Cornerstone expands in Dubai, appoints Robert O’Brien to lead new office

Cornerstone FS plc has revealed its Middle East expansion with its new office in Dubai. According to a press release, shared with LeapRate, the FX Fintech company has hired Robert O’Brien as General Manager APAC and Middle East to lead the new office. His appointment follows the Group’s acquisition and expansion strategy set out at its IPO in April 2021.

The Group’s new office aims to market Cornerstone’s forex and international payment management services to foreign investors in Dubai and to Asian investors acquiring real estate in the Emirate, in particular. The Board of the company has seen the increasing foreign investment in Dubai real estate, accelerate by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a significant market opportunity for expansion. The official announcement noted that the Group will not be undertaking regulated financial activity in Dubai at this moment.

Previously, O’Brien has worked at Vorto Trading Ltd, where he was the largest revenue generator and built a business line based on inward investment into the UK from Asian clients. He brings more than 15 years of foreign exchange experience to his new role at Cornerstone. The Group expects his appointment to bring significant growth in revenue. O’Brien started his career at forex broker First Rate FX Ltd, where he became a director.

Cornerstone appoints Robert O’Brien to lead new Dubai office

Julian Wheatland, Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone, said:

Julian Wheatland, Cornerstone

Julian Wheatland

Dubai is a major destination for foreign investment in real estate, particularly with funds from Asia, and its appeal has been enhanced during the pandemic. Dubai also serves as a gateway to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, making it an increasingly important centre for global FX. By establishing a presence there, we will be able to tap into this sizeable and growing market. We are thrilled that Robert has joined Cornerstone to lead our expansion into Dubai. He has an excellent track record in growing businesses as well as in marketing to customers in Asia. His appointment, along with the recent establishment of our Asia team, should also significantly increase our direct business, in line with our stated strategy. We look forward to leveraging his skills and experience to drive growth in this exciting market.

Robert O’Brien, General Manager APAC and Middle East at Cornerstone, added:

Robert O’Brien, Cornerstone FS

Robert O’Brien

I am delighted to have become a part of the Cornerstone team and to be leading our strategic expansion to Dubai. It is a vibrant financial hub that is receiving a sharp rise in international investment interest, particularly in real estate. We are well-placed to support foreign businesses or individuals seeking to invest in Dubai by removing the headache of currency and payments management. Having worked as a partner of Cornerstone for a number of years, I’m familiar with the strength of the platform and I’m impressed with the dedication and ambition of the Board and management team.

Corner stone has also announced its unaudited interim results for the first half of the year ended 30 June 2021. The company has seen £837k of total revenue. This represented a 4% decrease compared to the £872k during first half of 2020 but a 5.68% rise since the second half of 2020 when it stood at £792k.

Since the beginning of the year, Cornerstone has onboarded 209 new clients. The company also highlighted its strategic progress for the first half of the year. During that period, it appointed a new team to market the Group’s services to businesses located in Asia that support high net worth individuals invest in the UK. Since the beginning of the year the company also received Authorised e-Money Institution approval to enable expansion of service offering.

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