital offerings to take advantage of a gap it has identified in the market.

The new platform will help the company to broaden its client base and “elevate its traditional wealth management and advisory experience”, the company said.

The investment bank intends to integrate technology such as artificial intelligence with “curated management and advisory services”.

“Our intention to launch a new digital wealth platform is in line with our increasing focus on technology, which ... will be one of Shuaa’s top priorities going forward,” said Jassim Alseddiqi, group chief executive of Shuaa.

“This includes transforming our asset and wealth management capabilities and client experience in ways we have never done before.”

The number of ultra-high-net-worth people in the Middle East is expected to increase by 24.6 per cent over the next five years while the region will remain the fourth-largest wealth centre in the world, global property consultancy Knight Frank said in its 2021 Wealth Report.

About 57 per cent of them will reside in Saudi Arabia while 23 per cent will be in the UAE.

The global population of the super-rich is forecast to rise by 27 per cent over the same period to about 663,483, compared with 513,244 in 2019.

Knight Frank defines ultra-high-net-worth individuals as those who have a fortune of $30 million or more.

High-net-worth individuals are defined as having a fortune of $1m or more, including their primary residences and second homes not held as investments.

“The millennial, high-net-worth and affluent investors are significantly underserved,” the company said.

It plans to capitalise on this through the creation of a hybrid digital wealth platform that also provides personalised management and advice.

Shuaa, which has assets under management worth $14 billion, returned to profit in the first quarter on the back of substantially higher fee income.

The investment bank recorded a net profit of Dh25m ($6.81m)for the three months through to March 31, compared with a Dh262m loss in the same period last year, as net fee and commission income nearly doubled from Dh49.2m to Dh96.9m during the reporting period.