Acuma Acquisition Allows for Expansion

08/12/2013 12:00 pm EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Recently, a wealth management company in the UAE was taken over in a deal that will now allow them to expand across the Gulf and Asia, writes Tom Arnold of The National.

Acuma, a UAE wealth management company, plans to expand in the GCC and Asia following its takeover last month by the world's largest independent financial advisory company.

Its acquisition, by the British-based deVere Group, will give Acuma funds to expand its footprint, said Acuma's chief executive Kevin Thorp. "We need to bed down as part of the deVere Group and look at the positives for the UAE first, and then maybe start a conversation about expanding towards the end of 2013 going into 2014," he said.

"The desire is to expand in the wider GCC region, and outside the GCC, it makes logical sense, from a geographical point of view, to look to Asia."

Founded in Dubai in 1999, Acuma has built up a network of clients across the UAE and a team of 50 staff. Nigel Green is the chief executive of deVere, which has a global network of 70,000 high net-worth clients. Mr. Green said the deal fitted into its strategy to expand in regions such as the Arabian Gulf.

"This acquisition helps us to fulfill that commitment to strengthening our position as a truly global financial advisory corporation," said Mr. Green.

But despite the takeover, Acuma would remain a separate entity, said Mr. Thorp. "We are separate brands. A lot of this period will involve taking the good from the deVere Group, and taking the good from Acuma, and merging the two."

The move is a reflection of a consolidation in an increasingly competitive industry facing greater scrutiny from regulators, after the global financial crisis.

"It's a reflection of the market changing, and regulations are changing," said Mr. Thorp. "It's a reflection of the commodity of a brand, which can build. The days of being a one-man band are fading fast. You need resource. Consumer demand dictates things have to change."

In the longer term, Mr. Thorp said there was potential for Acuma to evolve its business model. "There is a potential for Acuma to become more of a private banking-type brand, as there's a band of people with banks who aren't well-looked after, and who need a better level of service."

Read more from The National hereā€¦

Related Articles on STRATEGIES