This research paper is aimed at examining the work of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and its operations in the United Kingdom. In particular, the organization has been able to gain the loyalty of many clients who attach importance to Islamic Banking. Furthermore, the company has made effective use of media in order to attract people representing various age groups. Finally, the company has successfully adjusted to the legal and political environment of the United Kingdom. To a great extent, the strategies chosen by this bank has been quite effective.
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A brief history of the company
This financial organization was created during the merger of the Federal Commercial Bank and Emirates Commercial Bank (Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, 2015). This institution was authorized to carry out operations related to investment, retailing, and commerce.
The ADCB was introduced in 1968 and has grown to be the largest financial institution in the Abu Dhabi banking industry. It is a government-owned firm. The bank has 125 branches scattered across the United Arab Emirates, with more than 585 ATMs. The bank has international branches in the UK. The headquarters of the bank is at Abu Dhabi (Ambler, 2009). Overall, during the last four decades, this bank has widened the range of its services and become a well-recognized brand in various countries.
The bank actively operates in the UAE and the UK. The bank has a strong interest in funds management, commercial and retail investment financing, and brokerage activities (Ambler, 2009). Apart from that, the company operates in India and the Cayman Islands. Overall, this organization tries to open its branches in the countries populated by many people who want to work with businesses that comply with the principles included in the Quran.
Companies’ product range
Specifically, the bank provides mortgage and financial services within the Sheria laws. Sheria is the Islamic law governing business activities between the bank and its clients. The finance models it adopts include the Ijara. Ijara is a contractual agreement in which the bank purchases an asset from the owner for a defined amount as demanded by the client. Murabaha is another finance model practiced by the company. In this model, the bank enters into a contract with a client following a mutual agreement based on the promise made by the client to honor the pledge (Ford, 2007). In addition, the Istisna’a finance model is offered to private real estate developers. It is an agreement with the client in which the bank erects a premise in line with the particulars defined in the requirement blueprint, which automatically becomes valuable upon completion as per the set deadline (Alder, 2008).
Since its establishment, the bank has been at the forefront of offering discounts, after-sales services, friendly mortgage, and customized insurance packages that are tailored towards attracting and maintaining customer loyalty. Specifically, in the year 2011, the incorporation established the 2% mortgage discount to customers who pay their mortgage on time. Moreover, the bank has spent substantial amounts of money in the advertisement and other promotional campaigns (Henry, 2010).
Furthermore, this bank lays stress on the idea that its effectiveness has been recognized by other professional institutions. For instance, it is possible to speak about the award given by such an organization as World Finance. Additionally, the management notes the ADCD has been able to forge alliances with distinguished financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch (Bank of America, 2011).In this way, they emphasize their long-term sustainability.
Due to a fair pricing mechanism, the competition factor has positively skewed to the advantage of the ADCB. With competitive prices for its products and high-quality financial services, this strategy has made the ADCB economically feasible and sustainable, while at the same time winning a greater percentage of the market share. To enhance the achievement of the same, the bank has introduced different price policies, which in return, attract various types of clients, thus creating new market segments. The ADCB product haven has been integrated into the achievement of various organizational goals through multiple pricing strategies for different financial products (Wright, 2007).
Furthermore, the management of this bank strives to decrease the interest that clients will need to pay. Moreover, in some cases, clients do not need to pay any interest. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about the construction loans given to UAE nationals (ABCD, 2015). This policy can attract many potential clients.
The physical distribution patterns are with doubt, a critical area of focus. Different distribution channels of the company’s financial products exist. In addition, the use of sales of agents has enhanced the distribution of the bank’s products in the macro and micro-regions of the culturally integrated markets (Roberts, 2005). The bank has an automated supply chain and a strong network of vendor agents that sell some of the products in a partnership agreement.
