A tradition of excellence
The Middle East is buzzing with change keeping the consulting industry working on some of the most pressing and high impact challenges and transformations both in the private and public sectors. Abdul Moiz Khan, Co-founder, CEO and Managing Partner of Fursa Consulting, makes a statement in an exclusive interview with Business Technology Review
The consulting industry of the region faces fierce industry competition, like any other industry, where time-bound, value-added solutions to clients are key to survival. Fursa Consulting, over the last eight years, has successfully carved its own niche space in the over-crowded industry by meeting its client requirements through out-of-the-box financial alternatives and solutions to a wide-based corporate clientele that the firm is proud of. It is a challenging task to maintain a continuous growth trajectory, but the journey is smooth with promoters being directly from the finance and banking industry, having a combined holistic experience of over 50 years, which strengthens its accurate business understanding and thus reaching the most appropriate and workable solutions to the client needs.
Please provide a brief history of Fursa Consulting?
Fursa Consulting was incorporated in 2014 under a banking and management consulting license issued by Dubai Economic Department, Dubai. We are a leading independent advisory firm focused on furnishing financial advice on structured debt, equity and mergers and acquisitions to corporate and institutional clients. Our firm fosters long-term relationships with clients as their independent and exclusive adviser on strategic matters and transactions. Our team at Fursa comprises experienced professionals with strong academic and corporate backgrounds. With their extensive knowledge of local and international markets and their ready access to key decision-makers, our team is well-positioned to facilitate and execute transactions.
What are the services that entail the organisation and the clientele you cater to?
Our Debt Advisory team works closely with corporations and their investors to advise on and execute funding solutions to assist companies in realising their strategic ambitions. We have in-house in-depth capability to provide banks and institutions in undertaking the due diligence and scenario analysis as part of the credit approval process. The team specialises in three main areas:
Raising debt (origination)
Raising funds to support business growth is fundamental to financing a company and in this unprecedented economic environment, this is an ever-increasing challenge for businesses. Fursa is experienced in facilitating corporates and shareholders to raise the required equity. Our team help guide the clients throughout this whole process, from identifying the most appropriate forms of finance through to the final negotiations.
A merger or acquisition (M&A) can add considerable value to a business by making sure that each stage of the transaction process, from valuation to negotiation to completion is successful, demands considerable experience and knowledge. We can assist by assessing the strategic fit of a business by analysing all aspects of a transaction, assessing the projected synergies, managing the process, assisting in negotiations, financial modelling and assessing transaction implications. We work with our clients throughout the transaction lifecycle, helping them achieve their strategic objectives across acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, management buy-outs, and mergers.
Specialised Advisory Services
We support our clients in exploring investment opportunities with:
UAE family offices
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
In its capacity as the exclusive financial advisor, Fursa has completed transactions worth billions of dirhams since its inception. It proudly services clients from a cross-section of the economy, namely:
Private investment offices
Real estate development
Building material manufacturers
Transportation (shipping, airways)
How has your expertise aided Fursa to evolve?
As a senior banking executive, I have an illustrious professional career spanning over two decades in the fields of both conventional and Islamic banking covering corporate banking (relationship), credit risk, credit review, audit, market risk, compliance, treasury, operation etc. Some of the leading UAE banks that I have worked for include Mashreq, HSBC, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank, United Arab Bank (UAB). My last assignment was with UAB where I headed the large corporate division to substantially increase its assets and revenues utilising my vast market knowledge and customer contacts of over two decades. I am a gold medalist for my master's degree in finance and control. I have gained expertise in developing various credit programmes geared to enhance credit culture and its understanding within an organisation.
Irrespective of my role during the last 28 years of my professional banking career be it in credit risk, audit or corporate banking, I have been actively involved in all sorts of client problem solving, from complex to simple issues. In most cases, the genesis of the problem was not with the quality of the service being delivered but the lack of an adequate relationship management skill set to establish complete understanding and comfort at both ends with the core being lack of proper communication.
Fursa's primary focus is client relationship. Can you elaborate on this?
Since Fursa's inception in 2014, a strong client relationship has always been the cornerstone. Our increasing client pool's feedback inspires and challenges us to renew our commitment to provide the best corporate financial solutions. This requires action - to work for the change that we want to see. We are proud of the firm's past efforts, and we are committed to doing even better.
1. Be accessible and responsive: Return phone calls, e-mails and other forms of communication on time to meet client expectations. Quick, good and useful is better than perfect but too late - access to my office or me directly is never an issue.
2. Be courteous and communicate - We treat the client the way that we would want to be treated. Understand the client's point of view and expectations. Strive to be concise and keep the client informed whenever necessary.
3. Be creative and effective - We attempt to exceed the expectations of our clients in every possible manner we can professionally. To do this, we try to develop innovative and out-of-the-box financial structures to accomplish client objectives.
4. We play as a team - Counterparties engagement is important and facilitates effective and efficient solutions. New ideas and different perspectives always enable practical and creative options.
What strategies did Fursa put in place to cope with the pandemic?
Releasing the increased volume of work domain, in addition to our regular suite of services, we have also broad-based our value-based solutions in a multitude of ways to cater to the enhanced client needs i.e., advising clients to formulate readjusted business models, predict risk, strengthening their processes for managing the businesses more effectively, remaining more compliant to rapidly changing regulatory norms. For clients to stay ahead of the curve, we advise them on appropriate digital and technological advancements, artificial intelligence etc., to be more efficient and well managed.
What is your outlook for 2021?
Though a completely new corporate canvas has emerged in 2021, I see some of the paradigm shifts, such as volatility expanding through the year, forcing corporations to demonstrate enhanced agility through change management. Sound change management practices will be essential amidst continued remote working, the use of flexible operating models, and the use of expanded digital platforms. A strong corporate risk management foundation and culture will be needed. Companies will develop solid governance and management routines to demonstrate their capacity to identify and mitigate risk. Economic indicators and persistently low interest rates will bring added pressure to credit and securitisation. Corporations should adequately adjust to tighter access to liquidity/bank debt. Companies will give more importance to areas of expanded risk in the current economic cycle, including fraud, insider threat, conflicts of interest, KYC, and AML. The development of robust data analytics and real-time surveillance for potential misconduct will increase. There will be new charters for cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
What does Fursa Consultancy's future entail?
Considering the enhanced landscape of corporate consulting, we intend to expand both in terms of our service pitch and enter into new markets within the GCC and Europe. We are well-versed that clients need a better understanding of what consulting assignments can accomplish. They ask more from us, so we need to satisfy their expanded expectations.
Our increasing client pool's feedback inspires and challenges us to renew our commitment to provide the best corporate financial solutions. This requires action - to work for the change that we want to see.
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