Wealth and investment management needs to be built on a comprehensive understanding of the clients’ objectives and financial personality.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a key strategic market for Barclays. With strong linkages with the UK, Barclays, a trusted and recognised partner for clients in the region, offers its full range of financial services, including investment and corporate banking services, in addition to the wealth and investment management proposition and the recently launched international banking offering. Barclays’ strength in the wealth and investment management space is due to its Open Architecture Trading Platforms, which provide a variety of investment and credit options and wealth advisory services that are tailored to the needs of each and every client. This is in addition to the unique Integrated Banking Model, which offers clients the opportunity to access Barclays’ regional and global capabilities in Corporate and Investment Banking.

Clients rely on Barclays for our expertise in international markets as we assist them in diversifying and preserving their wealth while providing them with tailored investment solutions that match their investment profiles. We do this by carefully assessing each client’s individual needs and objectives and creating portfolios that have a suitable asset allocation that reflects the client’s risk appetite. We ensure that the advice we provide specifically caters to each individual’s needs to ensure their wealth is preserved and their legacy continues from generation to generation.

The foundation for a successful, long-term, and tailored Wealth Management strategy in Barclays is primarily driven by three factors. First and foremost, any strategy must be tailored to the client’s objectives and financial personality, in order to optimise asset allocation in their portfolio. Secondly, each individual investment within a portfolio goes through a rigorous research process by our team of global investment analysts, to ensure their quality and potential as suitable investments. Lastly, once the portfolio is created, it is regularly monitored and rebalanced by our team of investment specialists, ensuring the portfolio is adjusted for various economic environments, and remains in line with the client’s objectives and in-house market research insights.

The importance of listening to clients is something that may seem relatively obvious, but it may be neglected in the region. In our business, we take the time to listen and understand what is most important to our clients in terms of their objectives, requirements and preferences and prioritise them. Taking the time to listen and identify a client’s goals and ambitions is the main driver for building long, trusted relationships with clients.
Our goal is to preserve and enhance client wealth from generation to generation, which is inherently long term. This incorporates the implementation of short and medium term investment strategies as tactical opportunities present themselves in various economic climates. Given the level of upcoming uncertainty within the global economic environment, from the impact of Brexit on Europe and the UK, to the US Elections, we are recommending that clients position their portfolios in a defensive manner. The potential interest rate hike in the US is likely to present opportunities within the US financials space, while negatively affecting the fixed income market in the short term.

We have not seen a direct correlation between investor appetite and oil prices. Investors have adjusted their investment strategies to adapt to the new environment. Although there is a clear trickledown effect that is caused by the effect of lower oil prices, generally we have seen investors remain strong and reinvest in their companies. However, it further highlighted to our clients in the region the importance of diversifying their wealth across geographies, asset classes and sectors and the importance of having a trusted financial advisor who can provide advice and expertise. It is also worth mentioning that a large number of investors within the region have gathered the majority of their wealth from the real estate and trading sectors as opposed to direct oil-related activities.

Nor has the decline in oil prices directly impacted the profitability of the wealth and investment management businesses in the region. While banking, like other industries, was affected by the decline in oil prices, the resilience demonstrated by the region’s banks during these volatile times is promising since they were able to maintain a solid capital. They were able to achieve this by focusing their operations and restructuring their business model to suit the needs of the local market, which allowed the banks in the region to remain strong during this time.

We see a large amount of wealth being managed by the younger generation, as the patriarchs of the families begin slowly passing down their wealth and control. At Barclays, we have been working with families to help educate the next generation on financial matters to ensure the smooth transition. We recognise the importance of coaching and supporting young leaders to ensure they are prepared and ready to take on their family wealth and all the responsibilities that come with it.

By Ihab Al Derzi, Market Head of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Barclays Wealth and Investment Management

Ihab Al-Derzi joined Barclays Wealth & Investment Management in 2014 and brings with him 14 years of expertise from the UK Private Banking industry. Barclays is a major global financial service provider with over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, providing its clients with international Wealth and Investment Management services across more than 40 countries. Barclays also offers personal banking, cards and corporate and investment banking services.