Dr. Fatima Alarabi: A Visionary Leader Empowering Excellence and Innovation in Wealth Management

The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen Leading the Change in 2024

Introducing Fatima Alarabi, the CEO of ALAF Capital SA, a visionary leader who defines success as a multi-faceted journey encompassing private, personal, and professional achievements. With a deep-rooted belief in the importance of self-care and maintaining strong relationships, Fatima prioritizes her well-being and family above all else, recognizing these as the true measures of success.

ALAF Capital SA, under Fatima’s leadership, stands as a beacon of excellence in Swiss wealth management, specializing in serving UHNW families, multi-family offices, and institutional clients. Through a blend of passion, integrity, transparency, and innovation, ALAF Capital SA delivers personalized financial solutions that optimize performance and preserve wealth for future generations.

In this interview, Fatima Alarabi shares her insights on success, leadership, and the future of wealth management. She discusses the importance of balancing personal and professional priorities, her journey to success, and her vision for ALAF Capital SA. Fatima’s bold leadership and commitment to excellence shine through as she reflects on her experiences and offers advice to aspiring businesswomen.

Every leader has a unique definition of success. Tell us about your thoughts on success and why you feel that.

Success is threefold: Private, Personal, and Professional. The former being the most important and the latter being the least. My relationship with myself and keeping fit and healthy, both mentally and physically, are my daily priorities. I know that one day in the future, the P in my Private life will be the biggest circle and I have to anticipate, prepare, and embrace it with satisfaction and gratification.

Equally important is the P for my Personal life. My relationship with my husband and children and their relationships together are my barometer to measure success. The closer we are the more I feel that I am successful in my life. Needless to say, the last P for professional life is a major one but ranks last in my priorities.

I am very passionate about my work and I enjoy every moment of it. I am at a stage now where I can decide when to overwork and when to draw a line so that I can take care of my Private and Personal life. Remember that work is not life. Life happens while you are working and one day you will be overwhelmed by how quickly time passes. Simply put, success is being happy with who you are and what you have and will achieve.

Tell us in brief about ALAF Capital SA.

ALAF Capital (www.alafcapital.com) is a leading Swiss Wealth management company based in Geneva and servicing UHNW families, multi-family offices, and institutional clients. Partnering with tier-one Swiss and international banks, ALAF Capital enhances and integrates clients’ existing banking relationships into a comprehensive and consolidated wealth management approach that mitigates risks and optimizes performance.

Our services and product offerings are selected objectively and independently as we aim to deliver the best and most tailored solutions to preserve your wealth, grow it, and transmit it to future generations. Our robust and disciplined investment approach optimizes performance while mitigating risks seldom recognized by investors themselves.

At ALAF Capital, our core values of passion, integrity, transparency, and innovation are at the heart of everything we do. We are dedicated to providing personalized financial solutions and exceptional services, tailoring our offerings to meet the unique needs of each client. By earning the trust of our clients, we aim to forge solid and long-lasting sustainable partnerships. Last but not least, ALAF Capital provides unparalleled depth and breadth of knowledge in Islamic finance and Shariah-compliant comprehensive wealth management.

Leading an organization to success is not an easy road to take. How would you describe your journey so far?

Very passionate journey, exciting and challenging to say the least. When you are passionate about your work, it ceases to be “work”. It becomes a journey of excitement, a search for excellence, and a loving relationship with yourself and your entourage. Challenges and problems which I can control don’t worry me. I learn from them and keep them in the rear-view mirror as a reminder only. But it’s now and tomorrow that I’m looking forward to. With challenges come opportunities. And once you understand that there is little difference between both, you can turn them to your advantage.

What were the roadblocks that taught you valuable lessons in your professional journey?

Roadblocks are part of a successful career because you learn from them. The most recent one being the COVID-19 outbreak. Lesson learned, it is not the crisis per se that threatens the existence and longevity of the company, it is the unpreparedness that does. Other lessons learned from various financial crises that I have witnessed during my career are: “When it is too good to be true, it is” and “Cash is King”.

Last but not least, I love those two quotes from Warren Buffet: “Risks come from not knowing what you are doing” and “If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need”.

What do you regard as your greatest achievement as a leader?

The high level of professionalism of my team and their loyalty. They are eager to constantly upskill themselves and find innovative ideas and solutions to offer excellent services to our clients. They know what to do whether I am present or not. The team knows our objectives and goals. So, we just head there and we adapt. We believe in ourselves, feel empowered, and are confident about our success. For me, that’s the best recipe for a successful organization.

Has it been difficult to thrive in this industry as a woman in leadership? Share with us your views on making an influential impact on the next generation and how you wish to do so.

My first reaction to this question was affirmative. Yes, it has been challenging and rather difficult sometimes. The financial industry is a male-dominated one and obstacles are often created by colleagues and peers. My message to the next generation is that it’s how you react that can render things difficult or manageable as long as you don’t take things personally.

So, I worked harder in the early stage of my career, very hard and I was constantly learning and upskilling myself. I didn’t see obstacles, I saw opportunities. I am a woman and I am going to shine as one. And I did. I kicked open all the closed doors for meetings about which I wasn’t informed, and I attended them. I squeezed myself between colleagues to be the only woman in a photo and I participated in conferences as a “spare speaker” in the case of the absence of the “main one” until I became one of the mains.

My message is clear. Success is a decision and determination is a mindset. Put your ultimate goal in front of you and have fun while reaching and achieving it. Last but not least, as Henry. J. Kaiser said, “When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”

What is the vision and plan for the future of the company? How do you stay abreast with the growing competition in the industry?