Current target market(s)
The main clients of the bank are government institutions, business developers, and the general public. The organization has managed to expand its clientele base to 18 countries besides the UAE. The company targets clients who need financial services within the Sheria laws (Travis, 2007). The organization serves Muslim citizens of various European countries, such as the United Kingdom. These clients want to work with those financial institutions that operate in compliance with the ethical principles embedded in the Quran. For instance, one can speak about the prohibition to invest in enterprises that provide products or services violating the ethical norms of Islam. In particular, it is possible to refer to businesses producing alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, this organization supports the needs of enterprises owned by Muslims.
Country-Based Research – (Individual)
A brief discussion of the country’s history
The UK comprises four states, which are Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England. The states unite in the 18th century to form the current United Kingdom. In the year 1707, the Act of Union was signed to formalize the union among the four states under the monarchy leadership. The UK covers an area of 94,060 square miles (World Bank, 2007). In the course of history, the country has spread its influence over many territories that were populated by Muslim people, including the UAE. Although the British Empire ceased to exist after World War II, the UK continues to attract many immigrants coming from Islamic countries. For instance, one can mention Pakistani people.
Geographical setting (Location + Climate)
The UK is located in Western Europe and is one of the most economically stable countries. The climate of the UK is characterized by warm temperatures, and plenty of rainfall evenly spread across the year. The UK experiences the warmest summers and sometimes very heavy snow in the winter (Travis, 2007). The insular geographic location of the UK has shaped its economic development, and the country can still be viewed as an important center of naval trade and commerce.
Among the major social institutions in the United Kingdom, one can certainly distinguish the system of education, democracy, family, healthcare, religion monarchy, and so forth. The functioning of these institutions continuously attracts the attention of many British citizens.
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Most families in the UK comprise of less than five persons per household. The most predominant family structure is the nuclear family. Most of the families are lean and are evenly spread in the urban and rural regions (World Bank, 2007). Nevertheless, one should also point out that the percentage of sole parents increases because marriage tends to last for approximately eight years (OECD, 2005, p. 35). Similarly, the proportion of households, including only a single individual, also increases. This trend can be explained by the changes in the value system of many people, especially women, who have become more independent from a financial viewpoint.
Dynamics of the family (Parental roles, Marriage, and Courtship)
There is a change in the age at which most Britons get married for the first time. The age for the first marriage increased. This could be attributed to the postponement of marriage to pursue education and career establishment since the changes in the economy are not conducive to people with dismal education. The family roles are shifting in the UK family as the element of equality in role fulfillment changed the previous perception. As more women become empowered and gain economic independence, the role of breadwinning, raising children, and taking care of other needs have shifted from being the sole responsibility of a man, but to that of either of the parents (Ambler, 2009).
The UK education system is very dynamic and skill-oriented. Nearly 90% of the population has basic education. Currently, those with college education account for 65% of the population. The government has a series of education policies, bursaries, and programs that promote equality and technical skills acquisition. The sector of education is controlled by the government from kindergarten through to colleges (Ambler, 2009).
The laws and regulations set of elements such as trade restrictions could be a turn off to potential investors in they are unreasonably high of stress. As a legal requirement, businesses in the UK are expected by the regulatory authorities to be tax compliant. The taxes are remitted directly to the government. In the UK, laws on commerce, certificate of compliance to taxes is issued to a business that remits their returns accurately form which taxes are deducted (Ambler, 2009).
The closer economic relations in the UK are beneficial to businesses in this region. The country enjoys political stability, which is a perfect environment for doing business (Ford, 2007). This is a good assurance for shareholders, both domestic and foreign, that their investment is safe, and it is an incentive to them to add even more.
It should be mentioned that the country has several political institutions that have been functioning for many centuries. In particular, one should speak about Parliament and monarchy. Additionally, the country has a multi-party political system, and this structure is important for ensuring the stability of the country.
The culture of the United Kingdom is renowned for its remarkable achievements in many important areas such as science, literature, mass media, industrial production, and so forth. Furthermore, the country has been able to absorb the influence of foreign cultures, especially those originating from the Eastern regions of the world.
