As in any other region, investors in the Middle East are shifting their portfolios as a response to the current market environment and challenges, with many moving away from fixed income. Tangible assets and “anything with an income component” are in demand. Innovative firms are structuring even Private Equity vehicles to include a yearly dividend.
“Huge increase” in investment funds activity
80% of new formed funds set up by Gulf-based managers are closed-ended – real estate, private equity, and some venture capital funds focusing on the region, while 20% are open-ended funds including hedge funds and other funds investing in listed equities. These types of funds weren't launched in the region for a couple of years. Many of the fund launches are quite sizable with $300m+ seed money from key institutions and ultra high-net worth individuals. Fueling the growth for those funds is a change of the capital flows of the local wealth. In the old days, a lot of capital would flow to overseas markets. Today, significant capital is staying in the Gulf and funding local funds and projects.
Coming to the Gulf is not an easy way to raise money
Apart from the well known Sovereign Wealth Funds, local pensions and smaller institutions such as insurance and investment companies, an ever growing, attractive segment of the Gulf investor community is the high and ultra high net worth and family office sector. The local family offices aren't just Emirati, but also many Indian, Pakistani or Iranian wealthy families who have been operating from the Gulf since the ’70s. But tapping Gulf-based investors hasn't become any easier. The “fly in, fly out” approach may not be the correct formula - maintaining a local presence or cooperating with a local firm is recommended.
The Opalesque 2013 Gulf Roundtable, sponsored by Eurex and Maples Fund Services, took place May 20th 2013 in Abu Dhabi with:
Akber Naqvi, Executive Director/Fund Manager, Al Masah Capital
Dr. Amin El Kholy, Managing Director Asset Management, Arqaam Capital
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