UAE turning into a epicentre for family offices: Al Khalifa

Dubai-based private office is passionate about investments in renewable energy, electric vehicles, solar panels and vertical farming


Sandhya D'Mello

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Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.

Published: Sat 9 Jul 2022, 11:01 PM

Last updated: Sat 9 Jul 2022, 11:04 PM

The UAE is turning into an epicentre for Family Offices and family businesses as investor-friendly policies open a gateway to global investors, said Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Duaij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, who is all set to host an insightful event for family offices in the UAE.

“We are all set to expand in the UAE and some of my current favourites are businesses in electric vehicles, vertical farming, renewable energy, manufacturing, natural resources, education and health care. I see unstoppable growth in the UAE, a region deemed strategic to bridge the GCC with the rest of the world,” Al Khalifa told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview.

Al Khalifa’s private office has invested in and assisted companies in key economic sectors too in the region.

“I see how more and more family offices and businesses allocate a significant percentage to impact-related companies, and I look forward to seeing this number grow further. I think sectors whose mission is to be good and do good with a great team, a solid road map, and realistic financial perspectives have the potential to implement and expand well in the UAE,”

Al Khalifa, a strong promoter of retaining Family Businesses thinks the UAE’s firm leadership and vision that took centre stage from the get-go of Covid was admirable. “As soon as the UAE established strong safety measures for all its inhabitants, it opened its doors to like-minded visionaries worldwide”.

“In the last years, the UAE has taken a leading position as the epicentre and haven for international family offices, businesses, and HNW investors to relocate their headquarters, making Dubai their newfound home for their staff and families. At a time of increased international turmoil, the measures of security taken for the well-being of UAE’s inhabitants are next to none. This safety network only reassures further businesses to relocate to the region,” said Al Khalifa.

“With the ease of relocating to the region, applying for visas, company licenses, appealing tax regimen, booming real estate, excellent schools, and healthcare, I see the UAE becoming home for single-family offices, multi-family offices, and great businesses. My Private Office has facilitated numerous family businesses and investors with their inception and networking with UAE’s families, and we look forward to assisting many more,” said Al Khalifa.

Coming from a ruling family, Al Khalifa opines “the importance and expansion of business are essential. I humbly believe that the family business is the foundation of any winning economy”.

Al Khalifa added: “I honour the government’s exceptional work and aspire in my small way to keep bridging the UAE with like-minded outstanding enterprises looking to thrive and relocate in a region shining with positivity and business expansion. The government’s accessibility and openness to assist all incoming companies at short notice is unseen, and especially the zest to facilitate business globally by Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.”

Family business legacy

Lombard Odier, a leading global wealth and asset manager with a 50-year legacy in the Middle East providing wealth planning solutions, recently revealed that high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in the region are aware of the importance of effective succession planning, but less certainty lies in whether wealthy families have implemented the succession plans required to meet the varied needs of their complex family structures.

Given the outsized economic contribution of family-run businesses in the Middle East, strong family governance is critical for the region’s continued economic success. However, whilst 87 per cent of the 300 HNWIs surveyed believe their family business is structured to allow for efficient intergenerational wealth transfer, only 24 per cent say they already have an estate plan in place for all of their private assets. The difference between younger and older business owners is significant. Over half of older respondents (55 per cent) say they have a full estate plan in place, compared to just 9 per cent of younger respondents. Conversely, more than one third of younger respondents (36 per cent) do not have any kind of estate plan in place at all but are interested in it, while a further 26 per cent expressed no interest. The remaining respondents have a partial estate plan in place.

Protecting a family business with the proper legal, financial, leadership, and healthcare planning is essential for any family office or business. “I think it is essential for all businesses to have thorough generational planning in place to protect our current business and prepare tomorrow’s family leaders. With this passion at heart, I am excited to host an exclusive gathering in the autumn for like-minded families from the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and abroad to come together in a safe environment to exchange their best practices and experiences. I believe we become much stronger as a community by sharing expertise and exchanging notes on best practices in succession planning legally, financially, and humanly. By implementing a plan of action for successful family harmony, wealth, health, and leadership, we ensure long-term prosperity ergonomically and nationally,” said Al Khalifa.

Family Businesses can diversify and build sustainable businesses provided efforts are taken to remain focused and objective, strained family dynamics can cost the family business money and eventually threaten its long-term generational survival. Family business unease, when repaired, improves the bottom line and ensures longevity.

“Impact investing and ensuring that we give back to society is essential for us and ingrained in our core beliefs. The UAE welcomes great startups and emerging businesses focused on making the UAE and the world a better place to live tomorrow,” Al Khalifa concluded. —

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