How has Saudi Fransi Capital embraced digitalization to continue being productive during the lockdown?
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and Capital Market Authority (CMA) reacted quickly in the past few years to enable the unlocking of digitalization by allowing financial institutions to onboard customers digitally. We have been working on this for the last two years to prepare our infrastructure to go entirely digital. When everything shut down, we did not face any interruptions and in fact acquired more customers. Interest was mounting on local and global equities. We have had so much business because we were ready for this, and we had a massive windfall as a result of that readiness. We have unlocked the most important pieces, which are basically customer interaction, online customer acquisition, and the maintenance of customer documentation online. When the pandemic occurred, we accelerated many of the remaining processes and came up with new concepts and processes to create an entire platform. We hope to deliver a brand-new digital space for our organization by 2021.
Where do you see revenues coming from in the coming year, given that some new issuances and IPOs are on hold for the time being?
Saudi Fransi Capital's business model is diverse. We have three lines of business. Our investment banking arm does IPOs, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions. Then, we have our platform that gives clients access to the capital markets locally and globally, so our clients can reach any stock market in the world. That is an area of our business that will benefit from our new platform. Last but not least is our asset management and wealth advisory service, mostly for private individuals to manage their liquidity and assets. You have to protect yourself through the diversification of your business, so you are not totally dependent on any one given product line. Second, as an investment bank attached to a commercial bank, in the past we had the advantage of the large client base the commercial bank brought us. Now, in the new digital space, we are not attached to the bank's clients, and we can attract clients from any bank and compete based on our platform, products, and services. ✖