Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company, ADQ has received in-principal approval from the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) to launch “Wio”, a new digital banking platform.
Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Wio will have ADQ and Alpha Dhabi, one of the fast-growing investment holding companies in the Middle East, as its primary shareholders who own 65 percent. Additionally, Etisalat holds 25 percent, and the First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) holds 10 percent.
The digital banking platform will enhance the UAE capital’s growing reputation as a global financial services center at the leading edge of digital banking. The total invested capital in Wio is $626 million plus in-kind contribution.
Commenting on the launch of the banking platform, Mr. Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Chief Executive Officer of ADQ, said that Wio’s unique business model will further strengthen the UAE’s digital economy supported by robust infrastructure and progressive regulations.
Led by 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.
“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 $231.42 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.”
For his part, Mr. Khalifa Hassan Al Shamsi, CEO of Etisalat Consumer Digital, said, “Customers are increasingly adopting contactless payments in physical stores and 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.”
The rise of fintech companies and a jump in digital services have forced banks globally to invest in digitization. The COVID-19 pandemic, which led to lockdowns and social distancing around the world, hastened the move into digital services as consumers switched to cashless payments and online shopping.
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.
Ms. Hana Al Rostamani, Group Chief Executive Officer of FAB, stated, “FAB is 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.”