Robo-Advisory Firm Sarwa is granted the Fintech ExPermit license by CMA Saudi


Press Release.

Abu Dhabi, January 7, 2020Sarwa is expanding its service to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Capital Market Authority (CMA) just granted Sarwa a Financial Technology Experimental Permit (FinTech ExPermit).

According to CMA, ‘The Robo-Advisory Service allows clients to get advice on securities or investment scheme through direct access to an automated online platform. Additionally, the company is able to offer automated online discretionary investment management.’ Sarwa will be able to offer the same level of service it has been known for in the UAE to the Saudi market, for both locals and expats. 

“As founders from the region, our mission is to make smart financial services accessible and affordable to everyone here. There are so many people in the Middle East who do not have the tools nor the know-how to start their investing journey and work to better their future. They do not have access to the right low-cost advice that can help them build wealth properly, and specifically first-time investors,” said Mark Chahwan, co-founder and CEO of Sarwa. “When we received the call that we got the license, we were very excited to introduce Saudi to Sarwa and to long-term, simple, affordable, and smart investments that we are all about.”

“We are excited that Sarwa obtained a permit to join the CMA sandbox and that it will be introducing easy, accessible investing to the market. This was a result of an ongoing collaboration between MISA and CMA to attract innovative fintech startups to KSA,” said Dr Mazin Alzaidi, Director of Entrepreneurship Sector, Ministry of Investment.

Clients in Saudi will be able to use the same award-winning platform as they do in the UAE. Through the website, they can open an account in minutes, have a recommended portfolio that reflects their goals and risk appetite, and have their hard-earned money put to work for them. Sarwa also offers human advisors that can help them in their journey. The pricing is very transparent with remarkably low in fees, with a full online onboarding that is easy and fast. Clients from the kingdom will be able to fund a local account, removing the international transfer fees banks usually charge. 

“Since the establishment of Sarwa, expansion to the Saudi market has been an important milestone. Now with this being achieved, we are delighted to present to Saudis their trusted Robo-advisor, who will help clients in Saudi plan, invest, and manage their investments as easy as a click of a button,” said Ali Abussaud, Founding Managing Partner, Hala Ventures, Saudi. 

“Investing for your future retirement or for your kids future is a critical financial planning step. Such planning is, unfortunately, weak in general in the region and in Saudi Arabia. I am thrilled to see Sarwa get approval lately to be available in the Saudi market as a new automated financial tool for everyone to use,” said Kais Al Essa, Founding Partner and CEO, Vision Ventures. 

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Founded in December of 2017 by co-founders Mark Chahwan, Jad Sayegh, and Nadine Mezher, Sarwa was one of the first players to enter the UAE market. Today the company has over 25,000 registered users and is growing by 20% month on month.

In less than three years, Sarwa went from being the first to receive an innovation testing license by the Dubai Financial services authority, to being fully regulated under the DFSA, and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Abu Dhabi (FSRA). The company is backed by top regional and international stakeholders, such as ADQ (previously Abu Dhabi Investment Office), Dubai International Financial Center, Shorooq partners, Hala Ventures and Vision Ventures from Saudi, Kuwait Projects Company (Holding), also known as KIPCO, Hambro Perks from the UK and more, with a total funding of around $10M to date.

Now, Sarwa is setting its eyes on Saudi, and with the License from CMA, Sarwa hits yet another milestone on its journey to regional expansion.

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