Kamco Invest CEO: What began as a business expansion opportunity became a historic achievement
- Our goal was to create a larger, stronger & more resilient non-banking financial powerhouse.
- We have a wealth of highly talented individuals who play a pivotal role in achieving key targets
Following Kamco Invest’s recent acquisition of Global, leading to the creation of one of the region’s biggest investment powerhouses, KIPCOLife sat down with the company’s CEO, Mr Faisal Sarkhou, to discuss how this happened and what the acquisition aims to accomplish.
What was the business rationale behind the KAMCO-Global merger?
The business rationale behind the merger was to continue building on the company’s growth and expansion strategy that was initiated back in 2014. Our goal was to become larger and a more competitive investment company in the local and regional markets, offering clients an integrated set of investment solutions, a wealth of expertise and advanced systems that are in line with the best international standards within our sector.
By combining the accumulated expertise and market knowledge shared between the two companies, our goal was to create a larger, stronger, and more resilient non-banking financial powerhouse. We recognized that the merger would present us with a strategic opportunity to further leverage our resources, enhance shareholder returns, provide opportunities to a multi-cultural pool of talent, capture synergies arising from economies of scale and expand our network through regional offices in key markets.
What has the combined talent of the two entities brought to Kamco Invest?
Through the fair, scientific and transparent principle and approach carried out with the assistance of the merger advisor A&M and the human resources consulting firm Mercer, we were able to restructure our organizational chart, assess and combine the best talents of both organizations, aligning individual and departmental objectives with our corporate vision. Today, Kamco Invest enjoys a wealth of highly talented individuals that are playing a pivotal role in achieving key targets that have proven to be highly beneficial for the company. This has allowed Kamco Invest to widen its areas of expertise and capitalize on a multitude of local, regional and international opportunities. The company now offers a wider range of diverse funds, a brokerage service through Oula Wasata, additional bespoke asset management and investment banking services, with one of the region’s largest assets under management.
What were some of the challenges you faced during the merger and what has been the greatest takeaway from this exercise?
Given that the merger was the first of its kind in the local market, we faced some challenges in completing the regulatory requirements to finalize the merger process. With the support and guidance of the regulatory bodies, we were able to overcome these challenges efficiently with success. Other challenges we faced, which are more common when executing such transaction, entailed the blending of two company’s systems, processes and cultures, identifying the steps to ensure a smooth transition before, during and after the merger. We overcame most of these challenges through a rigorous multi-step process that included employee assessments, the formulation of an integrated management office and with the assistance of our consultants. The greatest takeaway from this exercise is that with proper planning and the right resources, we can overcome the challenges and obstacles that appear in our path towards achieving our goals. What began as an opportunity to expand the business, led to a memorable achievement in Kamco Invest’s history.
This merger has significantly increased the size of the investment company you lead. What doors does that open for the company, both at the local and regional levels?
Locally, we have expanded our offerings and currently manage some of the top performing funds in Kuwait. As a larger entity capable of executing complex and high caliber transactions, we aim to collaborate with the largest players in the private sector and take on more government projects. Through the added benefits and resources gained from the merger, we have re-enforced our position as one of the leading investment companies in Kuwait. Regionally, we have a stronger reach through our offices and greater accessibility to our products and for regional clients. This allows us to strengthen our brand in the countries we operate in and reinforce our position as a key regional player.
How have your pre-merger clients benefitted from this? What efforts did you make to ensure that Global’s clientele remain onboard?
When initiating the merger process, we focused on communicating with and listening to the clients by maintaining clear communication through various channels to ensure that we can continue to deliver services that meet and exceed their expectations. We carried out several feedback sessions, shared customer satisfaction surveys and contacted the clients individually to learn more about their views once the merger was completed. This allowed us to connect with each client and address their concerns prior to the completion date of the merger. Pre-merger clients were able to benefit from the valuable resources that were gained through the process. Ultimately, we combined the best of both companies, fine-tuned our offerings, and enhanced our efficiency to deliver a refined business model capable of fulfilling the needs of our diverse client base.
What is next for Kamco Invest?
Post-merger, our key objectives for 2020 were to complete the integration of our systems and processes, as well as push for significant digitization both internally and for the enhancement of our client’s experience. We are also always on the lookout for new opportunities in different markets, whether regional or international, to expand our scope of work and implement our strategy through a flexible organizational structure that can adapt to new markets and rapid growth. Additionally, we will continue to focus on bringing in new business to our comprehensive range of investment products and services that cover asset management, investment banking and brokerage.