Friday, October 19, 2018

AQR Capital to hire 150 Highly-skilled Techies in Bengaluru

AQR Capital Management said it would hire nearly 150 highly skilled tech professionals including data scientists and quantitative engineers in Bengaluru over the next couple of years.

The US-headquartered firm, which manages multiple client-focused portfolios and invests in public equity and other instruments globally, looks to strengthen its portfolio management using the technology innovation in Bengaluru.

AQR’s assets under management stood at $226 billion as on September 30.

The company announced the launch of its engineering centre and said: “the Bengaluru team will collaborate closely with its US engineering group on the development of technology central to AQR’s research, portfolio management and trading systems”.

The Bengaluru office will be led by Chrys Kattirisetti, India Country Head, AQR.

While it will hire nearly 15 people over the next two months of this year; AQR will ramp up hiring early next year.

“We will be hiring from Indian Institute of Technology next year onwards. 40% of the total hire would be freshers. We believe engaging Bangalore’s top technology talent will fuel our ability to further develop the cutting-edge technology that underpins our investment processes,” said Neal Pawar, chief technology officer, AQR.

The company said its Bengaluru team would focus on developing and enhancing solutions primarily on a cloud-based platform, including trading systems, data and visualization tools, portfolio analytics, and micro-services to support a variety of front office platforms.

AQR will conduct specific coding tests to figure out the strength of professionals and expects the prospective employees to be hands-on in such areas.

Pawar said 10-15% of its technology work is outsourced to a Pune-based Indian IT services company, but the team at Bengaluru office would focus on proprietary technology development.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Indian company Oyo Hotels to offer 10,000 Jobs in UAE

Indian hospitality brand Oyo Hotels will create over 10,000 jobs in the UAE within the next three years as it aims to expand its footprint across all emirates and will also open a training facility in the country, a senior executive said.

"We have five institutes in China and 20 in India. We created 100,000 jobs in India and 60,000 in China. We hope to create jobs for tens of thousands of UAE natives who can get trained at this facility; once they are trained, they can choose Oyo Hotels or any other brand of their choice. We are scouting for a location to set up a hospitality training academy in the UAE. The training will be free," said Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO, Oyo Hotels.

The company currently operates 1,200 rooms in the UAE and aims to have 12,000 keys added to its UAE portfolio by 2020.

India's largest hospitality company hopes the number of hotels under franchise and lease management will reach 150 across the UAE by 2020. It currently operates rooms in Dubai, Sharjah and Fujairah.

Agarwal said the company is trying to make sure that it can fulfil the capacity for 12,000 rooms that it intends to bring in by 2020.

"On average, we have to create a capacity of at least 500 people a month which will translate into 3,000 to 5,000 on an annualised basis," Agarwal said in Dubai.

"There are so many companies who have been able to market Dubai across the world. For the common man coming from Asia and Europe, they find it difficult to find good quality living spaces. So, we lease the apartment and sell it through online portals and our platform at affordable rates. Nowadays, people don't want to spend money on hotels but on sight-seeing and new experiences," Agarwal said.

The group operates townhouses in India and the UK and will add townhouses to its UAE portfolio.

"With over 170 countries committing to the World Expo 2020, the hospitality sector in the Middle East, and more specifically the UAE, is poised to grow substantially and, we are ready to tap this opportunity. We've been at the forefront of the budget and mid-segment hotel revolution in the markets we operate in," he said.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Professionals and Investors can get a 10-year visa in UAE

Technology entrepreneurs, influencers, high-end individual investors and specialists in certain fields such as science, space and medicine would be eligible for the 10-year visa slated to be implemented by the end of this year, say industry executives.

The UAE government recently announced that it would issue 10-year visas for professionals and investors and will also allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in mainland companies as part of reforms to attract the best talent available in the world and also to lure foreign direct investment into the country.

It is expected that the new reforms will be focused on those professions and industries that meet the UAE's strategic needs.

