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Standard Chartered, Old Mutual fintech arms to launch UAE wealth management platform

Standard Chartered, Old Mutual fintech arms to launch UAE wealth management platform
Vuyo Mpako, managing director of NEXT176. (Photo and logos: Supplied)

The new wealth platform will be headquartered in the UAE, the Middle East’s financial hub, providing access to advanced budgeting, savings and investment solutions for users in the Middle East, Africa and southeast Asia regions.

Standard Chartered and Old Mutual’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arms – SC Ventures and NEXT176 – are joining forces to launch a wealth management platform for clients in the UAE, Middle East and Africa.

The strategic partnership will merge two ventures: SC Ventures-backed Autumn, a financial goals and wealth planning app that was incubated in Singapore; and NEXT176-backed 22seven, a budget aggregation and tracking app based in South Africa.

“The UAE and the Middle East are emerging as one of the leading destinations for wealth management globally — whether it’s high-net-worth income population, millennials, or Gen Z — there is demand for technologically advanced and highly customised wealth management tools supported by ongoing financial education,” said Benito Mable, venture and strategic partnerships lead based in the UAE, SC Ventures. 

“The assets under management in the Middle East rose 16% to $1.2-trillion in 2022, according to BCG. The region is expected to grow further and remain the fourth-largest wealth hub in the world, making UAE a perfect market for our base.”

The new wealth platform will be headquartered in the UAE, the Middle East’s financial hub, providing access to advanced budgeting, savings and investment solutions for users in the Middle East, Africa and southeast Asia regions.

“At SC Ventures, we believe strongly in improving access to financial services through a combination of literacy and digital-first platforms. This partnership is a strong example and will contribute to rewiring the DNA in banking and financial services in our communities,” said Alex Manson, who leads SC Ventures. 

“In NEXT176, we found a strategic partner with a shared vision to democratise wealth management. We are looking forward to an impactful venture that will help its clients take ownership of their financial future.”

The merger, subject to required approvals, is expected to close in the second quarter of this year. 

According to the Africa Wealth report 2023 published by Henley & Partners, an estimated $2.4-trillion of investable wealth is held on the African continent. 

However, wealth management remains generally exclusive to high-net-worth individuals with at least $1-million in liquid assets, who can access private banks and advisor networks. The average individual lacks access to tools and products to plan, grow and protect their wealth.

“This is a significant milestone for 22seven and aligns with NEXT176’s aspiration of positively impacting a billion lives with a product that gives impactful insights into their financial lives across our key geographies on the African continent, and extending to southeast Asia and the Middle East,” said Vuyo Mpako, managing director of NEXT176. 

“We believe that this merger will further enhance collaboration opportunities between SCV and NEXT176.”

This won’t be SC Ventures’ first foray into the Middle East region. 

In November last year, the company partnered with Japan’s SBI Holdings to launch a fintech-driven venture investment company in the UAE. 

Capitalised with an initial $100-million, the investment JV will be focusing on fintechs specialising in market infrastructure, risk and compliance tools, DeFi, tokenisation, consumer payments and the metaverse. DM

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