Promising Future for Asset management industry


Alhajeri-Markaz Ghabga-“MIDAF Fund $1 billion in size, Markaz offices in Qatar, Beirut and regional presence in Riyadh and Jordan” Kuwait Financial Center S.A.K. (“Markaz”) recently held an “all-employee” Ramadan Ghabga where Markaz employees and their families had the opportunity to get together for the evening. Mr. Manaf Alhajeri, General Manager of Markaz, commenced the evening by warmly welcoming the Markaz fraternity and lauded them for enabling Markaz to stride with vigor and passion. Mr. Alhajeri said "We are proud of our leadership in the area of fund management, Markaz Investment and Development Fund’s "MIDAF" net assets have reached $1 billion, a milestone rarely achieved and is illustrative of the strong attractiveness of the strong risk-adjusted performance of the Kuwait market to foreign investors. Our flagship product, Markaz Fund for Excellent Yields "Mumtaz", won two Lipper – Reuters awards for Best Equity Fund in Kuwait for the periods (3 years) and (5 years), performing in excess of 45% YTD. Markaz is also an active player in direct investments, where it focuses on promising sectors in the MENA region such as oil & gas, realestate, and infrastructure". Alhajeri next talked about Markaz’s regional expansion plans "Markaz realized the importance of being present in the targeted markets, and took the initiative of opening its first regional branch in Qatar Financial Centre last year, followed by its partnership with Al Rayan Bank in the second phase of The Lusail Waterfront Project. In the next few months, Markaz will penetrate more markets with a special focus on Riyadh, Beirut, and Jordan". Alhajeri provided a round-up of Markaz’s strategy and growth initiatives being undertaken at various levels especially asset management and investment banking, "Markaz aspires to position itself as one of the Middle East’s leading investment banking and asset management institutions aimed at serving regional and global clients. More importantly, he stressed that the initiatives taken were aimed at providing earnings stability as well as providing the platform for sound and sustainable growth". Alhajeri added that Markaz enjoys various characteristics that will help it achieve its goals such as credibility, innovation, transparency and a proactive business model. Markaz has clearly established a leadership position in the GCC asset management capabilities, in both investment funds and managed accounts. Going forward, Markaz is geared towards tapping direct investment opportunities in the region and other emerging markets through its strong due diligence skills. Markaz enjoys a superior performance track record across key asset classes, including equities, real estate, oil & gas and derivatives. In terms of real estate activities, Alhajeri said "The real estate activities at Markaz is the fastest growing and has a long established track record. During Q1 2007 Markaz launched Markaz Real Estate Opportunities Fund which invests in developmental projects in the MENA region". Alhajeri concluded 'In short, Markaz would not only bring global opportunities to regional clients, but would also present regional opportunities to global clients". Alhajeri highlighted Markaz's active corporate social responsibility role through various charities and other programs. He later thanked and encouraged staff members for their continued dedication and commitment to Markaz and gave his best wishes to them and to their families.