We are living through an essential transformation in the way we work and this applies to all industries not only the financial ones. AI, Generative AI, Automation, Algorithms, and Emotionally Intelligent machines are replacing humans in their daily jobs and tasks. This momentum implies substantial challenges and disruption at human resources, operational, and organizational levels. Geopolitics, climate change, and social unrest are also major factors that we have to wrestle with daily.

At ALAF, we believe that “understanding” the future is the best way to prepare for it. Hence our constant search for constructive rather than disruptive innovations that add value to our clients and their daily needs and financial aspirations. I personally still believe that, despite the unprecedented added value of AI to our business, “People make it or break it”. Attracting, keeping, motivating, and constantly upskilling the team is my first and foremost priority to keep ahead of the growing competition in our industry.

Tell us about your life before ALAF Capital SA.

During my career, I had the opportunity and privilege to evolve in various Swiss and global financial organizations based in Geneva. Though the job responsibilities revolved mostly around banking relationships and managing the portfolios of UHNW clients.

Early in my career, I started as a relationship manager in the largest bank in Saudi Arabia then climbed the corporate ladder in different banks in Switzerland to be a Managing Director heading the Private Banking Middle East and Gulf region. Every bank I worked for added to my career and contributed to my learning curve and leadership skills.

Over time, and due to the long-dated proximity, the relationship with my clients strengthened and trust was built. I was constantly looking for bespoke solutions tailor-made to their financial aspirations and needs. In 2016, based on the request of my clients who asked me to manage their portfolios in other banks as well, I single-handedly founded ALAF Capital.

Walk us through your regular day at work. Also, define yourself in one word.

I start with the latter part of the question for it is shorter. One word: BOLD. That is who I am. Every day at work is different from the other, and that’s the beauty of it. Different opportunities, challenges, new encounters, new issues, and rollercoasters of emotions.

Managing the wealth of our clients builds over time, a relationship of trust and proximity with the families and the family members as we become their confidant. On a typical day, I wish I could say I start by exercising, but I do not. I start early by reading to gather market intelligence. I am a strong advocate of education and I always tell my team that knowledge is power.

As I am the CIO of ALAF, I review the portfolios of our clients, especially the dynamic part. Subsequently, decisions are made subject to the market’s prevailing conditions. Discussions and briefings with my team members are paramount. We are a flat organization and communication is vital to the success and longevity of our organization.

Phone calls, meetings, conferences, and discussions with our clients take up most of my day. It’s very important to be there for them and be attentive to their evolving financial aspirations and needs. Team discussions and solving challenges happen throughout the day. Then my day is wrapped up in beauty with quality family time.

How do you maintain a balance in your personal and professional life? How do you keep yourself motivated to deliver the best services?

Being in a highly interactive position with clients from various backgrounds, I have the unparalleled privilege of exchanging with them, their views on life and sharing their life experiences. They all have one thing in common: “wishing that they haven’t overworked and that they spent more time with their families and entourage”. Setting your priorities is paramount to your success and happiness. It also depends on which stage of your life cycle you are in.

My personal life and my professional one are not two separate scale plates. Far from that. My balance plates are my happiness and the happiness and well-being of my loved ones (and that includes my team at work). This is the balance I care about and I constantly strive to keep at the same level.

Once this balance is achieved, the motivation to deliver better services is a spontaneous and effortless outcome. Needless to say, automation, robotics, AI, and Generative AI are tools helping us to improve our productivity and to free more time for us to focus on personal fulfillment.

Tell us about your personal goals as a businesswoman.

My goal as a businesswoman is to make a change in this world and contribute to a better one for the future of humanity and the planet. Real change occurs when you start changing within. You cannot change a nation before individuals change themselves. Each person matters and without the one, there is no Google, just zeros.

True that AI, Gen AI, and automation are here to help but that doesn’t come without risks. The environmental impact of Gen AI energy use for data processing, the biases that may be disseminated in the data used to train AI algorithms, the potential “human” job losses to intelligent machines, the social upheavals that might result, and the list goes on.

We cannot protect jobs that are made redundant by technology, but we can protect our people by cultivating their agility, adaptability, and upskilling. We have to act, plan, and embrace change now. ESG has become a mainstream consideration in our investment selection process, and as a CIO, I have assumed a pivotal role in monitoring and incorporating ESG risks and opportunities.

What is your message to aspiring businesswomen?

Ladies, the sky is not the limit. Believe in yourself, know that you will make it one day. There are no other options. If others can do it, you can as well. Write your goals at the beginning of every year and visit them at the end of it.

Remember that sky rises start with one brick at a time. Your goals also should be one at a time. Upskill yourself constantly regardless of your domain of interest. Always strive to be the best in it. The rest leave it to AI.

Choose to be “happy” over any other choice you might be faced with. Happiness is transmissible and is more important than financial rewards. Last but not least, follow your heart and don’t trade your passion for glory


Fatima Alarabi’s journey to success has been marked by passion, excitement, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. She views challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, ensuring that each obstacle serves as a stepping stone towards greater achievements.

Despite the challenges faced as a woman in a male-dominated industry, Fatima has thrived, embracing determination and hard work to overcome obstacles and shine as a leader. Her message to the next generation is clear: success is a decision, and determination is a mindset.

Looking ahead, Fatima envisions a future where ALAF Capital remains at the forefront of the industry, embracing constructive innovations to meet the evolving needs of clients. She believes in the power of people and is committed to attracting, retaining, and upskilling her team to stay ahead of the competition.

In her personal life, Fatima maintains a delicate balance between work and family, recognizing that true success lies in happiness and well-being. She encourages aspiring businesswomen to believe in themselves, follow their passions, and prioritize happiness above all else.

Fatima Alarabi is not just a CEO; she is a bold leader, a visionary, and a trailblazer inspiring change and making a positive impact on the world.