Cultural Values (Hofstede dimensions and values)
The UK culture influences demographic dynamics and defines the physical and spiritual interactive traits of its members who are united by a sense of belonging and desire for identity. Subcultures in the UK are unique in practices surrounding language, dressing style, religious affiliation, and philosophical beliefs (Ambler, 2009).
It is necessary to consider privacy as one of the core cultural values. In particular, British people resent the intrusion into their lives. Moreover, one should speak about tactfulness as one of the core character traits that people should have. Finally, they dislike familiarity that can often be compared to rudeness. These issues are important for establishing business contacts with British colleagues or partners.
Key Rituals and Symbols
There are several important rituals that attract the attention of UK citizens. For example, the coronation of the British monarch is one of the events that are widely discussed by the representative of various mass media. Furthermore, one can certainly speak about various religious ceremonies that play an important role in the lives of Muslims or Christians. Furthermore, civic ceremonies, such as weddings, should also be taken into account.
It is also important to speak about such visual symbols and cultural icons such as the Royal Banner or the images of lions or roses that are associated with the United Kingdom, especially the time when this county was the most powerful state in the world.
The main language spoken in the UK is English. Britons prefer politeness and punctuality (Ambler, 2009).
The key belief embedded in the culture of the United Kingdom is individualism. In particular, British people believe that a separate individual can significantly contribute to the transformation of society. Moreover, they are firmly convinced that the society should not impose its norms on an individual. At least, this power of the state should be limited. These are some of the details that should be considered.
At macro and micro levels, the continuous rise in economic and political balance has ensured a steady portfolio in the form of input-outputs in the UK. The systematic and consistent rise is attributed to political and economic policies, which have led to an increase in living standards, life expectancy, and employment. Factoring the parameter of the World Bank, the UK has less than 1 million people living below the one dollar per day mark (Ambler, 2009).
There are several private and public parks, and recreational facilities evenly spread the UK (Ambler, 2009). Additionally, football and rugby can be viewed as very widespread forms of entertainment in this country. They appeal to male audiences. Furthermore, one should pay attention to the role of cinematography and music. Finally, British people are actively engaged in tourism, and their purchasing power is rather strong.
The UK offers an economically sound environment that is good for business activity. The World Bank acknowledged the UK as a rich country in 2007 when the country’s GDP hit the $ 1 trillion mark in 2006. The UK economy has one of the highest Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) in the world. The country has very low inflation and interest rates with one of the best infrastructures in the world. The UK’s stable economy with the high living standards of her population portends a lucrative market for business performance (Ambler, 2009).
The economy of the United Kingdom is dominated by the service sector (Wren, 2013). In particular, much attention should be paid to the financial service industry. Secondly, one should speak about the role of businesses that serve the needs of tourists and business travelers. Additionally, the country has well-developed aerospace and automotive industries. Furthermore, the United Kingdom derives revenues from extracting oil as well as natural gas. Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that many industrial companies headquartered in the United Kingdom chose to outsource the activities to India and China.
Moreover, the government of the country tries to minimize its interventions into various economic activities. Finally, it is critical to mention that the country has a well-developed infrastructure, which is important for the work of various businesses. Overall, the United Kingdom can be regarded as one of the most developed economies in the world.
Media – (Individual)
Media items that the ADCB uses to markets its product in the UK
The company uses newspapers, social media, magazines, television, and billboards to market its financial services in the UK market. The following illustrations below demonstrate how ADCB uses Media to markets its product in the UK:-
Newspapers: The ADCB uses local newspapers because there are more than three million readers each day in the UK. The newspaper advertisements reflect the company’s marketing strategy of reaching clients who need financial services. Apparently, this item is critical in international marketing since many potential clients have access to newspapers each day.
Social media: The ADCB has a fan page on Facebook, Twitter, and a website where different products are advertised. This media item is used to fulfill the strategy of reaching youthful clients who frequent these sites. Social media is important for international marketers in penetrating the youthful customer segment that shares a common online culture.
