Global advisory firm
Certain states such as
In 2012, an estimated 143 our of every 1,000 households had wealth exceeding a million dollars in
In order to multiply and preserve their wealth, the
"If you look at any of the big banks, the turnover of people, either voluntary or involuntary is so high, the clients get fed up," says
"Every two or three years, you see a new face. It doesn't work and I think in a smaller outfit, if you have continuity, which is what the client needs - he wants to see the same person to handle the business. I also think they need a little bit more attention."
While the latter, part of a reputed 173-year old Swiss private banking institution
The firm launched
"Clients have different needs. We don't deal with retail clients. We deal with very, very large sophisticated clients, who have their own thoughts, their own ideas and they need them to be done," explains Walia.
"One particular bank is not able to execute their thought and so they let the client go, which is not a good idea. So that is why this third platform has been set up with the DIFC, which has an open architecture."
This "multi-banking platform", which will be launched in
"I think we are one of the first few to start it. In
Family businesses, which comprise three-quarters of the GCC's private sector activity are on a modernising path and are recruiting independent firms to manage their investment portfolios.
"Their concerns today are whether to stay in all the businesses that they've acquired or built up over the last 10, 20 or 30 years," says Walia.
"Everybody realises that there is no way they can do everything. So there is a lot of M&A [mergers and acquisitions] activity going on, people either buying or selling businesses from each other depending on what suits their portfolios."
The options that investors choose today are more conservative, acknowledges Walia.
Following the financial crisis, the risk profile and appetite of high net worth investors has become more cautious.
The issue of trust has never been more critical, following the financial crisis of 2007-08, for which several global investment banks received blame. A 2013 report by family business advisory firm Campden Wealth found that 60 per cent of respondents in the GCC scrutinised their relationship with their private bank more frequently last year than they did a year before.
"If there is any silly idea, it used to be taken up, not anymore," says Walia.
"People ask and they try and understand and mostly, they won't do anything, which is highly geared. Things have changed a lot in the last two or three years."
The ongoing conflict in the region has also made centres such as
Managing this capital will be another project for Gulf-based asset managers.
"I think the only impact is that the geographies where some of the turmoil is taking place, which were looked at some five or ten years ago positively for investment are not being looked at favourably any more," says Walia.
This year the firm's
Only last month, Japanese Nomura Asset Management, which is one of
Its chief executive
GCC-based family businesses, which tasted bitter luck following the financial crisis in the western economies, are still looking at eastern emerging markets as viable options, says Walia.
"The families have lost a lot of money in the west. A lot of investments were made and for a lot of
"So maybe there is a chance to look at this side of the world and see if that is a more rational and sensible place to invest in. But I think the west will be back, it is already coming back very strongly. People could get spoilt for choice."
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