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More Middle Eastern Sovereign Wealth Funds move towards Endowment Model of asset allocation: Opportunities for alternative investment managers - Dubai Roundtable

 

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Some of the large institutional Gulf-based allocators whose assets are derived from petrodollars are displaying an increasing resemblance to the Endowment Model of asset allocation. When oil prices were high and expenditures were relatively low, petrodollar derived sovereigns ran large surpluses and injected capital into Sovereign Wealth funds very regularly to be allocated to various investments, much of which was invested passively.

Now that many of these sovereigns are in deficit, the funds have had to become more selective with their investments and target higher returns to preserve intergenerational equity. This means that a higher proportion of the portfolio is allocated to alternative investments such as hedge funds and private equity.

Generally, investors in the Middle East want to diversify away from their local assets, whether it be private equity or real estate. Given the high valuations across traditional markets, they want to find real alternatives. At the same time, the investors have become pickier, but also more realistic in their expectations. Also the family office space is embracing and seeking education around alternative investments, often with the help of product and solution providers who are able to demonstrate specific solutions and how an investment fits into an overall portfolio, rather than following a product-focused “hard” selling approach.

Innovation in Finance - VC and Tech boom

Dubai 1.0 was all about trade and pearls. Then came 2.0, which was about real estate, buildings, and infrastructure. Now Dubai is moving to a 3.0 phase, which targets a knowledge-based economy. Key players such as the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) - an umbrella of entities aiming to develop Dubai as one of the key players in the knowledge economy - or the US$275m Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), an ambitious program to pair the world's top startups with government bodies in Dubai, have started to make their mark.

Innovation also keeps happening in finance. Dalma Capital's fund platform offers an attractive range of cutting-edge alternative investment funds to global investors that managers can start with smaller amounts of seed capital - sometimes with as little as $5m - and in much shorter timeframes. Several players have also developed sophisticated managed account platforms, which are the answer to the trust concerns of many investors in this region.

The Opalesque 2017 Gulf Roundtable, sponsored by Fundana and Dalma Capital, took place in Dubai with:

  1. Dr. Ryan Lemand, Managing Director, Asset & Wealth Management , ADS Securities
  2. Zachary Cefaratti, CEO, Dalma Capital Management
  3. Cedric Kohler, Head of Advisory, Fundana
  4. James Masacorale, Vice President of Group Investments, Al Tayer Group
  5. Nick Asllop, Senior Portfolio Manager, Dalma Capital
The group also discussed:
  • Why do more of the Middle Eastern Sovereign Wealth Funds move towards an Endowment Model of asset allocation? (page 20)
  • What type of investments are family offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and across the MENA region looking for? (page 9)
  • Why are some Middle Eastern family offices excited about club deals? (page 9)
  • Benefits of adding CTAs or trend-following strategies to equities portfolios (page 10)
  • Investment conferences in the UAE: Why more is not always better (page 11-12)
  • How managed accounts solve the "trust issue" some Gulf-based investors have when working with offshore managers (page 14)
  • Opportunities in emerging countries that are undertaking reform (page 15)
  • Global macro: after years of financial repression, new opportunities as interest rate curves start to form (page 17)
  • Burgeoning technology sector brings VC opportunities (page 18-19)
  • With e-government, i-government, and m-government, is the UAE ahead of Europe? (page 18-19)
  • What are some of the local ripple effects of the floatation of Saudia Aramco?
  • Key educational insights on alternative investments (page 20-21)
  • Outlook for hedge funds (page 22) and real estate (page 23)

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