Ahmed works closely with institutional investors such as sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, government funds and holding groups across private equity, real estate investments and public markets. He works with a talent pool both internationally and locally and recruits professionals from mid-senior appointments, as well Board level positions. 


In this blog, Ahmed will discuss how changes in the buy-side investment market in Saudi Arabia have had an impact on recruitment and hiring requirements from organisations. Traditionally in Saudi Arabia private investment firms have looked at the real estate market as a desirable area to expand their portfolios however as the market is maturing they are now looking at diversifying and looking into private equity and public markets. 


This shift has been a focus for many major players in the market with investments taking place not just locally but internationally through global fund managers. Due to these changes in the Saudi Arabian market organisations are now looking for investment candidates with managers selection experience to be able to cover the international markets with the local presence of external managers to manage their international transactions effectively. 


Given the shift towards private equity, those that specialise in international private equity have become the most sort after candidates in Saudi however that has come with some barriers. When we look at candidates with this specific skill set there has been a scarcity within the market and often organisations would tend to attract candidates from mature financial markets as they have the required skill set. In saying this, we have recently noticed a shift in those who possess the relevant experience with an increasing amount of Saudi nationals who are now becoming experts in the field after being exposed to such transactions within certain tier 1 investment firms. Through international secondments paired with Saudization, we have seen more diverse hiring practices within private equity firms and expect this to continue as more Saudi nationals look to join the investment market.


We have seen several new initiatives from the government in Saudi Arabia whereby they have created investment funds targeting specific sectors or fields which in turn has created a greater opportunity for candidates to move from the private sector to government funds. We have seen a significant rise in interest from Saudi nationals who want to join government funds in the Kingdom and have expressed their interest in working within these funds to be able to fulfil Vision 2030 and be part of high-level transitions that will benefit their country. This poses more challenges for the private sector to retain talent due to the competitive packages and career prospects offered by these funds.


Currently, in the Kingdom, we are noticing a demand from organisations for infrastructure financing roles due to a significant number of projects that the government and institutional investors are investing in. Candidates who come from debt capital markets, debt restructuring, structured finance or project finance would be in demand for such investment firms because of the technical skills they possess. The demand is present within both buy and sell organisations. We have noticed an increase in hiring from investment banks for professionals who are able to advise on these projects as well as institutional investors such as SWFs and pension funds who require talent from banks or consulting to work internally to support their projects. Capital raising roles are also looking to be filled by organisations as they diversify their source of capital. Firms are no longer relying solely on government funding but looking to private investors both locally and internationally. 


If you would like to leave a comment on the blog or require Ahmed’s expertise please contact him at aelghatas@cooperfitch.ae

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