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Opalesque Roundtable: Changed Capital Flows in the Gulf

New York (HedgeCo.Net) – 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:

  1. Akber Naqvi, Executive Director/Fund Manager, Al Masah Capital
  2. Dr. Amin El Kholy, Managing Director Asset Management, Arqaam Capital
  3. Biswajit Dasgupta, Executive Director, Treasury, InvestAD
  4. Christian Stauffer, Founding Partner, CEO, EuroFin Asia Group
  5. Fred Tabbal, Regional Head of Fund Services – Middle East, Maples Fund Services
  6. Philip Ireland, Partner, Maples & Calder
  7. Phillip Sacks, Senior Associate, King & Spalding
  8. Renaud Huck, Senior Vice President, Head of UK Institutional Investor Relations, Eurex

The group also discussed:

  • Opportunities with REITs, dividend strategies, credit and frontier markets
  • Why this huge demands for Sharia products?
  • Trade finance, a low volatility, zero correlation strategy, becomes available as Sharia compliant fund
  • The elephant in the room: what to do with EMIR, DFA and other regulations
  • Cayman versus UCITS? Cayman still the jurisdiction of choice for Gulf based managers. How to do Saudi CMA funds the right way
  • Why has Dubai’s DIFC been so successful?

Access the Opalesque Roundtable Series Abu Dhabi 2013 here.

The Opalesque Roundtable Series highlights fundamental developments within the global hedge fund and alternative investment industry, a full archive with over 80 Roundtable scripts can be accessed here.

Matthias Knab, founder of Opalesque and internationally recognized expert on hedge funds and alternatives, moderates the Opalesque Roundtables.

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