Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
I co-founded 3i Capital Group in 1997 after years of working in the industry. After graduating from the US, I worked for a number of world class financial institutions in the areas of venture capital and private equity.
What does your role involve?
As managing partner, I am responsible for setting the goals and objectives of the organization. Working with the three other partners, one in each continent, provides us with unmatched depth of expertise and knowledge of the financial world and its dynamics. For instance, this year the group launched Enmaa’ as a global Shariah compliant public mutual fund in order to fill a huge vacuum in the Gulf region. Working with organizations such as HSBC Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank and others provides us with strong credibility, along with a tremendous platform for steady growth.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
To be where we are today is my greatest achievement to date. It is like a building a pyramid where each block is a stepping stone into a higher level. I also take pride in the team of partners and professionals in our organization who support the growing need to provide the best service we can provide to our investors.
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
Our focus is on two areas. One is investment banking, where we help companies to raise capital through different means to continue to grow. The second is asset management, where we provide the public with mutual funds aimed at achieving capital growth with minimal risk.
What are the strengths of your business?
First, the team. The four partners’ tremendous experience and diversified background really are unmatched. The partners are: Yousef Amin (London), Tarek Heiba (US) and Dr Akram Yosri (New York/Dubai).
Secondly, the advisors: Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia and finance minister, and others on the board.
Thirdly, the strategic partners such as HSBC Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank and The National Investor, amongst others.
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
Our group enjoys a wealth of expertise that lies in two key areas: investment banking and asset management. On the investment banking side, we work with companies not only seeking capital, but also seeking a clearer direction.
We do this on a strictly confidential basis and, in many cases, we play the role of an arranger for large private offerings. Also, the fact that we have a presence in the Pacific rim (Malaysia) and the Middle East (Dubai) provides us with tremendous access to opportunities.
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
First is adapting to market conditions and secondly, consumer demands. Volatility in the current market conditions require that we move with caution, but at the same time with aggressiveness.
Also, we find that today’s investor is more demanding of profitability and at the same time not as willing to accept risks as in the past. However, we believe that we have found the formula to achieve both objectives at the same time.
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry, maybe in the next five years?
There is no doubt that this industry will witness unprecedented growth in the next five years. We see signs of that already. The big financial institutions are committing tremendous resources in that direction, and we believe that others will follow suit.
We also see ourselves well positioned to be one of the innovative leaders in the industry.
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance?
For one thing, the industry as a whole needs to be better positioned by extending the breadth and depth of its product offerings.
Secondly, institutions need to reach out to the market in a more aggressive way at the retail level. For example, our recently launched Shariah compliant fund Enmaa’ is the first public fund of its kind in the UAE. It’s hard to believe that is the case, but it is.
There is a tremendous opportunity for growth provided that the industry moves in the right direction.
3i Capital Group was founded in 1997 as an asset management and investment banking boutique with a focus on innovative product offerings and complex deal-making.
The group has advised and managed in excess of US$2 billion in assets. The firm’s client list includes multi-billion dollar international companies as well as banking institutions in the US, Europe, the Far East and the Middle East.