Asset management company SHUAA Capital is gunning to capture the digital-savvy millennial and affluent investors of the Middle East. To do so, it has set up a stand-alone fintech platform, and tapped an ex-Visa and Google alumnus for its newly created chief digital officer role.
SHUAA’s new fintech venture is a digital wealth platform leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance traditional personal curated asset management and advisory services. The stand-alone outfit will also draw on SHUAA’s network and asset management capabilities to engineer and deliver its digital-driven products and services. While SHUAA has not explicitly revealed if its new platform will have an Islamic focus, the public listed firm, which grew its assets to AED6.17 billion (US$1.68 billion) at the end of 2020, is active in the Islamic space. Last October, SHUAA launched three Islamic funds.
“Our intention to launch a new digital wealth platform is in line with our increasing focus on technology, which, as we have previously indicated, will be one of SHUAA’s top priorities going forward. This includes transforming our asset and wealth management capabilities and client experience in ways we have never done before.” Jasim Alseddiqi, group CEO of SHUAA, said.
The launch of the new fintech platform is in the backdrop of promising growth in the affluent investor segment: the number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in the Middle East is projected to increase an average of 12% by 2025, according to research by Knight Frank which also expects ultra HNWIs (UHNWIs) to surge by over 26%. Out of these UNHWIs, 57% will be from Saudi Arabia while 23% from the UAE.
Steering this digital ambition of SHUAA is newly appointed Chief Digital Officer Hadi Raad, who has an impressive resume including serving as Visa’s vice-president and regional head of digital solutions for Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as a stint at Google as its head of product marketing for emerging Arabia. Reporting directly to Group CEO Jasim, Hadi will lead the new digital platform as well as drive product innovation and development, building new fintech partnerships and digital user experience, among others.