RECOGNIZED BY EU AND US DEBT COLLECTION

Dubai 2020 | FINANCE | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ayman Al Wadi, Group Executive Chairman of Al Wadi Holding, on over 20 years of operations, debt collection, and the effects of the 100%-Foreign Ownership law.

Can you provide more details on the company's operations?

We are experienced since 1997 in this industry, and due to the market need and the lack of professional standards in the Debt Management Industry, Al Wadi Holding was born. Today we are proud to state that Al Wadi Holding will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in 2019. We decided to bring different companies under one umbrella in 2009. We started to provide debt management, which includes several solutions. Initially we were providing B2B & B2C services. However, we noticed that there was a huge demand for B2B and since we are experts in this field, we decided to have more focus. We provide solutions through direct and indirect partners in 194 countries. Under Al Wadi Debt Management, we have domestic & Cross Border where we provide collections, skip tracing, consultation, training and outsource. We provide Legal Debt Collection through our associate lawyers. We have Al Wadi Business Advisory & Risk Management and Al Wadi Translation Services. This allows us to provide 360-degree business support and corporate excellence to our valued clients and partners. Our main goal in providing legal debt collection, was to have a one stop corporate solution which is not only the unique product that we created but which also adds tremendous value to the economy at large. This service involves debt collection through litigation, and it has been extremely successful. Both these arms have local and international clients, and we define ourselves as “Glocal.” We are a recognized partner with FENCA (Federation of European National Collection Associations), IACC (The American International Association of Commercial Collectors) and many other associations worldwide. Most of these members depend on us to handle their debt collection in GCC & MENA region. Likewise, we also avail their services in the respective regions.

Where do most of your clients come from?

Over the past years we have had clients from most of the regions. However, the major clientele apart from our Local Hub ranges from Europe, China & America, which includes major corporates in most of the industries.

How would you compare the debt collection environment in Dubai to other parts of the world?

Debt Management Industry which is greatly linked to the backbone of the economy has to be more regulated when compared to some regions of the world. One of our goals is to upgrade our standards. There is no association for debt management in the entire MENA region. We are working closely with the international associations and global authorities to build a Debt Management Association in this region.

Before the 100% foreign ownership law, you were advising clients on the local partnership side of starting a business here. How has this law impacted your operations?

The vision of our wise leaders was to adapt to the needs of businesses. There were other changes that came with this, such as the 10-year visa. Overall, more flexibility was introduced. This was a leap here; no other country in the region had done this before, and UAE was the leader. Our core business was not affected. There are many instances of a foreign company with an amazing business model that wants to come to UAE, and our Business Advisory & Risk Management goes through every aspect of their business plan to ensure that the regulations are complied with, the type of credit to provide, and how to mitigate the risk. We advise these companies on whether it is better to establish in the free zone, or mainland in any Emirates. Even the most successful foreign companies have a learning curve to go through when establishing in UAE.

Where do you see the biggest potential for your foreign clients?

We have direct and indirect partners in 194 countries. we are receiving business partners regularly from different countries, looking at the infrastructure, easy government regulation to do business, the advanced legal system and high security in the UAE; they plan to settle, build their own business and purchase properties. A common question we receive is “How can I acquire a trading license here?” Such questions show that companies are seriously thinking about having a presence here. Due to our expertise and long experience in the region we are instrumental in helping them to achieve this goal. This is a sign that global investors' interest across all areas of the economy is high.

What is your outlook for 2020?

Expo 2020 will be an outstanding achievement. It was a challenge to be accepted and is an exceptional achievement. Though the EXPO will last for six months, in all realities the Leaders have a long- term plan which is looking beyond the six months of the EXPO. We are having a ripple effect of new technologies for the Expo. The economic impact will be positive on all levels. For AL WADI Holding, we will continue with our long-term plans for advisory on risk, business management, debt management, and legal debt Management solutions. Our vision for 2020 is also to expand and extend extensively our solutions into Saudi Arabia due to the market demand that we have noticed in the recent year. We have a positive outlook for the future, although we are aware of the challenges ahead.