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SA24_FI_SUKUK_AbdulazizAlsayyari_PIC

SAUDI ARABIA - Finance

Abdulaziz Alsayyari

Founder & CEO, Sukuk Capital

Bio

Abdulaziz Alsayyari is one of the Fintech leaders and founder of Sukuk Capital.
 As he believes that Fintech is a destination and not a stop in the journey, Abdulaziz founded Sukuk after gaining experience through working at CMA in its strategy department and Fintech Lab, along with his experience as a director of corporate financing in Manafa Capital.

"Sukuk Capital received its license from the Capital Market Authority in November 2020 and started its operations in May 2021. We issue sukuk for SMEs and list them in our platform for investors."
TBY talks to Abdulaziz Alsayyari, Founder & CEO of Sukuk Capital, about the firm’s operations, expansion plans, and the fintech environment in Saudi Arabia.
Can you elaborate on Sukuk Capital’s role, operations, and services in Saudi Arabia?

Sukuk Capital received its license from the Capital Market Authority in November 2020 and started its operations in May 2021. We issue sukuk for SMEs and list them in our platform for investors. We started with Alabeer hospital before moving on to the education, construction, trading, and events management sectors. Some of the companies we have financed include the organization that sponsored the Formula One event in Jeddah, Interhealth Hospital, and various other companies. We currently have more than 100 companies in our portfolio and have made more than 450 repayment transactions to our investors without any defaults. The unique proposition that differentiates Sukuk Capital is its paperless process of financing; with the digitalization of the process, it only takes 10 days to issue sukuk.

How does Sukuk Capital partner with banks?

As Saudi Arabia moves toward fintech, banks are also eager to be part of the change. We currently partner with ANB Bank, which handles the virtual wallets for our investors, which they can transfer their money to from any other bank and thus invest. However, we are keen to expand our partnership with banks in order to reach more customers. For example, the biggest bank in Saudi Arabia has over 10 million clients, and these clients might be able to invest in sukuk directly from their bank account page. We have no problem collaborating with everyone in the market. At the end of the day, we are all working together to boost the local economy.

What was the factor behind the launch of your application?

Our app is for investors who want to invest in our sukuk opportunities, be they in real estate or other sectors. We launched our app simultaneously with our financing solutions to finance real estate developers, and the goal is to use the app to ensure the best user experience for our investors. In just two weeks, more than 70,000 investors downloaded our app. Sukuk Capital has two types of investors: professional and retail investors. For the former, the average ticket size is about SAR59,000, while the average ticket size for the latter group is around SAR2,000. Since we started, 65% of our investment has come from professional investors and 35% from retail investors. We are looking to cover all possible opportunities and supply the demand in the market.

What are Sukuk Capital’s expansion plans for the future?

We want to expand regionally and internationally; however, this is a more long-term target and only if the opportunity arises. Still, it depends on the market because the SME financing market in Saudi Arabia is currently worth around SAR220 billion, while the estimated gap in the SME financing market is around SAR130 billion. Since we started, we have financed SAR1.6 billion, which is less than 1% of the financing gap. Even if we double or triple our work, we will only reach 1% of the total market. This is the main reason why it is not essential to expand to other markets at this time.

How would you assess the evolution of the fintech industry in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia has one of the best digital infrastructures in the world. The government provides the data and APIs to integrate, and this helps us offer more products in the market to all sectors. This is the central pillar that helps us grow in technology. People are now talking about digital banks, and we are using the bank that enables most transactions to be done through the platform. Saudi Arabia has excellent infrastructure for tech companies that will enable it to become a major technology hub.

What are Sukuk Capital’s short-term goals?

We started 2023 with multiple goals and have achieved most of them in just three months. We wanted to launch our app, Ejara sukuk, and real estate financing. Next year, we will focus more on scaling up. We have invested SAR1.6 billion in total since we started, but our new target is doing SAR1.6 billion in the next six months; however, our key focus will be on scaling up and partnering with other entities to grow further.

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