Speaking at a seminar recently, Dr Raed Safadi, a chief economic adviser at the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, said the key criteria of this new law is to attract investors and would be very generous to bring in all kinds of talent as the emirate seeks a transition towards a knowledge-based economy.

"We have to wait and see the specific directions as to what will include. But from what we have seen is that the initial wave will include technology entrepreneurs, influencers and high-end individual investors in certain areas that the country needs. I think it will not be a blanket for everyone to benefit from this system immediately. Maybe during the time, some new groups will be involved. But for now, I think technology entrepreneurs, influencers, high-tech investors and so on," said Dr Habib Al Mulla, executive chairman of Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla.

Replying to a query about the eligibility of doctors, engineers and architects to be part of the 10-year programme, Dr Al Mulla said he didn't expect all these categories will be eligible.

"However, some specialists could be included in certain fields like medicine and so on but I don't think it will be overall for everyone," he added.

On a question whether PhD degree holders will also be given 10-year visas, Dr Al Mulla hopes it will not be a requirement.

"I think they are not looking for academic degree holders but those with some exceptional expertise that the country may need."

Saad Maniar, the senior partner at Crowe and vice-chairman of the members' advisory committee of the Association of Chartered Accountants in the UAE, believes chartered accountants, lawyers, doctors and scientists could potentially be included in the 10-year visa list.

Moreover, professionals holding a master's degree or equivalent, a certain minimum salary bracket and certain designation - directors, etc - could also be considered, he added.

Naveen Sharma, chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India - Dubai Chapter, claims that the exhaustive list is yet to be released but it seems like various categories such as scientists, investors, entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers and innovators will be covered under this rule.

Sharma feels people with higher qualifications and having a master's degree, PhD, doctoral degree or any other reputed recognised degree in the profession approved under this criteria will be eligible for a 10-year visa.

100% ownership

On the possible eligibility for 100 per cent ownership in the mainland, Dr Al Mulla pointed out that full details are still awaited.

"But from what we have seen, the government is looking for global companies with global means like Google to start with. Those multinationals whose businesses are spread all over the continents. I think technology entrepreneurs, for example, Tesla and so on, are the type of companies that will be part of 100 per cent foreign ownership. I think once they try it and see how it works, then they may start expanding it to other companies and industries. But to start with, it will be these multinationals."

In addition to job creation and minimum investments, Dr Al Mulla says full ownership of a company in the mainland will possibly be linked to job creation for UAE nationals, too.

"I think some of the job creations will also be linked to UAE national recruitment targets. So it is not enough you create jobs but create jobs for UAE nationals. The minimum investment could also be another requirement to obtain full ownership licence in the mainland. But they will be high threshold capital requirements to be able to avail exemptions," he added.

Dr Safadi recently said there would be certain requirements such as minimum investment and a number of job creation for the eligibility of 100 per cent foreign ownership.

Maniar believes that 100 per cent ownership will be allowed only to companies from certain sectors such as healthcare and technology, with more than Dh1 million investment. Additional requirements could be employing over five employees with a certain salary threshold, recruiting a certain percentage of UAE nationals and contributing a certain percentage towards corporate social responsibility after certain a level of profits.

Sharma said currently, a foreign investor can own 100 per cent of a business only in a free zone and not in the mainland. But as per the new announcement, foreigners will soon be able to own 100 per cent of the business outside free zones.

As of now, detailed rules and regulations are not out but in order to obtain full ownership of a business in the mainland, Sharma feels an investor will be required to invest over Dh1 million to be eligible.

"This is a welcome move for the UAE economy and it will surely help the economy to move in the right direction. It will not only attract foreign investors but it will also boost the economy. Creation of new jobs, ease in international trade, a boost in the property market, etc, are some of the advantages among many other advantages from foreign investment," he added.

"People with a 10-year visa will have more sense of security about their future in the country. This can play a very big factor in boosting the property market in the UAE."