What does the future have in store for the fintech scene? Wizz Financial – a new global fintech group created by Prism Group AG
The last few years have been an exciting period for the fintech industry globally. Fintech advances have caused the transformation of the financial services industry and generated new and innovative business models.
One of the most exciting announcements in the fintech sector recently was made by Prism Group AG, a private equity company with offices in the US, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Founded by veteran financiers and investors Amir Nagammy and Guy Rothschild, the company, as part of a consortium with Abu Dhabi’s Royal Strategic Partners, has created a new platform making headlines throughout the MENA region – Wizz Financial.
The consortium of Prism Group AG and Royal Strategic Partners have signed a sale & purchase agreement (SPA) to acquire BFC Group Holdings (BFC) and its subsidiaries: BFC Bahrain, BEC Exchange (Kuwait), BFC Payments, and BFC Forex and Financial Services (India) via their newly created Wizz Financial platform, alongside the previously acquired fintech giant Finablr. Finablr is present across all major emerging markets, while BFC has a strong presence in Bahrain, India, and Kuwait; together as Wizz Financial, they create one of the MENA’s largest money transfer groups.
“The deal creates one of the largest remittance services and currency exchange groups in the MENA region and becomes the only operator with a direct presence in all six GCC countries. The acquisition creates a regional powerhouse with licenses to operate in over 30 countries,” a Wizz Financial statement said. Added to that, the new company now has over 5,000 employees and commercial partnerships secured with over 140 banks – and they’re just getting started.
The UK-based financier & investor Amir Nagammy who is chairman of the private equity firm which forms half of the consortium behind this exciting new company, Prism Group AG, has gone on record saying “(Wizz Financial is) in the process of consolidating additional remittance providers and alternative financial institutions onto our platform.”
Prism Group AG & Amir Nagammy
Prism Group AG was founded by Amir Nagammy and Guy Rothschild and has offices in the UK, Switzerland, and UAE. The company is known for its interest in innovative ventures and backs both established companies and startups that leverage technology to drive transformation in the financial services, biotechnology, and renewables industries sectors, amongst others. Driving the company is Amir Nagammy, who has a 25-year track-record in building and scaling companies in the UK, GCC, and emerging markets.
“I’m an entrepreneur and investor who specializes in technology and financial services companies,” says Mr. Nagammy. “In business, I’m very hands on and love a challenge”.
Under Mr. Nagammy’s guidance, Prism Group has made some major moves in the past year, acquiring well-known & wide-reaching fintech brands like Finablr, Unimoni, Xpress Money & UAE Exchange, and now most recently BFC and its subsidiaries, all of which are now incorporated into the Wizz Financial platform.
What does he think about the future of the fintech sector?
“Fintech has boomed, and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. We’re seeing that digital payments have now become the norm while cash is the exception – that’s also true in the remittance industry. Increasingly it’s all about digital remittance payments. Consumers won’t be going back to cash once they’ve made the switch, and it’s been a long time coming. The restrictions imposed by the pandemic across the globe have demonstrated just how instrumental fintech has become to the modern world.”
Fintech in the MENA region is seeing massive growth
Fintech companies and services saw a considerable increase in demand all around the world over the past year. Driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the fintech industry saw more significant adoption of contactless technology globally. The fintech market in the Middle East and North Africa region is no exception.
Experts believe that the fintech industry will account for 8% of the Middle East’s revenue generated by financial services by next year. The massive growth saw by the sector there is driven by rising fintech startups, growth in the Islamic banking industry, and even increasing Internet and mobile devices usage, which has seen even greater penetration across the region. The area still has significant diversity reflected in the different stages of advancement of the fintech markets nationally. To put that into perspective, the number of fintech companies per country differs significantly: the UAE-based companies comprise around 24% of the total number of fintech companies in the region, compared to Morocco and Egypt which both comprise about 12% each, and Tunisia with approximately 10% of fintech firms.
Since the pandemic spread to the MENA region, a growing focus on a cashless economy has helped to boost a thriving fintech ecosystem. The region has seen a tidal wave of new fintech companies. As of November 2020, the MENA region was home to over 400 fintech companies. Here, fintech companies are primarily focused on payment services and lending solutions, as well as digital payments, transfers, and remittance areas.
With the pandemic functioning in the role of an accelerator, a more extensive and thriving fintech sector in the region has been created. Prism Group AG, through its new fintech group Wizz Financial, will undoubtedly become the prime mover throughout the MENA region and the consumer’s first choice.