Last year iExpats spoke to deVere’s James Green, the man charged with establishing an office in one of the emerging and strategically significant global financial destinations – Doha, Qatar.
Just over a year ago, Green claimed he hoped to see his new Qatar office excel and become one of the deVere Group’s best performing offices within two years. deVere is the world’s largest financial consultancy, with more than 80 offices worldwide and over $10 billion of client’s money under administration, so growing an office to compete with some of the top company performers within two years certainly seemed ambitious.
We caught up with James to see how things are progressing as he works towards his two-year goal, how he has found it in Doha, and what strategies he has employed to try and establish deVere’s presence in what is an extremely competitive financial market.
Ethics & Principles
“It has been a fantastic and successful 14 months in charge of our Doha Office and I’ve really enjoyed it,” says James, as he reflects on making the move into an unfamiliar territory.
“I have tried to bring the things which have made deVere so successful in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Doha, to ensure the client gets the best returns, the best service and the best overall experience.”
When taking a global business into a new territory, one of the key factors in a successful launch is the need to bring the best staff to represent the brand and create the right first impression. It’s a fact not lost on Green, who took with him a hand picked group of staff who “have the clients best interests at heart and are well aligned with the company’s ethics and principles.”
He now has 17 financial advisors on the ground, backed up with 13 coordinators, while the Client Services Team, one of the highest performing in the deVere Group, remains in the Abu Dhabi office, of which Green is also the Area Manager.
Doha, much like a number of territories popular with expats and HNWIs, is likely to see the market become oversaturated, and competition for clients will be fierce. The deVere Group hasn’t become the largest global financial consultancy by chance though, and the company relies strongly on its reputation, delivery and performance to maintain its position in the market.
For James Green, it is his commitment to the company methodology that has helped him to take a strong foothold so quickly in Qatar. “Clients are at the forefront of everything. I am proud of how strict our compliance process is, and how much emphasis we place on ensuring our clients get the very best advice. I am also proud of how much importance we place on making sure all of our staff are fully qualified so our clients can have the peace of mind that we know what we are doing.”
This isn’t always the case in finance, as is well-documented in the media, and although Doha is one of the more advanced jurisdictions in terms of regulation in the Middle East, there have been cases of companies over there conducting business without the necessary licensing or qualified staff, making deVere’s presence immediately stand out in comparison to lesser known names.
“We have also had some fantastic client events with many Financial Awareness Seminars, Client Golf Days and Breakfast Market Updates. I always want us to be remembered as the company that goes the extra mile in Doha, the extra mile to thank clients for their business and keep them continually updated on what is happening in the Financial Markets.”
Just over a year after establishing deVere in Qatar, James Green’s presence has been described by some as a “breath of fresh air”, with an approach that seems genuinely to place the client experience and financial performance at the core of the way he does things.
He is of course helped by the number of exclusive deVere funds available, in partnership with companies such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, but by focusing on long term client relationships and a number of initiatives and activities for the growing expat community, he seems to be the right man, in the right country, at the right time.
Although, as he describes it: “Progress thus far has been immense,” Green claims it is just the beginning. Already he is looking for a new larger office, and is sourcing new products and solutions specifically tailored for the Qatar market. While Qatar is may be new to James Green, he signs off with iExpats by making exactly the same statement as he did a year ago: “I’m still excited by helping our clients achieve their financial goals…”
In a sometimes condescending, slightly pompous and cavalier industry, it’s genuine, infectious enthusiasm like that, which sets James Green apart.