Family Office summit promises a prosperous tomorrow for the Mena region

Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa Private Office hosts an exclusive event over two days in Dubai in early November


Joydeep Sengupta

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Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Foreign Trade, UAE and Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa
Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Foreign Trade, UAE and Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa

Published: Sun 13 Nov 2022, 3:22 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Nov 2022, 9:18 PM

An exclusive private conference hosted by Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Duaij Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa Private Office in early November in Dubai sought to create a prosperous tomorrow "to celebrate the pillars of the Mena (Middle East & North Africa) economy".

Importance of a Family Office

"Coming from a Family heritage and legacy, I understand the importance of protecting our families and businesses for many generations," said Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, "which was the purpose of putting together this event on how to Protect our Family Legacy Financially, Legally and Humanly."

Dr. Amin Hussain Al Ameeri., Asst. Undersecretary of Health Regulation Sector, UAE and Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa
Dr. Amin Hussain Al Ameeri., Asst. Undersecretary of Health Regulation Sector, UAE and Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa

He added, "Through sharing our expertise and success stories, my takeaway from this intimate event has been the importance of education, health, legacy planning, safe communication, and finding and retaining the right external talent, as well as preparing our family members to flourish our businesses for the generations to come whilst protecting our planet for a more sustainable tomorrow."

The Omani business magnate

Areej Mohsin Haider Darwish Al-Zaabi, an Omani business magnate, entrepreneur and investor, spoke about how her organisation has grown multifold over the past two decades.

"Our business strategies are aligned with our mission and vision. As an organisation with sustainable growth as our goal, our participative management has made us resilient, progressive and innovative with a strategic perspective," she said.

The role of family offices is to further business prospects in the region, according to her.

"Family Offices and their businesses play a significant part in developing the Middle East's economy. Their growth is essential to the region because of their long-term stability and commitment to business performance, which helps them achieve more constant growth. Their resilience in the face of adversity, strong competitive edge, productivity and innovation are foundations for economic development." she added.

OIHL's outreach

Loái Bataineh, Chief Executive Officer, Ominvest International Holding Limited (OIHL), Oman and Dubai, was another high-profile attendee at the event.

He said, "We started the operation of Ominvest International Holding in June 2021. We set up the company within the first period and started the process. At the same time, we started building our connections by presenting the market of Ominvest and having tie-ups with international players looking for deals and acquisitions. We are striving to expand to the region using Ominvest's expertise and knowledge for the last 40 years as a financial conglomerate in Oman on banks, insurance, and leasing companies and specialised in financial services with a track of 40 years and with more than 1,200 shareholders."

"The Family Office plays a big role in furthering business prospects in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) as they are the ones behind preserving and growing the wealth of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs). These professionals ensure that they maintain each family's wealth from the current generation to the future generation by professionally managing their assets through investing in different financial divisions. The family offices right now are a common act and practice that will be the main drivers and the reasons for cementing the presence of the families across the GCC and maintaining the second, third, and fourth generations for continuity which will take most of the families to be a public listed entity in the region," he added.

Awaser Investment's growth

Raed Alammari, CEO of Awaser Investment, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), put the event in perspective.

"Awaser Investment started several years ago, and since then, it has grown to become a multifamily office. With all the ups and downs during this era, we kept investing in our team's intellectual capital. We also disbursed more attention to the changing environment and conditions around us. We became more agile and paid considerable attention to technology, evolving investment strategies, and changing market dynamics. We made sure to confront obstacles throughout our journey and learned a lot of it in a way that got reflected in how we're conducting work today, how we look at opportunities, and, more importantly, the solidarity among team members.

In recent years, we have started seeing more and more Family Offices established in our region. We noticed that new generations are eager to chase the best global practices regarding governance, sustainability, adaptability and agility of Family Offices, which contribute to the business. I can see the significant role Family Offices will play in relevant economies. It's a new era that Family Offices are building."

The trend of Family Offices in the region

In the past, many affluent families in the Middle East established their family offices outside the region, in Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK), etc. However, the number of UHNWIs and families in the Middle East is rising. According to a report by Knight Frank, the population of UHNWIs in the Middle East will increase by around 9 per cent in 2021.

In line with this trend, Family Offices are emerging as a wealth structuring vehicle for families in the Middle East. The UAE has successfully positioned itself as a regional financial hub. It offers various licences to set up family offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to enable families to carry out activities such as investing, structuring wealth, consolidating assets, and creating a succession plan.

Ahmad Bin Eisa Alserkal, Chairman and Mohammed Al Kaabi, Managing Director, Alserkal Group, UAE
Ahmad Bin Eisa Alserkal, Chairman and Mohammed Al Kaabi, Managing Director, Alserkal Group, UAE

When it comes to Emirati Family Businesses, many are going through a critical decade as they are being led by or have recently transitioned to the second generation. But the average lifespan of family businesses in the region is only 23 years. With a family office structure in place, these businesses can educate themselves and gain help from external parties to structure their governance and investments and sustain their business and legacy over multiple generations.

High-profile guests and attendees

The two-day event, held in the presence of Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Trade, welcomed high-profile guests and attendees such as Dr Amin Hussain Al Ameeri, the UAE's assistant undersecretary of the health regulation sector; Ahmad Bin Eisa Alserkal, Chairman of Alserkal Group; Moncef Belkhayat, Chairman of Dislog Group, Morocco; Abdulla Al Gurg Global Investments; Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO); Al-Futtaim Group; Alghanim Industries, Kuwait; Abunayyan Holding, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); Al Fardan Exchange; Al Hafa Development and Investment Company, Oman; Al Muhaidib Group, KSA; Awaser Investment, KSA; and Chalhoub Group to name a few.

Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa is hosting the next Family Office dedicated event in Dubai on March 9 and 10, 2023.

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