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Diligencia provides specialist business intelligence and due diligence services based exclusively on primary sources in the Middle East & Africa.

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Clarity Talks – An interview with… Jonathan Siklos, Regional Director

By Diligencia
9 May 2024

My name is Jonathan Siklos and I've been with Diligencia since September 2021, serving as the Regional Director based in the UAE. My role encompasses various responsibilities, including business development, consulting and representing the company in marketing initiatives such as events, blogs, and podcasts. 

What prompted you to take the leap and join Diligencia? 
For 20 years now, I've been immersed in the business intelligence sector, gaining insights from various consultancies and client-side roles. When the opportunity to join Diligencia arose, I was drawn to its innovative approach and its reputation amongst its client base. I believe the company is going places, operating an interesting business model that has something that no other competitor has and our clients recognise this. I love the fact that Diligencia provides consulting services but also has a proprietary platform making it in effect a tech firm. 

Walk us through a typical day in your role at Diligencia. 
My days are quite dynamic, involving a mix of prospect networking, client meetings, and consulting responsibilities. I engage with potential clients, understand their challenges, and present how Diligencia can address their needs. Additionally, I collaborate with the consulting team as a senior reviewer. 

Could you tell us a bit about your experience living and working in the UAE?
I've been in the UAE for over 15 years, arriving in Dubai just before the 2008 financial crisis triggered by the Lehman Brothers' collapse. At that time, Dubai was vastly different from what it is today. The iconic Burj Khalifa was still under construction, the metro was being built, and the Dubai Mall was present but not yet operational. The city was bustling with real estate activities, fueled by property flipping for quick profits. 

However, the real estate market suffered a significant downturn post-crisis, leading to an exodus of residents. Subsequently, Dubai underwent a period of transformation, with reduced rents, improved traffic conditions, and a more stable living environment, laying the groundwork for its resurgence. 

Can you highlight some of the changes you've witnessed in the UAE?
Over the past 15 years, selling compliance-related services to local clients has proved challenging, as the concept of compliance had yet to permeate the UAE when I first moved here, particularly among non-European companies. However, the landscape has since evolved. Today, companies across the board recognise the value of compliance for corporate governance, risk mitigation and enhancing their attractiveness to stakeholders. 

How has the awareness around due diligence evolved in the region?
Interestingly, there are two primary factors driving increased awareness of due diligence in the region. Firstly, the rise of jurisdictions with robust compliance frameworks has influenced local companies. Secondly, as UAE-based companies seek to do business internationally, they recognise the importance of strong compliance standards to attract global clients. 

What are some of the specific challenges our clients face in the region?
The main challenge our clients face is accessing timely and reliable data on organisations and individuals for compliance purposes. Diligencia is passionate about alleviating these issues and use other valuable aspects such as local language capabilities and established relationships with a network of professionals and lawyers on the ground who can gather data for us. In part the challenge our clients face is a logistical one and that’s where we add value by gathering data that they either can't or don’t have the time to gather themselves. 

What excites you most about the region you cover?
Witnessing the rapid pace of innovation in Dubai. Projects are executed swiftly and efficiently, showcasing the region's entrepreneurial spirit and "can-do" attitude. For instance, upon my return from a recent trip to London, I experienced Dubai's resilience first-hand. Despite facing the worst storms in a century, the city swiftly recovered, with roads cleared, flooding managed, and businesses back up and running within days. This extraordinary effort highlights Dubai's ability to overcome challenges and bounce back stronger than ever. 

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most, and why?
I love the balance in my role. I enjoy the sociable aspects of business development, meeting new people and discussing how Diligencia can help them. At the same time, I appreciate the opportunity to engage in more investigative and analytical work within the consulting practice. 

What excites you about the future of Diligencia?
The exciting aspect of Diligencia is its dual nature as both a consultancy and a tech firm. While the consultancy business is expected to grow steadily, ClarifiedBy.com, our tech platform, holds immense potential for scalability and innovation. Its 24-hour access to trusted legal entity data from corporate registries across Africa and the wider Middle East sets it apart, offering unparalleled benefits to clients. 

Have you been involved in Diligencia's recent rebranding efforts?
Yes, I've been actively involved. It's been a great opportunity for us to reassess and redefine how we present ourselves to the world. By leveraging insights from both internal stakeholders and long-term clients, we aim to create a refreshed brand identity that truly reflects our values and aspirations.

What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I serve as a governor on the combined board of Dubai English Speaking College and Dubai English Speaking School, two of the oldest private schools in the UAE. Founded in 1963, predating the founding of the UAE, Dubai English Speaking School holds a special place in the community as one of the three remaining not-for-profit schools in Dubai. The quality of education and the vibrant energy within the school are truly remarkable. As a governor for over four years, I am committed to contributing to its continued success. 

Alongside this commitment, I also love music and perform as part of the Crayke Thistle Collective, a duo specialising in folk and bluegrass covers. Our recent participation in the Law Rocks competition during Dubai Arbitration Week provided a unique platform to showcase our musical talents while also promoting Diligencia to a broader audience of legal professionals and music enthusiasts. 

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Diligencia helps customers from around the world to find essential information on organisations registered in Africa and the wider Middle East, drawing on primary sources that are otherwise hard to find. Using our curated data, we enable our clients to effectively manage their compliance obligations, allowing them to continuously monitor their suppliers and counterparty risks in the MEA region. 

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Diligencia

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Diligencia provides specialist business intelligence and due diligence services based exclusively on primary sources in the Middle East & Africa.

More about what we do