Kuwait Financial Centre 'Markaz' was established in 1974, and has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arab region. The company was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997.
Markaz offers full fledged services in asset management and investment banking. Asset management services offered by the company include Investment Advisory Services, GCC & International Investments and Private Equities. Assets under management as of 31st March 2014, KD 1,019 Million (USD 3.61 Billion).
Tested through challenging conditions on local, GCC and international stock markets for many years now, Markaz Asset Management activity has consistently outperformed the relevant benchmarks on its equity funds and managed portfolios. Markaz has earned a credible name for itself amongst the top performing fund managers in Kuwait due to this strong and consistent performance spanning many years. The support of a qualified research team of experienced finance professionals helps the investment managers set their investment strategies. In an effort to focus on meeting client investment needs, Markaz introduced the first options trading platform in the Middle East by issuing and selling derivative instruments (Call options) on KSE listed stocks.
Investment Advisory Services offer Markaz clients tailor-made investment solutions to meet their financial objectives, supported by efficient employment of in-depth market due diligence and constant monitoring. Full transparency is delivered by monthly reports and quarterly reviews. Each dedicated portfolio advisor is trained to identify the right investment opportunities that adhere to three key elements: diversification, reliance on fundamentals and anticipation of future trends.
Markaz Private Equity services allow investors to benefit from the opportunity of entering venture capital and private equity funds, at lower minimum investment rates, that are otherwise inaccessible. The strict discipline that Markaz employs in choosing investments is practiced by conducting thorough analysis and due diligence studies. The result is an impressive generation of returns in excess of those generated by the public markets to compensate for the high level of risk associated with such long-term illiquid investments. Markaz is also assisted by one of the best law firms in the United States that conducts legal due diligence on the investment structure.
Markaz investment banking services include Corporate Finance, MENA Real Estate, US Real Estate, Oil and Gas and Structured Finance.
Markaz's Corporate Finance arm develops and executes corporate restructuring plans and implements their strategies. These strategies may include expansions (including mergers and acquisitions) and re-structuring (such as selling or spinning off companies or divisions). Corporate finance services also include due diligence, valuations, execution of merger plans, private placements, and both conventional and Islamic financing transactions. Markaz has a leading position in the market in the origination, underwriting, and distribution of debt and equity products, with successful transactions reaching more than USD 2.650 billion as of 31st December 2013.
Furthermore, Markaz offers a wide range of real estate services and products in the in the Arabian Gulf Region and has also been active in the US real estate market since 1978 through its Los Angeles based and fully owned subsidiary, Mar-Gulf Management Inc. Some products have been structured as real estate investment trusts (Reits).
Real estate services include evaluating real estate investment strategies, asset management, disposition, due diligence, securitization, feasibility studies for property development and tax structuring.
Markaz has an Oil and Gas Division that monitors the Energy Sector and is fully equipped with the tools to provide financial services to the energy industry.
The oil and gas division provides a wide-range of services to clients including advisory services on mergers and acquisitions, valuations, corporate restructuring, feasibility studies, due diligence, ratings and listing; Investment banking services such as bond issues, equity issues, capital increase, IPOs, listing and private placements; as well as developing investment products to enable investors to access the energy sector.
Markaz’s strategic and sector-focused research offerings are positioned to provide the very best investment ideas to its clients. Markaz aims to be thematic in selecting research ideas with a clear focus on investment actions and merits. Being a regionally focused company, Markaz research is also biased towards issues confronting the GCC and MENA region. However, the aim is to continuously benchmark the region with other developed and emerging market peers in order to obtain the requisite positioning. Markaz research team uses highly specialized database, both outsourced and developed in-house, in order to be statistically rich in its presentations and analysis. The team also treasures the usage of advanced quantitative finance techniques to the extent they can be successfully adapted to the region.