The MEA Finance Wealth & Investment Summit 2023, held last 9th November 2023 at the Ritz Carlton JBR in Dubai, brought together more than 450 of the region’s top private bankers, wealth and asset managers, investment advisors, industry leaders, family offices, investors and digital wealth technology providers.

This annual event, the region’s leading Wealth and Investment summit, is arranged to update and inform leaders in this important and growing market with insightful discussions, debates, presentations and networking opportunities that foster collaboration among stakeholders in the wealth management and private banking industry.

Over 30 industry leaders led the discussions focusing on issues around trans-generational wealth transfer, family office, investment strategies and cutting-edge innovations that shape the region’s investment landscape.

The Summit started with a panel discussion on Middle Eastern Succession Planning in a Growing Modern Economy” with Ismael Hajjar, Partner at PwC Middle East as moderator. Speakers Farzad Billimoria, Head of Private Banking -UAE at HSBC; Neelam Verma, Senior Executive Consultant at Secura International; Nina Auchoybur, Managing Director – UAE at Ocorian; Rahul Chopra, Head of Dubai and Managing Director at Charles Monat Associates; Tim Denton, Executive Vice President, Head of Wealth Structuring at Habib Bank AG Zurich; and Tim Searle, Founder & Chairman at Globaleye. All shedding light on shifting investor perspectives, factors influencing UHNWIs and affluent families in the region in planning the transfer of their wealth, and how advisors must provide clear and profound insights in order to help them achieve this. They also discussed the consequences of poor succession planning and how this can be addressed in ways that keep pace with the development of the region.

A presentation by Thomas Schornstein, Member of the Executive Board, GM MEA at additiv, followed. Thomas discussed “Key success factors to grow your Wealth Management business” which underlined the importance of having the right advisors and tools to orchestrate an end-to-end digital wealth management journey to support clients. He also discussed the need to increase the sophistication of product offerings to support clients move up various wealth segments.

The Summit proceeded with an insightful discussion on “How ESG & Philanthropy is Changing Regional Wealth Planning” with speakers Daniel Robinson, Head of Wealth & Personal Banking – UAE at HSBC; Faisal Hasan, CIO and Head of Asset Management at Al Mal Capital; and Rene Van Zyl, Joint Head Tax and Fiduciary at Investec. Moderated by Bhaskar Dasgupta, Independent Board Director, Senior Advisor at Sheikh Hamdan Bin Ahmad Al Makhtoum Private Office. The panel delved into sustainable investment strategies, what it takes to effectively manage ESG investments, assess emerging trends and opportunities and how philanthropy is influencing investment structures of the growing population of high-net worth individuals in the region.

Speaking on managing wealth and investment strategies, Graham Rowan, Chairman of Beaufort Private Equity, delivered a thought-provoking presentation entitled “Building a Portfolio for the Ages”. He discussed the realities investors are facing in 2023, the obsolete notions and strategies that people still hold on to when it comes to managing their money, how to respond to challenges in a volatile market, as well as keys to long-term wealth with focus on private equity.

The afternoon sessions at the Summit started with one of the most anticipated panel discussions entitled “Safe Havens in Testing Times – Opportunities to Future-Proof Investment Portfolios.” Speakers included Ali Jaffari, Chief Financial Officer at DHF Capital; Ayesha Abbas, Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking, UAE at Standard Chartered Bank; Haitham Juma, Investment Solutions Unit Head at National Bank of Fujairah; Hazem Ayoub, Head of Investments at Mashreq Private Banking; Faisal Hasan, CIO & Head of Asset Management at Al Mal Capital and Saqib Mahmood, Group Chief Commercial Officer at National Bonds, with Walid Salem, IT Lead – ME at Zurich Insurance as moderator. The panelists explored various investment strategies, giving the audience their insight whether traditional safe investments remain to be dependable options and how to ensure that investors’ portfolios remain resilient and adaptable in uncertain times. They advised on asset allocation based on long-term goals and not on short-term market movements, mentioning equities as a good investment, and highlighted the importance of diversifying assets.

The panel discussion on “The Growing Role and Requirements of Family Offices in the Middle East” included industry experts Biju Thomas, Director, Head of Family Desk, Mashreq Private Banking; Amer Malik, Head of Middle East International, Senior Executive Officer at Lombard Odier Group (Middle East) Ltd.; and Ismael Hajjar, Partner, Entrepreneurial Private Business, Family Office Services at PwC Middle East, with Shadi AlNasr, Principal, Global Family Office at BNY Mellon Wealth Management as moderator. The panel examined the flourishing Family Offices in the Middle East and discussed how MENA family business services continue to evolve. The speakers described the complexities of running this business as their activities in the region grow rapidly, the need for transparency and a governance framework for conflict resolution and bridging the gap between generational shift in family leadership to ensure preservation of wealth for the next generation.

Another equally highly anticipated session at the Summit was on the topic “Investment Alternatives – where are the best investing results going to come from?.” Bhaskar Dasgupta, Independent Board Director, Senior Advisor at Sheikh Hamdan Bin Ahmad Al Makhtoum Private Office; Amer Halawi, Senior Vice President and Head of Research at Al Ramz Capital; Paul Bryson, Managing Director at Virtugroup; Neelam Verma, Senior Executive Consultant at Secura International; and Andrew Hammond, Special Advisor at Beaufort Private Equity assessed the current state of wealth management in MENA and identified drivers of growth, and private market alternatives as investment priorities. They shared their views on multi-asset strategies to protect investments and mitigate risks.

On the topic of portfolio diversification and risk management, Bas Kooijman, CEO and Asset Manager at DHF Capital, delivered a special presentation that highlighted important points in investing such as assessing common risks, tracking portfolio returns and most importantly, building a portfolio that will do well in different market conditions. He emphasized the importance of getting quality advice from wealth advisors which should provide a wholistic view on how to manage and diversify assets in the long-term.

The final special session of the day focused on the topic of “Technology and Digitisation of Wealth Management”. Speakers Safa Bouzidi-Leterme, Managing Director of Wealth & Asset Management at Daman Investments; Thomas Schornstein, Member of the Executive Board, GM MEA, at additiv; Bhaskar Dasgupta, Independent Board Director, Senior Advisor at Sheikh Hamdan Bin Ahmad Al Makhtoum Private Office; Owen Young, Managing Director, Regional Head, Affluent & Wealth Management (AME/E) at Standard Chartered Bank; and Zubin Muriya, Executive Director at Julius Baer discussed how the dynamic shifts in the regional and even the global economy are due to advancements in technology which are also reshaping how wealth is managed and invested. They outlined steps that wealth advisors must take to accelerate digital transformation to provide the service levels, outcomes and security demanded by wealthy clients.

The Wealth & Investment Summit was supported by Gold Sponsors additiv, Beaufort Private Equity, DHF Capital, HSBC, and Mashreq Private Banking; Silver Sponsors Al Ramz and BNY Mellon Wealth Management; and Supporting Partners Gavekal, NBF, and Secura International.

For the event photos, click on this link: