This woman has risen to the top of the banking sector in Saudi Arabia

Scholars have long wrestled with the nature of trust. This is probably due to the fact that our perception of faith is weak: we band the word and use it to refer to a patel of properties. In the days of Togas and Laurel, Aristotle argued that in order to gain the trust of the audience, one must have a speaker. Policy (Character), Pathos (Emotion), and Logo (Argument). In other words, there are multiple ways to gain confidence, and these ways vary greatly from the moral domain to the emotional, logical.

Centuries later, in 1995, three management researchers – Roger C. of North Carolina State University. Mayer, James H. of Utah State University. Davis and F. of Purdue University. David Scoreman – Comes with a list of reasons to believe that includes features. E.g. Power, Integrity, Greetings, GraceAnd Openness. While this may sound like a word salad, a theme of confidence has emerged from their research: efficiency.

Qualification, which refers to skill or competence, is logical (or Logo) Here we are not concerned with whether anyone is right or wrong, only whether they are effective. Yet it is Not rightBase of faith. Business leaders gain and retain trust in a variety of ways with their technical skills or ability to manage internal and external relationships so that they can achieve their company objectives and adapt to changing circumstances. Ultimately, the skills of leaders allow them to create a product or service as well as set the vision for managing relationships so that the product or service falls to the ground.

There are multiple ways to gain confidence, and these ways vary widely from the moral domain to the emotional, logical.

A good example of the importance of trustworthiness can be seen in the stories of a few women who have climbed to the top in Saudi Arabia’s financial sector.

Sarah Al-Suhaimi became the first female CEO of Saudi Investment Bank when she took over the position at NCB Capital, the asset management and investment banking arm of National Commercial Bank. It was 2014, and al-Suhaimi, only in his mid-30s, was tasked with devising a new business strategy and raising the morale of a frustrated workforce.

Gaining trust with technical skills

Al-Suhaimi always knew he wanted to get into business and study accounting at university. He began his career at Saudi American Bank (often referred to as “Samba Financial Group” or “Samba Bank”), which was affiliated with Citibank. At first, many women in Saudi Arabia, like Sarah, did not work outside the home, especially in banking. He joined the Investment Management Division, where he was given an office on a separate floor, as no woman was allowed on the floor of the division in which he worked.

At the time, al-Suhaimi’s father was deputy governor of the Saudi central bank and the main person responsible for controlling investment banking in Saudi Arabia before establishing the Saudi Capital Markets Authority (current regulator of NCB Capital). This connection means that al-Suhaimi had to work harder to prove his point. “They basically gave me no work for a while, and the realization, I later learned, was that I was here to spend time with the deputy governor’s spoiled daughter, until she got married,” she recalls. “So, no one took me seriously.”

Al-Suhaimi said to go to Samba Bank’s training center. There, he earned the respect of his peers through his outstanding performances in class. Upon completion of the program, he was selected to join the asset management area. In 2003 in Saudi Arabia, the wealth management function did not receive any information through the Internet. People used to work in a manual world – only data for public equity research was obtained by inputting data into Excel spreadsheets from financial statements available in print form from newspapers.

Al-Suhaimi has learned what he can do by volunteering to do things that no one else wants to do. For five years, he has done every job in asset management, including compliance oversight and risk report writing. And beyond that, Samba led the implementation of a front office asset management system – the first for the state – to transform manual trading into a more streamlined, reliable, automated process. He went from research analyst to assistant portfolio manager to senior portfolio manager.

When the boss of Al-Suhaimi of Samba Bank left to start Jadwa Investment, a medium-sized boutique investment bank, he asked him to join the new company. And she did – becoming the only female employee at Jadwa, where she worked in public equity management. Al-Suhaimi did very well and was appointed chief investment officer, responsible for sales and asset management. He was also a member of the decision-making committee on private equity investing. There, he drew the attention of the then chairman of NCB Capital, who sat on an investment committee whose money was managed by Jadava. He was so impressed with her performance that he offered her the position of CEO of NCB Capital.

Gaining trust with managerial skills

When Al-Suhaimi joined NCB Capital in 2014, Wasim Al-Khatib, the current head of investment banking, was in the middle management. He has been with NCB Capital since 2006 and did not want to leave. Yet he knew that he had no future in NCB Capital if the new leader could not turn it around. He searched Al-Suhaimi’s background and, convinced by what he had found, decided to stay.

Al-Suhaimi has improved its reputation for efficiency by creating a new strategy for NCB Capital. At the heart of the new strategy was the goal of moving away from volatile revenues, which made it difficult to maintain steady growth. The main source of volatile revenue was its brokerage business, where clients paid a transaction fee to NCB Capital for buying or selling stocks or bonds on their behalf. When stock and bond prices rise, investors trade more frequently, as has been the case in Saudi Arabia for several years, and the business generates substantial revenue from transaction fees. The downside is that when the stock and bond markets perform poorly, people stop trading and the revenue from transaction fees dries up.

The first part of Al-Suhaimi’s strategy was to build a more reliable revenue base through NCB Capital’s asset management business. When an investment bank sells asset management products such as mutual funds, private equity, or other investment packages, it charges a recurring fee as long as investors invest in those products. Since these fees are asset-based, the investment bank’s revenue fluctuates only when the value of the funds changes or if the customers keep or withdraw more money. The second part of the strategy was to run the firm more efficiently so that its costs would decrease over time. Because NCB Capital now had a lower cost and a more stable source of revenue, even in a terrible year, it aspired to reach a 50% net profit margin — an ambitious goal, about 15% for most investment banks worldwide.

For NCB Capital to grow, clients need to find a new foundation to follow as the firm continues to rebuild its relationship with the parent bank. Following the institutional investors has become another pillar of the new strategy. In addition, Al-Suhaimi initiates a systematic examination of the firm’s current asset management products, meeting with product owners for a detailed review. Over the next two years, NCB Capital either canceled or canceled the invalid products. After clearing the product portfolio, he allowed the parties to develop new alternative investment products.

For al-Suhaimi, the first step towards gaining everyone’s trust proves that he had the chop to stabilize his business. This requires both of them to have an excellent track record (without one he was never hired) and then, after entering NCB Capital, take quick steps to make it profitable.

Leading with confidence

Two weeks before his official start, al-Suhaimi began meeting with key employees, and al-Khatib, the employee who had done some research on his past, met him for the first time. He was out of Riyadh at the time of the phone call but left the city as soon as he was invited to speak. Al-Suhaimi was never seen, he had no idea what he was like.

Al-Khatib said, “I went to the floor, and there was a woman talking to me with another man.” “When he heard me enter, he turned around and immediately introduced himself. He invited me to his office, and we started talking. Here he was, the CEO of Goldman Sachs in Saudi Arabia, suddenly sitting down with me and talking over coffee. That’s when I was impressed by his humility. “

They exchanged stories about their personal lives, backgrounds and career experiences. Al-Suhaimi asked Al-Khatib to fill in the history of the investment banking department at NCB Capital. “An alternative,” he said at the end of his description, “is to close the investment banking department altogether. What do you think of that?” Al-Khatib expressed confidence in the department’s prospects and was pleased to agree. “I admired her for asking for my opinion and felt that this is a person I can work with not only in a relationship.”

Increasing morale with faith

Al-Suhaimi’s next challenge was to make connections with many of the firm’s disillusioned and frustrated employees. When Al-Suhaimi joined, an executive said, “There was so much conflict in the department that there was no motivation. You see people sitting alone in their offices, playing with their phones – everyone thought they were in the final stages.” There was no business environment where people wanted to supply or acquire. “

Al-Suhaimi has set up town halls across the company to reconnect employees with the business, and a rigid hierarchy created over the years that suppresses communication and sharing ideas. He visited each branch office to introduce himself and to describe a new vision and ambitious plan for NCB Capital. He recalled the response to his message at a town hall meeting in 2015: “I told them I hoped to double our resources in management by next year, and everyone was looking at me like crazy. I told them to just trust me and focus on making good products. “

She wasn’t the only one who thought she was joking. Nayef al-Mesnad, the new head of asset management, spoke of his first discussions with Al-Suhaimi about his own financial goals. “I remember the first time I set a goal, I just started laughing. I said, ‘Sarah, are you serious? Is it a plan to fail? It’s completely unreal! ‘ Looking back, I can see how he made us all realize that the things we think are unattainable are actually possible. We’ve learned to think big and push ourselves to achieve our goals. “

By the end of Al-Suhaimi’s first year, NCB Capital went black, making a profit of US $ 86 million. In 2019, its profits were approximately 122 million, and as of this writing, by 2020, NCB Capital leads almost every major metric in the Saudi investment banking and asset management sectors. Al-Suhaimi had more than his reputation for efficiency and the faith it inspires.

Author Profile:

  • Sandra J. Suchar Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School and advisor to the Edelman Trust Barometer. He provided expert commentary for Bloomberg, NPR New York TimesThe The Washington PostThe The Wall Street JournalAnd Fate.
  • Shalen Gupta A research associate and alumnus of Harvard Business School Fate Reporter who covers big data, smart cities and diversity in Silicon Valley.
  • Quoted from The power of belief: how companies make it, lose it, recover it, Sandra J. By Suchar and Shaleen Gupta. Available from Public Affairs, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hatchet Book Group Inc. Copyright © 2021.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.