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  • I’ve just returned from our Dubai office. Having met with the great and good of the region’s wealth management industry at the third annual Middle East Wealth Management Forum hosted by Hubbis, I have to say that for firms over there, life is markedly different than it is in the UK.

    MiFID II/GDPR 2 - AI/Robo 0

    Given that we’re engrossed in regulatory housekeeping, it’s no surprise that UK financial institutions have had little bandwidth or ability to - dare I say it—innovate. That’s not so in the UAE. Although regulation is very much on the radar, it has not yet reached the point where it dominates matters in the same way that it does in the UK. Not only are firms in the region disposed to innovation, they even have the time to understand and even anticipate client expectations and, as a result, grow their business—halcyon days! Another big difference, is that the wealth management industry in the Middle East is not rooted in the past. Those long-standing attitudes, practices and habits, which are part of the fabric of the UK wealth industry (and are proving so tricky to change) simply don’t exist in Dubai.

    The wonders you can do when you start with a clean sheet

    Unencumbered by the ways of the past, and wishing to follow the FCA regulatory model, Dubai’s wealth managers are embracing the digital age. With clients that are just as demanding as those in the UK, Middle Eastern financial institutions know that when it comes to digital, there’s no half way house—it’s automated working, all the way. They relish the idea of the business taking regulatory change in its stride. And what’s not to like about an operational framework that decreases costs, increases margins and provides an edge over the competition?

    The managers of the Middle East accept without question that wealth cannot be managed efficiently and profitably without digital platforms and tools—it’s just a question of choosing the right technology partners.

    Old JHC proverb: Being in the swim, is most preferable to treading water.

    Ed Lopez - Chief Revenue Officer - JHC