Jan. 11, 2015

M.P.K. Merali

UAE, Dubai

M.P.K. Merali

Group Managing Partner, Merali’s Chartered Accountants&Registered Auditors


M.P.K. Merali is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales, a Certified Public Accountant in Kenya and Zambia, as well as an Associate Member of the Institute of Taxation in the UK. Currently an Executive Partner of the Baker Tilly Meralis Group, he is the Regional Head for Middle East and South East Asia, and takes the lead as the group’s International and Financial Consultant. He also sits on the boards of three Saudi-owned Investment Funds, as well as being the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of a Turkish retail chain.

Since 2013, what have been the major developments in terms of trends and economic developments that you have witnessed?

Dubai, as you know, has transformed, leaving its difficult years behind. The Expo 2020 win for Dubai is a significant milestone, and this will definitely translate into exponential growth across a wide array of sectors, namely hospitality, tourism, trade, shipping/logistics, and real estate. It was a catalyst for a further bright outlook for the jurisdiction. Attracting international investors has been an integral part of the economic development strategy here. Dubai has created an ideal real estate investment environment, which draws scores of investors worldwide. It is a fantastically strategic location and has a world-class infrastructure and service sector. It has got political and economic stability, an open and free economic system, and its e-commerce on realty is phenomenal.

It has been said that SMEs will become the backbone of the economy of the UAE, especially in light of the coming Expo 2020. What is your view about the subject?

While optimism runs high across the whole of the economy, it is particularly high among SMEs, as was reflected in the 1Q2014 business survey conducted by the Department of Economic Development. Economic activity in Dubai is on firmer ground now, especially in key sectors such as tourism and aviation. It is also flourishing in real estate, which is really on a swift recovery path. The services and retail sectors are also signaling strong growth, which reaffirms Dubai's reputation as a vibrant economy. Rising confidence among SMEs shows that the combined efforts of the government and the private sector to achieve sustainable economic development are producing the desired outcomes. In any developing jurisdiction, SMEs are the most important component, and Dubai is no different.

Which segments of the economy would you say are ripe for investment?

Real estate and tourism are at the fore. Once there is growth, it continues to self-replicate. We have hypermarkets and supermarkets, but we are yet to see a quality discount store. This jurisdiction, along with its neighboring jurisdictions, will provide quality discounts, which will then provide economic benefits as that will allow people to have more funds to spend on other products and services. Efficiency is the key word. And competition is always good.

What are your plans for the future, and what roles do you think you will be playing in the development of the economy?

There have to be checks and balances, and that is where we come in. Our mission is to help our clients by implementing a professional and individualistic approach. The work ethic at the firm is based on hard work, honesty, and trust. The firm has grown to its current position through organic growth. The success of the firm's growth has always been the importance of our commitment to treating clients as individuals. We may grow in size and stature, but the personal relationship between the principals and our clients remains paramount. Our approach to professional development is that learning and personal improvement are extremely relevant to all our employees. This is another reason why we are sustaining our importance in the community; we put a great deal of effort into educating our colleagues. We are one of the few to have received a Platinum Approved Employer award by the ACCA on training. One of the most important aspects about Merali's is we do not compromise on quality. Business here could have gone to any of the big four, but companies and individuals feel confident working with us. Birds of a feather flock together. That is why we have such a good team.