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Kamco

KUWAIT, KUWAIT - Economy

Faisal Mansour Sarkhou

CEO, Kamco Invest

Bio

Faisal Mansour Sarkhou was appointed CEO of Kamco Invest in 2014. He has extensive experience in investment services, namely investment banking and asset management. Sarkhou joined the company in 2000 and has held several managerial positions including head of corporate finance and head of financial services and investments. Earlier in his career, he was a member of the corporate finance team at KPMG in Kuwait. He sits on the board of several reputable institutions and is a member of advisory boards and committees. Sarkhou is a prominent speaker at numerous conferences and forums related to management, investment, finance, and other topics pertaining to the financial sector.

"Despite facing challenges this past year, Kamco Invest continued the strategy of being the regional non-banking leader."
Kamco Invest is forging ahead with its regional leadership strategy, expanding operations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and launching a UK office focusing on alternative investments, including in real estate.
What are some of the recent milestones for Kamco Invest?

Despite facing challenges this past year, Kamco Invest continued the strategy of being the regional non-banking leader. We enhanced our presence in Saudi Arabia by appointing a new CEO and expanded our operations both in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Our strategy continues to be regionally focused, particularly in bolstering our assets under management. In 2023, we marked a significant milestone by launching our London office that will initially focus on alternative investments, particularly in real estate. On the investment banking front, we have been active and continued to grow with total deals reaching USD36.4 billion since inception. Our efforts have been especially notable in equity and debt capital market transactions within the banking sector. In 2024, we successfully managed four capital increases, three of which were for major Kuwaiti banks, and a few bond issuances. Additionally, we were actively involved in several M&A transactions. On the asset management side, our focus remains on regional growth and maintaining our leading position in the country. This is significant given the generally negative market conditions, yet we have successfully grown our assets under management by almost 8% to reach USD14.9 billion.

How does Kamco Invest strategically navigate the complex high-interest rate landscape?

In 2024, we expect to see interest rate cuts in line with the policies adopted by the US Fed. Looking back, 2023 was a year of expensive borrowing for investors and companies, and mixed performances on the financial landscape. The Kuwaiti market declined by almost double digits till the end of the third quarter followed by a recovery during the fourth quarter. The decline in the market impacted many companies as well as investors’ wealth. On the real estate side, we have changed the strategy based on the economic fundamentals and launched different kinds of products. The strategy focuses on the credit side of real estate instead of looking at the equity side for our clients. Meanwhile, the primary fixed-income market has been active during the year with higher issuance of bonds and sukuk. However, the primary equity capital market was relatively quiet. On the other hand, the secondary market and the capital increases in banks were smooth and successful. In terms of interest rates, we believe the impact of higher rates will be evident in the year-end results for some of companies. In our case, we have rethought how we look at our client’s business, by offering new products and opportunities.

How does Kamco Invest plan to leverage the unique growth opportunities in the UK?

This was a strategic decision and a milestone for us. It reinforces our commitment to identifying excellent opportunities for our clients and executing and overseeing them. The real estate side is the primary focus. It is all about harnessing new opportunities, and access to a more diverse range of real estate investments while strengthening the global reach of our existing portfolio. In the UK and Europe, we have about USD800 million for our clients and our team in London will consider opportunities together with our team in Kuwait and the UAE.

What strategies drive Kamco Invest’s innovation?

We have accelerated the development of Kamco Invest App, which focuses on fine-tuning the client journey and strengthening the infrastructure. From the digital side, we are building our capabilities in-house. Our focus is on our clients’ digital journey and the ability to offer them data, information, and digital interactivity with Kamco Invest. That is one of our biggest strategic leverages in terms of driving innovation. We are also looking into how we can incorporate AI into what we are doing. For some of our new reports, we are using AI to summarize them in a two-minute video. Regarding technology, our strategic focus will be on client experience. We believe that the easier the client experience becomes and the more convenient their interaction with the company, we can attract more clients.

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