Saudi investors are most sophisticated as investors in the rest of the world and their appetite for alternative assets has very much increased, Sheldon W. Woldt, senior vice president at the Northern Trust Company and regional head of the Middle East and chairman of the Northern Trust Company of Saudi Arabia, said Monday.
Northern Trust with assets under custody of $5 trillion and assets under investment management of $803 billion, is gearing up to commence its business in Saudi Arabia very soon upon the final authorization from the Capital Market Authority (CMA).
The CMA granted the Northern Trust Company of Saudi Arabia its initial license on Sept. 12, 2012, for managing investment funds and client portfolios, advising and custody securities business in the Kingdom.
“We are close to couple of weeks for final authorization from the CMA,” Woldt told Arab News. He said the office in Riyadh will serve its growing Middle East client base and to support opportunities for continued new business in the region.
“Northern Trust will be closely working with and adding our expertise to investors,” he said.
Investors in Saudi Arabia being sophisticated need diversified asset classes in their portfolios — traditional assets (equities, stocks and bonds) and alternative assets (hedge funds, private equity and real estate). “We have strong ability to help clients to make understand them,” he added.
"Northern Trust brings experience in serving sophisticated institutional and high net worth investors, a long, proven track record of doing business on a global scale and more than 25 years of working closely with Middle East clients," Woldt, who works with sales and relationship managers to support their focus on client satisfaction and on bringing new ideas to large sophisticated investors, said.
"Having a presence in the Kingdom is in line with our commitment to serve our clients as close to their home market as possible. With our more than 120-year heritage of service, expertise and integrity, our presence in Riyadh positions Northern Trust to continue to deliver solutions and services that best meet the evolving requirements of the region's sophisticated investors," Woldt added.
"We are excited to expand our presence in the dynamic Middle East region with a new office in Saudi Arabia, especially at a time when the Kingdom's economy is growing and diversifying," Northern Trust Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frederick H. Waddell said in a statement. "The Kingdom has the largest economy of the six Gulf Cooperation Council and Northern Trust has been serving clients across the Middle East since 1987, providing asset servicing and asset management expertise.”
Michael Slater has been named head of Northern Trust's new office and is based in Riyadh. His responsibilities include overall management of the office and leading the development of key strategic relationships with prospective and existing clients in the Kingdom, such as sovereign wealth funds, central banks, pension funds, asset managers, other institutional investors and wealthy families.
Slater joined Northern Trust in 2005 to lead asset servicing business development in the Middle East. In 2008, he was appointed head of Northern Trust's Abu Dhabi office.
Woldt said: “We have only one office in Riyadh but we will look at other offices across the region if client base is increased.”
Woldt advises Saudi investors: “Work closely with advisers to acquire right asset allocations.”
He added: “We are pleased with the Saudi talent as we have Saudi male and female employees. We follow the Saudi stock market (Tadawul) as we provide emerging market type of products.”
For more than 120 years, Northern Trust has earned distinction as an industry leader in combining exceptional service and expertise with innovative products and technology.