International firms to accelerate presence in MENA region says IFA survey 

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International firms to accelerate presence in MENA region says IFA survey 

85% of independent financial advisers and wealth managers in MENA, who collectively manage assets of around $290bn, expect international firms to grow their presence in the region over the next three years.

The new study by behavioural finance experts Oxford Risk involved Independent research company PureProfile interviewing 100 independent financial advisers and wealth managers in Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain during April 2022 using an online methodology.

It found 62% believe expansion is being fuelled by increased international investment in the region, while more than half (52%) said the growing numbers of high net worth and mass affluent individuals in MENA is attracting interest from international firms.

Around 70% point to the products that international firms can offer while 54% highlight suitability assessments. 

More than half (51%) believe international firms have better digital capabilities while 48% say adviser skill sets at international firms give them a competitive advantage.

The research further found advisers and wealth managers believe the asset management industry in MENA is expanding faster than predicted with 69% saying it will hit $2trn assets under management before 2025 compared with the $1.2 trillion achieved in 2020. 

MENA investors are also looking to increase their exposure to international assets - two out of five (39%) of advisers expect them to dramatically increase it over the next three years.

Oxford Risk said it was urging wealth advisers in the region to make more use of technology to provide improved services to clients based around understanding their needs through detailed profiling.

Greg B Davies, head of behavioural finance, Oxford Risk said: "The asset management industry in MENA is expanding strongly and inevitably that is attracting the interest of international financial institutions.

"At the same time clients in MENA want to increase their exposure to international assets with the growing use of technology by advisers in the region and the need for diversification driving demand.

"Wealth advisers in the region believe international firms have a competitive advantage on product range but also on how they assess investor suitability and in some cases adviser skills."