Vistra acquires Dubai-based corp services business to expand Gulf presence

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Vistra Group, the acquisitive, Hong Kong-based corporate services, trust, fiduciary and fund administration services provider, has reinforced its Middle East presence with the acquisition of a Dubai-based entity, Total Solutions Middle East Ltd (TSME).

Details of the sale, including the purchase price, weren’t given.

The acquisition will give Vistra a presence in Abu Dhabi, where TSME has an office in the emirate’s Abu Dhabi Global Markets complex, for the first time, Vistra said in a statement on Wednesday.

TSME has its headquarters in the Dubai International Financial Centre, and provides governance, risk, compliance and human resources services.

It was founded in Dubai in 2004 by Robi Dattatreya, who, the company said in a statement, until now has played an active role in the development of the company as a member of its board. The Abu Dhabi outpost was opened last year.

TSME’s 26-member-strong team is headed up by chief executive Jurry de Vries, assisted by partner and director Nico van Bockstal, who looks after governance, risk and compliance, as well as by managing partner Stewart Adams, who runs the TSME Abu Dhabi office.

Gulf expansion ‘reminiscent of Asia’

Vistra opened its office in Dubai more than six years ago and, according to Arjan Schaapman, group managing director of Vistra’s Corporate & Private Clients operation, its development there has been reminiscent of  Vistra early days in Asia.

“Growing corporate and private wealth” in a region, he explained, “brings with it an increased need for wealth structuring among HNWIs, and therefore [a growing] demand for corporate services”, of the kind Vistra and TSME offer.

He added that TSME’s specific areas of expertise would “complement and enhance” Vistra’s existing corporate and private client service portfolio in the United Arab Emirates,  and thus ultimately, it was hoped, allow it to expand further in the Middle East.

Vistra dates back to a 2006 buy-in of the fiduciary and trust business of Chiltern in London and Jersey by the former top management team of Fortis Intertrust. It was acquired by Baring Private Equity Asia in 2015, after having rebranded as OIL in 2011, following a merger with that Hong Kong-based company formation specialist.

It has been on an acquisition spree over the past year, buying Monaco-based Podium SAM in February; India’s IL&FS Trust Co in April; and the compliance division of Foster Raffan, a boutique chartered accountancy firm in Australia, and in the process, expanding its geographic footprint.