Former Arlo Wealth duo Ross and Alison Whatnall are leading a new Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) regulated wealth business called GSB Capital, based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and one of only a handful of such financial advisory firms to operate within the DIFC.

In a launch statement on 14 April, GSB Capital revealed it had already "combined with several joint ventures and partnerships with venture capitalists and other product providers… to work closely with and offer the required customised services to private as well as corporate clients".

Chief executive and founder Ross Whatnall said: "Our focus is on bringing the best possible solutions to our clients' wealth management and financial guardianship needs through our business strategy.

"Utilising strategies in innovative, socially responsible investments, we aim to deliver trusted performance for our clients. By taking an ethical and transparent fee-based approach for our advice, our clients have peace of mind they will receive an entirely autonomous approach."

Among the small number of existing wealth management firms in the DIFC are long standing AES International run by Sam Instone and more recently The Fry Group which officially launched its Middle East business and the opening of its DFSA regulated office in January 2019.

Another business, Mayfair based Killik and Co closed its DIFC-based office at the end of September 2016, having opened the Dubai presence in 2008 under Sarah Lord who is now president of the UK's Personal Finance Society.

In addition to its DIFC registration and DFSA regulation, GSB also said it is regulated in the UK and Europe.

"These additional compliance commitments are an important way for us to give all investors comfort about the fact we are properly regulated," said Whatnall.

GSB is further planning to upgrade its existing Category 4 DIFC licence to Category 3 by 2022, so that the firm can also offer custody services.

It additionally spelt out five key principles that it felt underpinned the firm's activities, namely "fostering strong long-term relationships with clients, combining a low cost, passive strategy blended with a bias towards disruptive, forward-thinking ESG investing to deliver market leading returns, an unbiased and unconstrained approach to managing client portfolios, a systematic approach to investing in all market conditions and a commitment to corporate social responsibility".

Former Arlo Wealth private wealth director Ross Whatnall "worked with HSBC UK in a variety of Private Banking roles spanning over a decade" and "moved to the UAE eight years ago".

Alison Whatnall, who was previously chief financial officer for Arlo Wealth, has "over 10 years' experience in the UAE, having previously held several roles across the globe with Oil and Gas Majors".

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