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Fintech Ecosystems Middle East & Africa Trending Wealthtech

SC Ventures and NEXT176 Join Forces to Democratise Finance With Financial Wellness Platform

With the goal of improving financial inclusion across Africa and Asia, SC Ventures, Standard Chartered’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm, has partnered with NEXT176, the venture-building and investment arm of Old Mutual, a Pan-African financial services group.

By merging SC Ventures backed Autumn, a financial goals and wealth planning app that was incubated in Singapore; and NEXT176 backed 22seven, a budget aggregation and tracking app based in South Africa, the two firms have formed a new inclusive wealth management platform. Said platform will bring simple, affordable, AI-led and also Shariah-compliant wealth management solutions to users in the Middle East, Africa and beyond.

Additionally, the platform will be headquartered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Middle East’s financial hub. From there, it is expected to provide access to advanced budgeting, savings, and investment solutions. This will impact users in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia regions. In turn, a long-lasting positive impact for future generations will also be created.

Benito Mable, venture and strategic partnerships lead based in the UAE, SC Ventures.
Benito Mable, venture and strategic partnerships lead based in the UAE, SC Ventures.

“The UAE and the Middle East are emerging as one of the leading destinations for wealth management globally — whether it’s high net worth income population, Millennials, or Gen Z — there is demand for technologically advanced and highly-customised wealth management tools supported by ongoing financial education,” said Benito Mable, venture and strategic partnerships lead based in the UAE, SC Ventures.

“The assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East rose 16 per cent to $1.2trillion in 2022, according to BCG. The region is expected to grow further and remain the fourth-largest wealth hub in the world making UAE a perfect market for our base.”

Democratising wealth management 

The merger, subject to required approvals, is expected to close in Q2 2024. It will create a holistic financial wellness platform aimed at democratising wealth management. An estimated $2.4 trillion of investable wealth is held on the African continent; according to the Africa Wealth report 2023 published by Henley & Partners.

Alex Manson, who leads SC Ventures
Alex Manson, who leads SC Ventures

Wealth management remains generally exclusive to High-Net-Worth Individuals with at least $1million in liquid assets, who can access private banks and advisor networks. The average individual lacks access to tools and products to plan, grow and protect their wealth.

“At SC Ventures, we believe strongly in improving access to financial services through a combination of literacy and digital-first platforms. This partnership is a strong example and will contribute to rewiring the DNA in Banking and financial services in our communities,” said Alex Manson, who leads SC Ventures. “In NEXT176, we found a strategic partner with a shared vision to democratise wealth management. Additionally, we are looking forward to an impactful venture that will help its clients take ownership of their financial future.”

Vuyo Mpako, managing director, NEXT176
Vuyo Mpako, managing director, NEXT176

“This is a significant milestone for 22seven. It also aligns with NEXT176’s aspiration of positively impacting a billion lives with a product that gives impactful insights into their financial lives across our key geographies on the African continent, and extending to Southeast Asia and the Middle East,” said Vuyo Mpako, managing director, NEXT176. “We believe that this merger will further enhance collaboration opportunities between SCV and NEXT176.”

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