Al-Dakheel sets standards in KSA finance sector
Kholoud Al-Dakheel, businesswoman, has a special imprint on the business world, which started when she joined the administrative team in Al-Dhakheel group as the company’s vice president.
In an interview with Arab News, Al-Dakheel said her company specializes in offering financial consultations, and putting up families’ companies for public share holding, in addition to merger and takeover bids, and loan restructuring and other financial services.
“After graduation from Georgetown University in Washington, I started my professional life in the World Bank in the United States as an assistant analyst for one year. I studied for my MA in business administration in the American University in Washington, I specialized in financial administration, and then I studied for the Chartered Financial Analyst in 2003,” she said.
She added that she has started her professional experience in Saudi banks by assuming many positions, such as credit analyst for corporate loans. She also worked as director of relations for corporate in risk management department, and financial analyst in the securities department.
“Even though these tasks are different but I worked in financial institutions that serve the corporate sector. Since 2006 I joined the management of Al-Dakheel Financial Group as vice president, with particular emphasis on the tasks of the consultative position for funding and investment,” Al-Dakheel said, adding that the company offers various financial and consultative services, such as putting up family businesses for share holding, offering consultations on mergers and takeovers, and consultations on loan restructuring and other services for securities.
Al-Dakheel believes that the field of financial consultations and securities is a tough one because it requires professional and accurate knowledge of financial matters. It also demands experience, which could be hard to acquire. Outside financial institutions, such as banks, the presence of women is virtually non-existent. The field of consultative services demands standing on other’s experience before offering consultations.
She highlighted that the Saudi woman still faces many challenges and difficulties in the business world; this is because of the weak educational, regulatory and social structure that supports her work.
“The King supported women’s work and established many laws to this end, but officials in the government or private sector don’t give women sufficient weight. For instance, how can a company like SABIC, which is a symbol of the Kingdom’s economy, be void of female cadre? There are many companies, in which the government has a say in the decision making process, but they still employ women in simple and pro forma jobs, like the telecommunication company,” she said.
Explaining about the obstacles that had faced her in her endeavour in the financial business sector, Al-Dakheel said in the beginning it was difficult, when she started in 1997 in a bank’s management, the experiment of employing females was relatively new, and the employment of women wasn’t completely accepted.
“For me work is a basic element in life, because it is the mechanism that allows me to meet my family’s and community’s needs. Based on this I plan my experience and how to continue in it. I have depended upon two principles since the start of my work; I work hard and don’t feel any difference between male employees and myself whether I was an employee or an owner,” she said.
Because Saudi women face many obstacles while they are looking for a job or a promotion, Al-Dakheel explained that they should work harder and develop their own skills, even if they weren’t employed adding that many businessmen don’t believe in women’s seriousness about work, not to mention other basic obstacles, such as difficulty in transportation or not being able to drive which confines them to office work.
Some women find it difficult to find baby sitters for their newborn babies, she said, however, despite all difficulties hard work is the only guarantor for women’s success.
“Keeping up a balance between home, work and society, is a difficult equation, but not impossible. Focus is kept on the output and not quantity is the most important. The aim is to give each element in human’s life its dues. The important thing is people’s belief in their work. I am not different from other people my family always comes first; hard work and community service follows,” said Al-Dakheel.
Urging women to embark on investment projects, Al-Dakheel advised women to adopt investment thought, develop themselves and know how to invest, whether in securities, which are traded internally and externally, or in companies’ capitals after studying the feasibility of these companies.
Praising the state’s support for the women sector, Al-Dakheel said the public and the private sectors have launched a number of programs to support women, but they are still not enough, adding that women still suffer from basic obstacles that prevent them for managing their investments directly.