Magazines: The ADCB has a bi-monthly magazine that displays the products of the bank to potential clients. This magazine is free hence an effective tool for expanding the customer base. This item reflects the bank’s marketing strategy of targeting repeat customers through proactive relationship management. Internal magazines are strategy in international marketing since distributing free copies is very effective in attracting more customers.
Television: The bank has active advertisements on local television channels across the UK. Television has a wide following hence effective in reaching customers. International marketers may use television advertisements for cueing the minds of customers on the usability and practicality of different products.
Billboards: The bank has several advertisement billboards across the UK. Billboards are strategic in cuing the minds of potential customers since seeing a similar image several times has the potential of convincing a potential client to try the different financial products.
On the whole, the selection of these media is important for attracting clients who represent various age groups. For instance, young people aged between 20 and 35 are more likely to rely on online resources while learning about the work of different service organizations, including banks. In contrast, older people tend to rely on conventional media such as television, printed press, or radio in order to learn more about different businesses and their offerings. This approach is particularly beneficial in a country like the United Kingdom, which has a well-developed information infrastructure. These are some of the main aspects that can be distinguished.
Individual Reflection – (Individual)
The ADCB has been successful in the UK market since it is a registered business entity that is licensed to operate in the UK. The company remits taxes to both governments as a legal requirement, and the funds go a long way to finance activities such as building and improving infrastructure, financing public goods paying salaries buying necessities such as medicines. The bank has spread across the nation, opening numerous branches in all major cities and centers. Given its numerous branches, reliable customer base, and a stable market niche, the ADCB has the capacity to offer affordable and reliable financial services to its customers in the UK. This eventually affords its branches the power to lower prices below what the market can offer and, in the process, win more customers than a new entrant could manage. The bank has endeavored to use its deep reservoirs as a strategy for balancing the supply forces in the fragile financial market of the UK.
The ADCB’s performance in the UK banking industry depends highly on the power of the service users. On the other hand, unreliable and weak purchasing power translates into losses and underperformance. The management has been strategic within their means to ensure that service delivery and quality meets the expectations of customers in the UK market. With many customers looking for good value for their money, quality in service delivery has remained the main basis upon which customers are making their final decision to purchase financial products in the volatile banking industry of the UK. Fortunately, the quality aspect has been internalized in the operations of the bank in the UK. The company also participates in staff assistance programs that are aimed at instilling moral suasion in business. As part of its policy, this institution specializes in customer-based vis-à-vis in line with the Islamic Sheria provisions. As a result, the bank has been successful in appealing to the Muslim community in the UK in need of Sheria based financial services.
Although the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has been a household name in the general banking industry of the UK, the bank has an expanded business portfolio, which includes investments in real estate financing, electronic banking service, and asset financing. The expanded portfolio provides the bank with a competitive advantage in the sense that it can still maintain profitable performance even in instances where the retail banking business experiences a poor performance.
Through diversification and portfolio balance, the bank has been in a position to survive turbulence in the harsh economic environment characterized by stiff competition and sensitivity to market dynamics. In addition, the bank has spent millions of dollars in the research services department aimed at the creation of attractive financial services in line with customer preferences in the UK market. With continued political stability in the UK, the ADCB is poised to grow and expand even more as many investors are assured of safety in the event that they decide to put their money into the venture.
To a great extent, this assignment has been beneficial to me because it has been enabled me to gain better insight into the factors that influence the work of a business that starts its operations in a foreign country. Much attention should be paid to the legal environment since it is important for protecting the rights of entrepreneurs and organizations that want to bring capital to a country. The presence of clear and specific regulations has been vital for Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. This is one of the points that can be made.
Furthermore, the ABCB can succeed in the United Kingdom because the company will attract many potential clients who take an interest in Islamic banking. This example indicates that it is important to consider the demographic situation in the country and its religious environment. Furthermore, this knowledge is useful for designing the most effective marketing policies.
Thus, the senior managers of this organization have been right when they chose to open their branches in the United Kingdom. Moreover, the company will be able to increase revenues by operating in this country because a greater portion of the UK population will take an interest in Islamic banking. These are the main arguments that can be put forward.
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