The Business Year

KW23_EC_KAMCO_Faisal Sarkhou_PORTRAIT

KUWAIT - Economy

Faisal Mansour Sarkhou

Group CEO, Kamco Invest

Bio

Faisal Mansour Sarkhou was appointed Group CEO of KAMCO Invest in 2014. He has extensive experience in investment services namely investment banking and asset management and joined the company in 2000. He has held several managerial positions including head of corporate finance and head of financial services and investments. Earlier in his career Sarkhou was a member of the corporate finance team at KPMG in Kuwait. He sits on the board of several companies, is a member of advisory boards and executive committees, and is a prominent speaker at various investment forums. Sarkhou holds a BSc economics degree with honors from the University of Birmingham, UK and an EMBA with distinction from HEC Paris, France.

"The most important factor is the clear vision and mission that we share across the entire organization."
KAMCO Invest has grown to become one of the key players in the regional financial services sector and the sixth-largest asset manager in the MENA region according to Forbes.
What strategies have underpinned KAMCO Invest’s success as the company expands?

The most important factor is the clear vision and mission that we share across the entire organization. Our vision and mission lay a foundation for the five-year plan, budgeting strategies, and yearly revisions based upon progress achieved. We adopt a periodic theme to fit our strategy and early 2022 we focused on collaboration, cooperation and support one another. COVID was a challenging period, which helped us see that through cooperation we can overcome any challenges and were able to continue growing our client base and our asset under management. Today, our AUM stands at USD12.9 billion, making us the sixth-largest asset manager in the MENA region (Forbes ME ranking 2022).

What sustainable strategies and ESG approaches have you been working on?

There are many elements under the ESG umbrella, and we take care of our stakeholders and the wider society. KAMCO Invest was the first investment company in Kuwait to join the UN Global Compact initiative which is in line with our efforts to strengthen our business model by incorporating the UN SDGs within our business functions. This stems from our belief in its 10 principles which are integral to our core values. We are also committed to the Women Empowerment Principles in support of the UN sustainability goals. We published our first sustainability report for 2021 showcasing the company’s continued commitment across environmental, social, economic, and governance aspects. In addition, we focus on being a more transparent organization and our digital platform is designed to suit a diversity of customers. Recently we have also provided regular support for universities, building Kuwait University’s common area for the finance society. Meanwhile, since the first sustainability report, we have introduced many changes both internally and externally. Our entire activity is digitalized with an environmental orientation.

What are the main advantages of the digital route and your new app?

In the digital arena and during COVID-19, we successfully managed the company offsite. One is today able to sign memos anywhere in the world through DocuSign and other systems. One can apply for leave and do everything else online. Building on that, we wanted to ease the journey of our investors by solving some of their challenges as, from a regulatory perspective, you need to stringently know your customer (KYC). Digitizing that process and allowing clients to do it at their convenience was critical. Now, the KAMCO Invest App allows them to learn how to update documents and helps us communicate with them directly and instantly. We need to do this from a compliance perspective for all our clients. This is part of the strict regulations of Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority. We focus on the client journey to make their life easier, digitizing their interaction with us, and their ability to review reports and make requests online rather than calling someone. Currently, we are in phase two, where we enable people to invest in our products. Today, having a mobile civil ID in Kuwait allows anybody to open an account digitally with access to our mutual funds, which rank first and second among conventional funds and first for Islamic funds in the Kuwaiti stock market.

What are your plans to develop the app?

We hold public sessions to educate people on investments and financial literacy. Introducing more education-based content onto the app may occur over the coming years. From a technological perspective, creating content is an undertaking in itself. KAMCO Invest is the only company in the country with a fully-fledged research team with a substantial output on the app. We are creating reports on the energy sector, real estate, and banking, and provide daily and weekly market color. We have two types of research, the buy-side, and the sell-side, which is not client-centric. All of these contribute to KAMCO Invest’s ability to provide comprehensive and useful support for our stakeholders, and all interested parties.

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