PATIENCE IS KEY

Saudi Arabia 2021 | FINANCE | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Charles Garland, Partner of Claremont Arabia, on support services, financial planning, and strategic priorities for the year ahead.

Claremont Corporate Service provides a range of corporate support services for companies active on the Saudi market. What are your primary services, and what do you consider to be Claremont's distinct strengths?

Claremont's presence and operational capacity in Saudi Arabia, and the wider Middle East region, has been engineered to work as a corporate consultancy that primarily conducts reviews and analysis on corporate financial structures and processes. The analysis process is designed to highlight the costs and inefficiencies in a company's foreign exchange mechanism and international payments. We provide the analysis to our regulated partner entities that work in foreign exchange and merchant payments, they in turn evaluate where costs can be reduced and operational efficiency improved. This is our core service. Claremont's ultimate strength is the professional network of partner institutions, that we have constructed over the past 10 years, even before Claremont was incorporated. Being totally independent allows us to utilize the entire market place and not simply provide 'off the shelf' solutions. Our service across all divisions is tailored and personalized.

Claremont Arabia provides educational seminars on the changing landscape of financial planning and especially its effects on expats. What have been some of your recent themes, and what can we expect next to develop?

Claremont has two distinct divisions: Corporate Services and Private Client. In some areas, these divisions share common ground. Our private client division has worked closely with the British Embassy to provide information on crucial areas affecting expats while they assume an overseas position. We are currently in discussions with the Irish and Australian embassies to provide the same service. The vast majority of expat-employing companies provide little information when it comes to personal affairs. With the help of the embassy, we have provided clients with information on a number of issues; international mortgages, many expats struggle finding mortgages when earning overseas. Claremont works with hundreds of international mortgage companies to fill this gap in the market. We have held events on the effects of Brexit on EU and UK expats, and how that effects property purchases, exchange rates, residence and domicile issues, etc. We hosted a successful event about simply how expats send their money home, salary remittance, and the best way to save money on foreign exchange costs. Ultimately we believe, if you provide all of the relevant information, people generally make prudent decisions.

As a consultant with vast experience in Saudi Arabia, what are your key recommendations for companies that are interested in setting up operations here?

Time is a commodity that must not be underestimated in Saudi Arabia. The country is currently moving extremely fast, and businesses trying to board the Saudi freight train will either be carried on the locomotive of enthusiasm, investment and progress or simply bounce straight back off. Preparation for market entry is fundamental and, ultimately, aligning with a suitable and influential partner, well-versed in the market you wish to approach, is the core to success here in Saudi Arabia. Trust must be earned through knowledge, awareness, and results. Patience is key. Inshallah is much more than just a word.

What are your strategic priorities and ambitions for the years ahead?

Our priority in the corporate division is to simply provide our analysis service to as many companies as possible. From coffee importers to construction companies, we hope to work with companies of all types and sizes. Our service is heavily required by “company incubators" and agencies that are bringing international companies into Saudi Arabia. We see a huge need for these companies to have a cost-effective method of moving their funds into Saudi Arabia. Another priority is to set up our event schedule for the private client business for the year ahead. We are excited and optimistic about 2020 and look forward to growing the team with our new local partner, we are very excited about working closely with her to grow our client base in the Kingdom.