Kuwait Financial Centre “Markaz” underlined its commitment to helping investors make informed and responsible decisions with the hosting of a special seminar titled ‘Markaz 2023 Outlook: Identifying Investment Opportunities in Light of Current Market Challenges’. The seminar, which took place on 22 January, brought together expert speakers from Markaz and other leading regional and global organizations to discuss the most effective strategies for capturing opportunities across various markets.
Markaz’s highly qualified senior leaders, who have extensive experience and deep expertise in asset management, investment banking and wealth management, took a deep dive into the changing market conditions arising from challenges such as mounting inflation, tight monetary policies, and geopolitical pressures, to inform investors about the different factors that are currently impacting various asset classes. The event attracted more than 300 participants, who benefitted from expert advice on how to mitigate risks amid a climate of uncertainty and yield sustainable returns on their investments.
Commenting on the significance of the seminar, Mr. Ali H. Khalil, Chief Executive Officer, Markaz, said: “As an industry leader, Markaz has a long-standing track record of supporting the development of the Kuwaiti financial services sector and the wider Capital Market by fostering an informed generation of investors; and today’s conference comes as an extension of that commitment. With macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges continuing to shape the markets, it has become critical for investors to be fully aware and diligent to effectively achieve their investment goals. We are pleased to take the initiative to help them make informed and responsible investment decisions and deploy the ideal mixture of opportunities across asset classes to successfully maximize returns.”
The event commenced with introductory remarks from Mr. Abdullatif Al-Nusif, Managing Director – Wealth Management & Business Development at Markaz, who provided a brief assessment of the 2022 market performance and moderated the event. This was followed by insights from Mr. M. R. Raghu, Chief Executive Officer of Marmore MENA Intelligence, the research arm of Markaz. Mr. Raghu examined key factors that will influence markets in 2023, including interest rates, the strength of the dollar, the future of equity and bond bear markets, and the potential impact of the global energy crisis on investments.
One of the main highlights of the seminar was a one-on-one interview with guest of honor Mr. Farouk Bastaki, former Managing Director of the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), and Mr. Ali H. Khalil. Mr. Bastaki shared insights on how challenging situations such as the 2008 financial crisis can equip investors with the knowledge and experience to make better decisions, and discussed effective strategies to overcome challenges and build sustainable wealth.
The first panel of the day focused on regional markets. Ms. Rasha Othman, Executive Vice President, Capital Markets and Fixed Income at Markaz, discussed 2022 key trends and elaborated on the opportunities identified in relation to fixed income, bond issuances and respective rates. Mr. Khaled A. Al-Mubaraki, Senior Vice President, MENA Real Estate at Markaz, discussed the impact of interest rate hikes on real estate and the emerging opportunities in the region. Mr. Fahad S. Al-Rushaid, Vice President, MENA Equities at Markaz, explored key challenges and opportunities emerging from the positive sentiment in the region, and highlighted the key benefits of opportunistic portfolios. The panel also featured insights from Mr. Abdulrazzaq T. Razooqi, Vice President, Advisory and M&A who shed light on M&A activity, family companies and conglemorates and where opportunities exist for each.
During the second panel discussion, Mr. Sami Shabshab, Managing Director of Mar-Gulf, the real estate arm of Markaz in the US, shed light on key factors influencing the US market including the impact of inflation and interest rates on real estate. In addition, he shared his thoughts on which sectors are likely to offer the best opportunities for investors during the year ahead. Sheikh. Humoud Salah Al-Sabah, Assistant Vice President for International Investment Advisory at Markaz, highlighted the crucial role of due diligence and manager selection in successful investing, as well as the importance of setting clear goals, assessing risk tolerance thresholds, and ensuring the effective allocation of assets.
Other reputable guest speakers included Mr. Lawrence E. Golub, Chief Executive Officer of Golub, and Mr. Walid Zein, Middle East Partner at Hamilton Lane. Mr. Golub stated that the US economy is fundamentally healthy and that the market today is the most “lender-friendly” its been for years, and highlighted that base rates are at their highest since the Great Financial Crisis. Mr. Zein provided an overview on how the democratization of private markets is increasing the number of open-ended semi-liquid funds, and highlighted the attractive risk-adjusted returns offered by private credit in an environment of increasing interest rates.