FUNDING PRINCIPLES

Sharjah 2015 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Waleed Al Sayegh, CEO of Sharjah Asset Management, on attracting investment in Sharjah, managing for the future, and supporting the growth of SMEs.

Waleed Al Sayegh
BIOGRAPHY
Waleed Al Sayegh is the Director General of the Finance Department (Government of Sharjah), and the Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah Asset Management, the investment arm of the Government of Sharjah. He is also a Member of the Board of Directors of Sharjah Holding, a Member of the Board of Directors of Tilal Properties, and sits on the Fiscal Policy Committee at the Ministry of Finance, UAE. He was awarded Director of the Year 2001 for the Sharjah Airport Authority by the Government of Sharjah. He holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Lincoln, in England.

How and when did Sharjah Asset Management come into being? Can you tell us something of its primary role as an organization?

Sharjah Asset Management was nurtured through the Government of Sharjah Finance Department several years ago evolved in 2014 into an investment arm of the Government (as a limited liability company). Its mission is to establish a world-class team of dedicated professionals working within best-in-class processes in order to maximize returns on investment and asset management activities, creating future reserves and achieving economic benefits for the people of Sharjah.

Sharjah fosters a business-friendly investment climate with excellent infrastructure. In what particular ways does Sharjah Asset Management seek to build on this reputation?

Sharjah Asset Management seeks to support and build upon the excellent business culture and investment foundations laid by the Government of Sharjah. Our objectives are in alignment with the Sharjah Vision of being a highly developed and rising social and economic and world cultural radiance center derived from its strong Arabic and Islamic identity. Sharjah Asset Management seeks to enhance the Government of Sharjah's reputation by remaining transparent, dedicated, and results orientated to deliver on the Government's vision through a small but dedicated professional team. We believe that our collective reputation is measured by its people and to deliver on our promises. This is a cornerstone of our business culture integrity.

Sharjah Asset Management holds stakes in various companies, many of them listed on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange. Which are the most significance growth sectors in this respect?

Sharjah Asset Management's business is highly diversified with shares listed on both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges. Its primary interests are in banking, aviation, retail, industry, commerce, master-planned communities, technology, oil and gas, telecoms, and logistics. As we progress forward our expectations will continue to focus upon these primary sectors while also prudently sourcing new opportunities in emerging markets that benefit the company's vision.

To what extent is Sharjah Asset Management reaching out to overseas investors?

Sharjah Asset Management is active in the Asia-Pacific markets with direct investments in China, Singapore, and Australia. It is through these business networks and the diversity of our other business operations that we will continue to actively seek opportunities for further business involvement outside of the Emirate and to benefit our diversification while also attracting investment to the Emirate.

Where do you see Sharjah Asset Management five years from now? What are your plans for the medium to long term, and how confident are you for the future of Sharjah as a hub for business and investment?

The Emirate of Sharjah hosts 47,000 SMEs. Sharjah Asset Management has a role to provide support and add value to these businesses through its own activities This includes, in the coming years, the creation of master-planned land holdings that support these businesses' growth and improve their international competitiveness while also supporting the Government's initiative for the urban regeneration of the City. Complimentary to this, Sharjah Asset Management will continue to diversify its investments in the Emirate and internationally while further fostering and expanding its business networks in order to further generate income and prosperity for the Emirate of Sharjah.