Ramzi Watfa is the founder of 6 Sigma Group and Managing Director of 6 Sigma Financial Consultancy. Ramzi established 6 Sigma Group in 2003, and has been a veteran of the banking industry since 1983.

Ramzi started his career in the City of London with the Royal Bank of Canada; later moved to its regional office in the UAE. During the stint in London, Ramzi was instrumental in developing the bank’s risk platform across the whole of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

He later joined its UK National team, and was later posted to Dubai in the bank’s regional center for Middle East and Africa; handling a variety of businesses across the spectrum of banking products and services.

6 Sigma Group is currently involved in six businesses:

  1. Road to Basel and IFRS 9 Consultancies for Banks
  2. Risk Rating System development and implementation
  3. Credit Rating Agency work
  4. Training and Development of Bankers
  5. Due Diligence on both companies and banks
  6. Fintech for seamless risk rating of corporates and recommendation of exposure

From DIFC to the world

Ramzi later joined Citibank in 1995, and left Citi to establish 6 Sigma Management Consultancy in 2002, having managed the business as Corporate Bank Head for the UAE, and earlier as a Corporate Finance Head for the country.

6 Sigma Management Consultancy then turned into 6 Sigma Financial Consultancy (DIFC) then into 6 Sigma Group, with offices in Dubai, Beirut, Jordan, Bucharest, and Istanbul. In 2016 it expanded into what it is today. The depth of coverage across several geographic locations has enabled the Group to provide Best in Class service, share in its experience, and provide cutting edge tools and systems to help banks develop into the challenging world of Basel and IFRS.

Basel and IFRS 9 expertise

It was not realized at the time, but the work done even in those early days in London were essentially early Basel Accords, and in line with what is now considered standard IFRS 9 methodology. The experience gained in RBC and Citi were essentially what is referred to as Best Practices today in Basel and IFRS world. This experience is shared with clients through Systems, Consulting and Training, as serviced in the 6 Sigma Group.

The Science of Credit Risk

Ramzi’s forte is in the science of managing credit portfolios. His experience in both the Royal Bank and Citibank as a risk officer and credit portfolio manager. This helped him to create a Portfolio Risk Rating and Stress Testing platform in the Credit Risk Management System that 6 Sigma promotes. This also led to providing specific expertise in the calculation and management of IFRS 9 Expected Losses. Addition functions include:

  1. Coaching Seniors (CFO and Head of Corporate Banking)
  2. Board Advice
  3. Credit and Strategic advice to several banks in the region
  4. Credit Manuals and Procedures for several banks in the region
  5. Credit Risk Methodology and a Credit Risk Platform
  6. HR Consultancy

Due Diligence for Financial Institutions

Due diligence work for Financial Institutions includes:

  1. Gap Analysis of current Strategy, Processes, Procedures, Portfolio Quality, and Decision- Making.
  2. Production of a “Road Map” with recommendations for change, in line with Best Practices and Basel Guidelines.
  3. Implementation of the “Road Map” and passing on the knowledge to bank personnel.

The work was done with several financial institutions including:

  1. Fransabank, Lebanon
  2. Creditbank, Lebanon
  3. Lebanon and Gulf Bank, Lebanon
  4. Al Ahli Bank, Lebanon
  5. First National Bank, Lebanon
  6. RAK Bank, UAE
  7. Bank of Sharjah, UAE
  8. Exim Bank, Malaysia
  9. Perfect Hexagon Commodity and Investment Bank, Malaysia

Other Work and Product Expertise

Ramzi is also involved in Private Placements Advisory Services, and Debt Structuring Advisory Services. Particular expertise in specific products including corporate and project finance (including bonds, syndications, M&A, business evaluation, and financial house-keeping), structured receivable and trade finance, cash management, and e-business amongst others. He has also been active in various committees including compliance, asset and liability management, human resources, and risk and scenario planning.

A sample of the Engagements to date:

Equity Structuring:

  1. Gulf-wide Media Group Consolidation and Merger with third party
  2. Investment due diligence on behalf of an investment company in Abu Dhabi
  3. Investment due diligence for an IT company in Dubai
  4. Investment due diligence for a merger within the media sector in UAE
  5. Investment due diligence for an acquisition of a PR company
  6. Investment due diligence for a merger within the media sector in Egypt
  7. Due diligence on a potential acquisition of an exchange house
  8. Purchase due diligence and Project Management of a ready-mix cement producer in Saudi Arabia
  9. Sale of a manufacturing company in Dubai
  10. Sale of a medical centre in Dubai
  11. Sale of a fashion house in Dubai
  12. Advisory on sale of Shipping Company
  13. Advisory for sale of Logistics and Transportation company

Debt Structuring:

  1. Debt structuring for a project in Abu Dhabi
  2. Legal due diligence for a company in Abu Dhabi
  3. Arranging credit facilities to manufacturing companies in Dubai and Saudi Arabia
  4. Arranging a Factoring of Receivables program for a regional telecom company

Scope of Works normally includes:

  1. The Company’s business model and sustainability for generating cash flow in future
  2. Comprehensive Analysis of Management, Industry and Environment the Company operates in
  3. Red flags in terms of the Company’s business model, weaknesses in both quantitative and qualitative criteria
  4. Areas of improvement, (i) what the Company can do to improve results in future, (ii) whether management has shown willingness and ability to improve, and (iii) the likely upside in enterprise value as a result of these improvements
  5. Corporate Governance and its impact on valuation, and by how (if any) changes at that level will improve results

Ramzi is also active in coaching bank Board Members on Strategy and Risk Management in several countries, and providing the requisite training for bank seniors in managing their businesses. He is also active in assessing Bank Management technical competencies across the entire hierarchy and providing HR with guidance on knowledge gaps and road maps to improve talent.

Ramzi is a graduate of Imperial College of London in Management Science, and from Kings in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science.