The Central Bank of UAE has granted “in-principle” approval to ADQ, an Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company to launch a new digital banking platform. The new banking platform “Wio” is pronounced “wee-oh” which describes the company’s purpose of “opening new paths so you can go further.”
Announcing this on Friday, ADQ said Wio will be headquartered in Abu Dhabi and will enhance the capital’s growing reputation as a global financial services centre at the leading edge of digital banking. The total invested capital in Wio is $630 million plus in-kind contribution.
Led by globally experienced fintech experts, banking professionals and technology specialists, Wio will offer customers in the UAE a fully digital banking choice with tailored products and services to meet their lifestyles and needs.
Wio will soon launch a Beta version that will initially provide small and medium-sized businesses with an innovative, engaging customer-centric experience underpinned by security, transparency and convenience.
The digital banking platform’s primary shareholders ADQ and Alpha Dhabi, one of the fast-growing investments holding companies in the Middle East, own a combined stake of 65%. Additionally, Etisalat, one of the world’s leading telecom and tech conglomerates, holds 25%, and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), one of the world’s largest and safest financial institutions, holds the remaining 10%.
Future-proofing Abu Dhabi’s Economy
ADQ Chief Executive Officer CEO) Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, said: “As part of our efforts to future-proof Abu Dhabi’s economy, we are committed to enhancing the financial services sector. By delivering secure, transparent and seamless access to a cutting-edge, customer-centric digital banking platform, Wio’s unique business model will further strengthen the UAE’s digital economy that is already supported by robust infrastructure and progressive regulations.”
Alpha Dhabi’s MD and CEO Hamad Salem Mohamed Al-Ameri, said: “The upcoming launch of Wio will be significant for Abu Dhabi as it will help establish the emirate’s leadership in financial services in the digital age. Our $231.41 million investment in Wio is part of the strategy we announced last December to invest in promising sectors within and outside the UAE. Wio presents a strong investment opportunity for Alpha Dhabi, and we look forward to working together to support its growth.”
Fintech Vital For Digital Shift
Etisalat’s Consumer Digital CEO Khalifa Hassan Al Shamsi, said: “The fintech industry is a key driver of digital transformation in the UAE and has grown exponentially due to changing consumer payment behavior as well as new tech-driven convenient offerings. Customers are increasingly adopting contactless payments in physical stores as well as using fully digital financial products.”
“Building on our fintech portfolio, the Wio partnership is part of our strategy to meet the growing consumer demands with 360-degree products and services that enhance their daily digital lives. We want to empower consumers with services that are easily accessible, and we are committed to ensuring Wio delivers optimum connectivity and an unrivalled user experience,” he said.
First Abu Dhabi Bank Group CEO Hana Al Rostamani, said: “We are proud to be a partner at the forefront of Abu Dhabi’s digital agenda, creating broader value for our stakeholders through strategic partnerships and initiatives built to innovate and inspire the future of financial services in the UAE. The launch of Wio represents an important next step in that journey, bringing a new and innovative approach to banking.”