Aug. 25, 2015

Abdullah Hamad Al Fozan

Saudi Arabia

Abdullah Hamad Al Fozan

Chairman, Middle East and South Asia at KPMG

TBY talks to Abdullah Hamad Al Fozan, Chairman of Middle East and South Asia at KPMG, on the prospects for potential investors as well as key sectors and strategies for the future.


Abdullah Hamad Al Fozan is currently the Chairman and Senior Partner of KPMG’s member firm in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he is also the Chairman for KPMG’s Middle East & South Asia (MESA) region, and serves as the MESA representative on KPMG’s Global Board.

From a regulatory standpoint, what advantages are there in Saudi Arabia for prospective foreign investors?

It is important to see the country in a historical light. In the past 10 years, KPMG has basically transformed investment completely. The Foreign Investment Act, Capital Market Authority, and more than 25-30 legal platforms have been established to ensure business prosperity is granted. Today, we have a complete platform of legal framework. The judiciary platform has improved considerably over the last 10 years with King Abdullah's project to develop the legal system here. We have come a long way in terms of the improvement in business and civil courts; however, we are still in the process of improvement. We must develop the platform to meet demand from local and international investors. The company is in a strong position in terms of adapting these practices and creating a platform for investors.

How do you leverage KPMG's global reach to better suite your clients locally in the market?

KPMG International is a global network of independent member firms with more than 162,000 people around the world in 154 countries. What the network can provide to an investor globally is that before they move any money we can provide a full due diligence of the investment environments, the investment platform, the opportunities within the country, and if they decide to invest we provide the logistics and supports starting with obtaining the license to operate within the country through the foreign investment act or we will establish a corporate structure and go through the whole operation cycle. We can take out the hassle for the investor by using our network. We are independent trusted advisors. We work to provide a clear picture of what is happening in the country and what might happen in the future. We serve our clients based on what is good for them.

What sectors within the economy has the most interest from perspective foreign investors?

All sectors are lucrative for investors. Approximately 60% of our population is below 25. GDP per capita increased from $13,000 in 2006 to $18,000 in 2015. All the sector services, tourism in religious areas, healthcare, education, and technology, will grow. Carbon and petrochemicals are already transforming to downstream and value-added industries. Any company that can provide services that help the country meet its demands in terms of providing quality services for the population of Saudi Arabia where the business community will be successful. Our economy is growing and has been growing. The companies are looking for areas where they can grow. This is the right time to be investing in Saudi Arabia.

What are KPMG's targets or expectations in Saudi Arabia for the remainder of this year?

Our strategy for 2015 it to be the “Clear Choice" for our clients and our people. We will continue to be client focused and aligned to client and national priorities. Second, we want to ensure our people understand and are ready for regulation changes. We want them to maintain and improve the quality side our business to be able to add incremental value to our clients. Therefore, we have plans to conduct a lot of training to safeguard our plans and make sure that our people are on the right page. A key focus for our firm is to develop and retain Saudi talent. Third, we have a 40% target for reaching Saudization by the end of the year, which we are on target to achieve. We have short-term objectives for the year and the good thing is that economy's numbers are helping us to reach our main targets and objectives. The key message for anyone interested in investing in Saudi Arabia is to understand and appreciate the ground realities in the Kingdom; at times you get to hear negative press in the International media about the opportunities in the Kingdom. In reality, we have a strong economy and strong government, and we are in a leadership position both in the Arab and wider Muslim worlds. Saudi Arabia is a member of the G20 and its name is known everywhere, not only because of its political power but also because of its economic power.