Dubai investment bank Shuaa Capital is to reinvent itself as an advisory body to the Middle East’s super rich, in a bid to diversify its revenues away from investment, the Financial Times has reported.
The bank, which has struggled to stay afloat assays investment fees dry up, plans to offers its services to wealthy clients in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the firm’s new CEO said.
“This is a serious push to become a regional platform, focusing on family offices and conglomerates – no one has ever really done that before,” Michael Philipp told the newspaper.
“If you focus on the client and get it right in a few places, you can get critical mass to be regionally relevant to those who want to come here.”
Philipp, who this month replaced former CEO Samir al-Ansari, said he will remain in the post for “as long as it takes” to cement the company’s new strategy.
The number of dollar millionaires in the Middle East swelled by 10.4 percent in 2010, reflecting the fastest growth rate worldwide, Merrill Lynch said in June. The region’s super-rich have a cash-pile of $1.7 trillion, spread across 400,000 people, the report said.
Shuaa one of the Gulf Arab region's largest investment banks, was hit hard by the global financial downturn as impairments related to troubled assets erased profits.
The company has been shedding risky assets from its investment portfolio after Dubai's property crash and asset bubble.
The bank eked out a small second-quarter net profit in July of AED0.6m ($163,354.2), helped by aggressive cost cuts. In the first quarter, Shuaa said it would cut 10.7 percent of its staff, or 39 jobs, to reduce costs following the regional turmoil which hit its quarterly results.
Philipp told the Financial Times that the bank was planning further redundancies while costs remained high.