The Business Year

Naif Mesned Al-Mesned

SAUDI ARABIA - Finance

Naif Mesned Al-Mesned

CEO & MD, Aljazira Capital

Bio

Naif Mesned Al-Mesned formerly served as the Managing Director of Wealth Management at NCB Capital. Naif is well versed in the securities business sector in the kingdom, with diversified experience in the field. He served prominent positions in Barclays Investment Bank in Saudi, the Capital Market Authority and Ernst &Young. During his Journey, Naif has developed seasoned capabilities in developing and implementing corporate and business strategies for success of organizations.

TBY talks to Naif Mesned Al-Mesned, CEO & MD of Aljazira Capital, about the company’s activities, successful projects, and plans for the year to come.

Can you introduce Aljazira Capital to our readers?

Aljazira Capital (“AJC”) is the investment arm of Bank AlJazira (“BAJ”). It is a full-fledged investment bank, licensed by the Capital Markets Authority (“CMA”) to conduct all regularized securities business activities in Saudi Arabia. We started as a brokerage house for the Saudi market; we were, in fact, amongst the first in Saudi. We maintained leadership in the brokerage market for several years, and still operate as a prominent broker in KSA, holding position among the top five brokers in terms of market share despite the fierce competition and increasing number of players. More importantly, we have a clear vision and plan to expand our product offerings, in brokerage and other business line, to achieve the aimed diversification of the organization’s products and services. We are particularly keen to expand on the asset and wealth management side, providing proper and diversified investment solutions. In such as a striving effort, AJC started to facilitate transactions across a much wider value propositions that were formerly exclusive or catered for by specific players in the market.. This will allow us to enhance the well-being of targeted client segments by supporting their investment needs for the coming years. As such, We have a long term commitment towards our clients’ needs, at the heart of which is transparency. Therefore,  we consider investing in step with our clients as our root philosophy. I assumed the position of CEO back in March 2021, and my particular interest is to expand into additional business lines and support the team’s activities to position AJC as the prominent diversified Islamic Investment Capital of KSA that offers integrated investment solutions to our clients. Hence, we intend to maintain our position as a leading brokerage house, and to capitalize more on the digital side of the business. We are, also, keen to innovate and come up with new solutions in other business lines that meet the diverse needs of our clients and will allow us not only to consolidate, but also expand our market position. 

In the local market, what important projects have you completed and what do you have in the pipeline?


We are currently working on diversifying our investment solutions, which is focused on the local and international arena. To achieve this objective, we decided to pursue a comprehensive investment program and commenced its execution in Q4, 2021. In formulating our investment strategy, we defined particular segments of interest to focus on. In the Asset Management space, we have launched one of the unique real estate development Private fund aiming to develop residential units in Riyadh in partnership with Mohammed & Mosab Abdullah Alajlan Investment Company (“Alajlan Riviera”). We—as a financial institution—are committed to the development of the housing sector in KSA, in-line with Vision 2030 initiatives. In addition, we are the first and perhaps the only financial institution to have introduced an asset backed sale-leaseback transaction where the underlying assets are local gas stations: this was over a USD100 million transaction with the Saudi Automotive Services Co. (“SASCO”), one of the most respected listed companies. There are numerous reforms concerning gas stations and their maintenance. Accordingly, we identified this as a great opportunity for our investors. I would also draw your attention to two recent transactions in strategic and prime locations in Riyadh involving multi-purpose buildings, confirming our commitment to the local real estate market and asserting our position as a pioneer company in local real estate investments.   
In the Advisory space, we were the Financial Advisor, Lead Manager, Bookrunner and Underwriter for the IPO of Naqi Water Company in Saudi Stock Exchange, the Kingdom’s first bottled water production company to go public on the Saudi Stock Exchange Main Market. We were also appointed by Alajlan Riviera as a Financial Advisor for its planned IPO in the Saudi Stock Exchange. This exemplifies our activities in the local market during 2022. 

How are you working to expand your business beyond national borders?

Internationally, we have concluded a transaction to acquire seven Built to Suit logistics assets in the US, leased to FedEx Ground Package System Inc. for around 15 years. Moreover, we have offered our clients an opportunity to participate in an income generating, asset backed opportunity in agricultural finance in Australia. These two investment opportunities will give our clients exposure to international income generating investments with attractive cash distributions. Meanwhile, we have about 10 international deals in the pipeline that are perfectly in tune with our diversification strategy, and that include Pre-IPO, private credit, leasing, venture capital and real estate opportunities. At AJC, we do not act as a distributor of investment opportunities presented to us by other international investment houses. Alternatively, we identify unique investment opportunities, underwrite them and later invite investors to participate in these investments. Our main focus is the US markets and to some extent the UK market. We are also looking closely at the GCC region as opportunities are developing extremely quickly in the region.

How do you educate your existing and potential partners regarding your services and solutions?


As far as market education is concerned, technology is helping us considerably to reach and communicate with our clients and partners. We have designed a program called “10+” that caters to the mass and affluent segments alike. The program is about enhancing the financial and business knowledge to meet the common need of the society. The name “10+” comes from the idea that we want people to start investing at least 10 percent of their income at an early stage. These are the solvent and defining roles of the themes of “10+”. We intend to make “10+” digital platform ready by Q4, 2022. Clients, through this digital platform, can get on-boarded and start investing. Online contact will be available with relationship managers and investment advisors. There will also be a tailor-made service to advise clients on how to virtually invest their money throughout their journey. As part of our commitment to the educational component, we have hired a special team not only to develop the digital platform, but also to educate community about our service.  The educational component is fundamental, we are building a strong network involving universities, government institutions, and foundations.

What is the main target set in your agenda for the short term?

My first priority is the focus on diversification of products and services offered through AJC. We are also re-visiting our approach to the market, designing and launching new initiatives for the local and international markets. Meanwhile, we will continue to cultivate our human capital. It is important for me that our people are comfortable working with us, motivated and enthusiastic. Second, we want to remain among the leading investment banks that employ financial technology houses in Saudi Arabia. And third, we will continue to confirm that we are always there for our clients. We want to enhance and boost the way we communicate with our clients and the wider community. 

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