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Markaz "Mumtaz" and "Gulf" Funds Receive "A" Ratings from Standard & Poor's 12 - Aug - 2009

Markaz announced that both "Markaz Fund for Excellent Yields - Mumtaz" and "Markaz Gulf Fund" have received "A" Fund Management Ratings from Standard & Poor's.

Amani Al-Omani, Senior Vice President of Local and GCC Investments at Markaz said "Standard & Poor’s offers a trusted source of high quality independent analysis and opinion. The "A" Fund Management Ratings received by both Markaz "Mumtaz" and "Gulf" Funds are a testimonial to the high standards followed in our investment processes and consistent track record. It also highlights our ability to adapt to changing market conditions."

Markaz’s track record in asset management in Kuwait and the GCC extends back to more than two decades. In 1983, the company started offering portfolio management services in the Kuwaiti Market and in 1999 it entered the fund management field with the launch of the first Kuwaiti Equities Fund – Mumtaz, rated "A" by S&P and a winner of three Lipper-Reuters awards for best risk adjusted returns for the years 2008 and 2007.

"Mumtaz" is an actively managed fund, targeting outperformance of the KIC index while providing a higher yield. The fund will have a core of mid-/ long-term holdings and a small number of more trading-oriented holdings. No borrowing or derivatives are used. Investment decisions heavily rely on research driven top-down considerations, factoring macro economic variables such as oil price and interest rate levels. The top down research helps define the areas worth researching. At the stock level, a team of analysts regularly screen the universe by sector. The sell side monitors and compares price movements closely with a target generated through a model. Technical analysis is used to identify positive news flow not yet incorporated in the price. The Fund's YTD performance as of 31 July 2009 was up 12.6%

In 2006, Markaz Gulf Fund, was launched and in 2008 the fund's mandate was changed to expand its investment universe into the MENA region. The fund has been run to outperform the MSCI Arabian Markets index, while retaining a GCC bias of approximately 75-80%. Top-down analysis tends to focus on broad macro trends in each sector and country and also takes into investor sentiment, as well as the individual peculiarities and characteristics of each market. Bottom-up research emphasises companies with above-average ROE and attractive valuations. The fund’s focus is primarily on liquid stocks. The majority of the portfolio is invested in stocks with a six to twelve month holding period. The fund’s YTD performance as of 31 July 2009 was up 16.9%.

As of June 30, 2009 the Markaz MENA Asset Management team manages assets of approximately KD 600 million (USD 2.1 billion), of which more than 60% are managed on behalf of institutional investors.

Markaz ranks amongst the top five fund managers in the GCC region in terms of market share and was recently mandated by the Luxembourg-based SFM Group to manage its WIOF Middle East Performance Fund.


The S&P rating reports are available for download from www.markaz.com