Remittance flows from the UAE decreased from 2015 to 2016
Fierce competition among UAE's remittance big three
Juan Bianchi, the global chief executive and president of Ria Money Transfer, a major global money transfer firm, which is expanding in India, talks to The National about the market when it comes to the flows of money being remitted from the UAE to India.
What is the main trend in terms of the remittance flows from the UAE to the Indian market?
Actually it has decreased year-over-year from the prior year to the last year. It’s one of the few years that has happened and it’s directly related to the oil crisis. You see the oil prices drop and that economy slowed down a little bit. That gets reflected in that there are less jobs, construction slows down, so there are less jobs, less remittances.
What are your expansion plans for India and the UAE?
For the UAE, we have two handfuls of partners there, and over the next three years we would like to see that doubled in terms of partnerships we would onboard. Here in India, we should see an acceleration of growth because of a new tie-up in India with partners. We’re working on the trends that we see in terms of digital technologies and digital wallets, that maybe today they are not as relevant in the market, but that we recognise will be important a few years down the road. Also, we have an aggressive expansion plan to onboard remittances in India in the rest of the world.
Is there a lot of competition among money transfer firms in these markets?
In the UAE, there is a lot of competition. You have three players in the value chain – the agent, the money transfer organisation, and then the payer. Many of the agents in the UAE share the same money transfer organisation, so there is competition among the agents of who drives the customer into their business, but it’s all processed by one big player, so what we are doing is bringing competition at the money transfer organisation level.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing?
There’s one big challenge we’re all seeing as an industry that has to do with bank de-risking which is driven from compliance. It’s called for, to be honest, because it’s very important that money transfer organisations have a proper compliance programme, so regulators all over the world have been putting pressure on the industry.