Institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are increasingly turning to the Middle East to diversify their portfolios. With its stable growth trajectory, the region offers attractive investment opportunities. Headquartered in the Gulf's regional hub, UNB has a seamless private banking and wealth management platform which provides its clients with efficient and innovative solutions across different asset classes.
"The UAE is a well-established base for trading and investments in the region, and opportunities abound with the country's massive infrastructure development and economic diversification," says Mohammad Nasr Abdeen, CEO of UNB. "For anything medium to long term, investors must deal with people they can trust, are comfortable with, and who can deliver. UNB can open the right doors for them."
UNB is a commercial banking pioneer in the Middle East, providing a full range of services in the UAE since the 1980s. UNB became the first bank licensed by the Securities & Commodities Authority for share registrar services. As such, the bank provides extensive advisory services and is top-of-mind when companies go public. UNB creates market opportunities with the wealth of knowledge and expertise derived from this base.
UNB moved early in the brokerage business with the founding of Union Brokerage Company (UBC) in the 1990s. Benefitting from the surge in equities trading in a market that had long awaited the opportunity, UBC grew fast. It serves investors at the Dubai Financial Market and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.
As the first brokerage company in the Middle East to have acquired general clearing membership at NASDAQ Dubai, UBC gives clients direct access to a broader range of international investment opportunities. NASDAQ Dubai is where big-ticket initial public offerings (IPO) and secondary listings of international companies happen. Among its high-profile stocks are global container port operator DP World - the largest IPO in the Middle East.
Backed by the organisational strength of UNB, the bank's private banking and wealth management division (PB&WMD) offers one of the most comprehensive range of investment management solutions in the region - from equities, debt products and funds to Islamic securities and structured notes. Furthermore, UBC, its brokerage arm, offers 24/7 trading through its online platform. UBC is also readily accessible through three offices spread across the UAE. It aims to expand its coverage and become one of the top five in the Middle East within the next three years.
Recognising the growing appetite of Asian HNWIs for Middle East opportunities, the bank established a presence in Shanghai by setting up a representative office in 2007, to strengthen and help with investment and commercial activities between the two regions. UNB is working closely with investment houses and financial institutions in the Asia-Pacific region and aims to continue developing these mutually beneficial relationships. The bank manages two mutual funds, Al Samaha Islamic Fund and Al-Itihad Fund, designed for long-term capital growth with focused investments in large UAE companies and promising corporations within the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) market.
"Asian investors can take advantage of our network," Abdeen says. "We've been operating for more than 30 years and have connections with everyone here. We know where the best opportunities are in our emerging markets, either in the broad MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region or in the GCC." The bank plans to focus on providing more fixed-income products in the short term, maximising opportunities that the MENA region and especially the GCC have to offer in this asset class. The PB&WMD is committed to develop its platform and provide its clients with a growing spectrum of financial solutions that match UNB's ambition to be one of the top financial services players in the region.