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KUWAIT - Finance

Saleh Saleh Al-Selmi

Chairman, Union of Investment Companies (UIC)


Saleh Saleh Al-Selmi has over 35 years of expertise in the field of financial advisory and asset management in addition to active involvement in derivatives, particular to the Kuwaiti market. He is regarded as one of the influential traders in the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange. Moreover, he has actively pursued diversified international investments all over the globe, with a focus in optimal return/risk portfolios. He sits on the boards of many companies, where he was the chairman of International Financial Advisors Co. and IFA Financial Services Co., as well as vice chairman of First Takaful Insurance Company (FTIC) and Union Insurance Federation. He holds a bachelor of commerce in business administration and finance from University of Kuwait.

"World-class investment companies that deliver high level digital financial services, providing financial advice, access, and exposure to global markets in a cost-effective manner are crucial for the country’s development."
UIC is focused on educating and improving the nation’s investment landscape while spearheading national investment potential and shaping the economy of tomorrow.
What developments have been brought about in the Kuwaiti market by the companies in your association?

World-class investment companies that deliver high level digital financial services, providing financial advice, access, and exposure to global markets in a cost-effective manner are crucial for the country’s development. Such companies have played a major role in fintech adoption and talent development. In addition, local investment funds contribute significantly to attracting investors by acting as natural market makers and institutional investors. A key role played by investment funds is to attract investment into domestic institutions, from companies with extensive and robust experience, knowledge, and performance. In addition, qualified investment managers play a key role in managing potential risks within an investment environment and capturing opportunities arising from market repercussions. The success of investment management depends on several key factors such as long experience and high levels of professionalism, as well as research and studies available that help the investment manager make decisions and help seize opportunities that arise from challenges.

From an investment perspective, which sectors of the economy are currently the most attractive for foreign investors?

A diversified economy is envisioned in the Kuwait Vision 2035 Development Plan; however, the implementation of the vision and its materialization are expected to take time. Moreover, the country places great importance on clean fuel projects and environmentally friendly oil processing. Clean fuel and oil and gas service projects provide an attractive opportunity for international investors with specialized skills. In addition, the government is investing heavily in infrastructure projects related to electricity and water in order to meet the demands of a growing population. Most of the projects are being developed by the government through PPPs or by inviting foreign companies to provide engineering, design, and construction capabilities. The use of renewable energy as a source of electric power and other related projects is widely encouraged. In addition, investors can participate in opportunities created by the development of warehousing and logistics projects by offering sophisticated solutions to enhance airport and port efficiency and operability.

UIC collaborates with the Supreme Council for Planning and Development to present greater opportunities to Kuwaiti women. What is UIC’s contribution to this initiative, and what are its plans for the coming periods?

As a union, supporting and encouraging women’s contribution to the investment sector is considered a priority. Therefore, the union will start with the adoption of the initiative, released by the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD) through its Women and Business Committee and supported by the UNDP, Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs), contacting and encouraging our members to adopt and implement these principles in their companies and achieve Signatory status. We plan to stage seminars in collaboration with the Supreme Council to introduce the WEPs to our members.

What is your organization currently doing to contribute to fruitful economic growth?

Endogenous economic growth theories have pointed to private investment as one of the determinants of long term, sustainable economic growth. One of the main reasons the Kuwaiti economy has not achieved its aspired degree of economic diversification over the decades is the relatively low level of private investment. UIC presents the possibilities available to the investment sector, considered one of the leading sectors in the Kuwait economy, as a private contributor. It participates in activities and actions that encourage and support investment at various levels. Such steps can be broken down into the following: organizing economic forums, suggesting new rules and regulations, and proposing amendments to facilitate private sector contribution to economic growth and investment across diverse sectors. This includes the privatization of institutions that provide public services. Partnering and collaborating with international institutions specialized in investment and financial services and conducting awareness seminars to provide knowledge required for investment decisions. These factors all contribute to the development of the investment sector, which in turn attracts foreign and local investors and promotes economic growth.



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