First Capital of Switzerland Investment Bank is capitalising on its presence in the MENA region. Its vision for 2012 is based on investment strategies in up-and-coming markets
In any emerging economy, banks and financial institutions are seen as the catalysts for fueling economic growth and development. The world economy has gone through its worst economic phase ever. First Capital of Switzerland Investment Bank (FCS) Group CEO Abdulrahman Al Ansari states that even though the worst is over, it is upon financial institutions to gauge and set the pace for economic recovery and turnaround. The key to this is to tap potential sectors in emerging markets and utilise untapped capital as compared to retained profits. What the world needs now are financial institutions which are a sensible blend of entrepreneurial spirit and corporate responsibility.
In order to meet the healthcare standards of developed nations, the MENA region needs to add more than 400,000 hospital beds by 2025
The new gold rush
The beauty of emerging markets lies in our ever-shrinking geographical differences.
Financial institutions can work with the emerging markets to reap the benefits of untapped potential by synchronising with these markets based on a well-evaluated and detailed strategy. Emerging markets are melting pots of economic and monetary opportunity, just waiting for financial institutions to tap them the right way.
With the overall world economy mired in gloom, emerging markets can be the new Silk Road that financial institutions can follow. In the next 12 months we will witness restructurings, mergers, acquisitions, various fiscal and monetary reform strategies by governments, companies and investors in general. Amid the financial uncertainty, the clear silver lining is the emerging markets. The outlook for investment banking in Asia, Africa, China, the Middle East and Latin America could actually make or break for the world economy in general.
The need to develop these emerging markets and their government-led development initiatives and policies demands strategic and sophisticated investment banking intervention. The Middle East region, for example, has developed as a financial and trading centre owing to regional competition, the need to emerge as a reputable economy and encouragement from government-sponsored measures and policies.
Due to the untapped economic and financial potential, the emerging markets have not been impacted by the economic downslide in as big a way as the more developed economies. This is a blessing in disguise, both for the emerging economies – as it leaves way for them to slowly and steadily move to being an emerged market – and for the financial institutions waiting to tap their potential and pave way for economic recovery and growth.
Key drivers for investment
FCS is a Boutique Investment Bank located in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and authorised and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
FCS started its journey during the economic downturn and is looking to become a dominant player in the investment banking and wealth management sector in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, as well as in Asia, China and Latin America.
It has an established reputation as a pre-eminent investment banking institution, with an aggregate mandate size of over $2.1bn across its region of focus, marked by visionary leadership and the ability and will to embrace and adapt to changing market dynamics. With its main focus in the MENA region and Far East, the FCS group is becoming a name to be reckoned with in emerging markets.
FCS understands that an onshore presence is crucial in engaging the market capital of emerging economies and therefore is establishing key alliances with international partners to establish its international reach. As the world moves to slow economic recovery, our focus is on emerging markets. The establishment of a Healthcare and Natural Resource and Commodity Fund are the key drivers for us, as we move forward beyond 2012. FCS envisions developing and promoting a world class Food Security Investment fund, which targets ethical, Sharia-compliant investments. The objective of this fund is to provide long-term value to people of the MENA region and the wider Islamic world.
Filling in the market gaps
High population growth and limited agricultural productivity is an issue that the MENA region has been facing for a long time. FCS’ aim is to focus on addressing critical food security issues by focusing on projects that require expansion capital. The target is to direct investments in food producing companies, addressing the key strategic issue of FDI and agricultural investment in the MENA region. The aim of FCS is to develop stability through sustained agribusiness in the MENA region.
India needs commodities to grow its economy. Emerging markets like Africa have these commodities and need to leverage it in order to develop and grow. FCS aims to be the driver of these key economic attributes in the MENA region and the emerging markets through its specialised Natural Resource and Commodity Investment fund. The common gap across economies between the demand and supply of commodities can help realise a strategic investment vehicle which will primarily be driven by demand from emerging markets such as India, China, and Africa. FCS believes that this is the right time, given the current financial meltdown across the globe, to develop a broad natural resource and commodity trading business.
Making health a priority
Another key focal area beyond 2012 is healthcare. The MENA region has seen a sharp increase in government investment in healthcare. The healthcare industry is underdeveloped when it comes to the MENA region and the emerging markets. This is true in terms of both supply and demand. Higher per capita income, greater life expectancy, and the stresses and toll of modern lifestyle have led to an unprecedented demand in healthcare services. Investments made by governments, though continuous and genuine, have failed to sufficiently bridge the gap. The MENA region alone has invested around $65.6bn in healthcare in 2009. These numbers are estimated to double by 2015.
FCS’ Healthcare Fund, to be launched in 2012, will target hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare research and development facilities and educational centres. Increase in population, coupled with increased life expectancy, are the key drivers of the demand side of healthcare in the MENA region. The healthcare infrastructure is simply not sufficient to satisfy the demand. The gap we are talking about is huge; in order to meet the healthcare standards of developed nations, the MENA region needs to add more than 400,000 hospital beds by 2025.
FCS, backed by visionary leadership, understands that healthcare is beyond just hospitals and hospital bed count. In fact, the growing demand of healthcare in the MENA region translates into a dearth of skilled and qualified healthcare professionals. FCS recognises and establishes this as a huge opportunity to target investments in healthcare R&D and educational centres. At FCS, our advisory healthcare group provides a high-end, innovative service complemented by our wealth of experience and wide-reaching network within the industry.
A proven track record
FCS offers an extensive range of services to private and non-profit organisations. Our product range includes financial advice, mergers and acquisitions, and capital raising for companies within the healthcare industry on an international scale. FCS ensures it achieves client specific goals by reviewing their individual needs and objectives and researching the given field to provide optimal, customised solutions. The key differentiator between FCS and its competitors is a thorough analysis of the strategic opportunities available to place the client in the best possible position within the market.
The team behind FCS has international senior management and listed-company, board level experience in all major sectors, including wealth management. The team members have extensive expertise in developing, structuring and implementing financial and commodities businesses globally, with a strong focus on the Middle East, Africa and emerging markets.
For more information: www.fcswiss.com