Turning to the role of technology in shaping the industry, Morrall said it could drive costs down and provide efficiencies in the business.
“A truly end-to-end system, from on-boarding a client to claims and everything in between, speeds up the process and reduces the number of hands needed to manage the process.
“Unlike many of the more developed markets around the world, the offshore market in the main is transacted on paper, especially at the front end. Technology can benefit everyone in the value chain.”
Story said technology was a “massive opportunity” for product providers, and those with 21st century IT systems could secure a great advantage in the market.
“Clients and advisers want to have the full interfacing available to them, so they can do the switching and trading online, and everything else.
If you’ve got new providers coming in with this technology, which can reduce their costs and improve their service, it’s wonderful for them.”
As a private client business as opposed to a product provider, Bates said he looked at the IT and technology from an end-user point of view.
“We wish to make life as simple as we can for private clients, so technology will always be at the forefront of our mind, be that online banking, access through tablet or apps.”
Land of opportunity
Looking ahead to the future prospect for financial services businesses in Dubai, Story reflected on his first visit to Dubai more than 30 years ago, and how it had changed so dramatically over the last 15 years.
“One of the reasons I came here was because of the opportunities. The prospects for Dubai and UAE as a whole are fantastic. The regulations are developing in the right direction, and it becomes a hub for quality, whether that’s from an infrastructure point of view, or from having the right pool of people from which to recruit.”
Morrall also sees strong prospects. We forget that since 2006 the population of the UAE has doubled, from four million in 2006 to over eight million today. The majority of that growth is from expatriates coming here to live and work, many of them with pension funds built up while working in the UK or elsewhere.”
Bates for his part saw no signs of this region slowing down: “Expo 2020 is only five years away, but I think that will really be about Dubai and the wider UAE showcasing itself on a world stage.
“Somebody once asked one of the rulers, ‘When will the building in Dubai finish?’ His response was, ‘It won’t.’ They are constantly building and developing. The outlook for the region is very positive.”