Zawya ranks Markaz Gulf Fund as the top performing MENA Equities Fund


“Markaz”, announced that “Markaz Gulf Fund” has been ranked as the top performing MENA Equities Fund by Zawya, the leading Middle East business information company. Zawya has been ranking equity funds in the region since 2008 on a methodology that evaluates parameters like performance, risk, compliance and fee structure.

Markaz Gulf Fund has gained the distinction of being consistently ranked as the best performing equity fund under the MENA Equity category for the 6th quarter in a row. The report states that the Fund was also the least volatile within its peer group. This risk-adjusted performance is also the hallmark of Markaz fund management strategy. The report also deemed the Fund as fully compliant and commended the efficient and transparent disclosures of performance updates to investors.

Commenting on MENA region stock market developments, Mujib Moosa, Vice President – MENA Equities at Markaz and Co-Fund Manager of “Markaz Gulf Fund” said “The fund’s profile is keeping in view the high volatile behavior of the stock markets in the MENA region., but the Fund's investing strategy since inception has consistently been to target returns and yet emphasize lower NAV volatility than the levels of overall volatility seen across MENA region markets. For much of the year 2010, the Fund has continued to retain a primarily GCC flavor as we believe that the increased fiscal spending environment for 2010-11 across GCC states, gradual recovery in growth of operating earnings for several leading companies and comfortable valuations much cheaper than seen in emerging markets has contributed towards GCC stock markets posting reasonable gains so far into the year. Since 2004-2005, years 2009 - 2010 could well see overall stock markets in the region post two consecutive years of gains. The S&P Pan Arab Composite Index had posted 18.2% gain for the Year 2009 and at end of the third quarter this year, the YTD gain is 9.9%.”

"Markaz Gulf Fund", co-managed between Mujib Moosa, and Amani Al-Omani, , won best performing MENA Equities Fund award from Lipper, a Reuters company, in 2010, and was granted an "A" rating from Standard & Poor's in 2009.

The Fund was launched in 2006, 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 S&P Pan Arab Composite Index, while retaining a GCC bias of more than 90%. It has posted -2.4% CAGR since inception, outperforming its benchmark by 10%. Its net assets are worth USD 43.6 million and the Net Asset Value (NAV) as of Sept 30, 2010 is USD 2.67. It has a low minimum subscription and weekly subscription and redemption. In addition, subscription is open to all nationalities.

Markaz’s track record in asset management in Kuwait and the GCC extends back to almost three 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". Markaz manages a major market share in the region through its funds; it’s ranked as the first in Kuwait and the fourth in the GCC.

As of June 30, 2010 the Markaz MENA Investments team managed assets of approximately KD 609 million (USD 2.1 billion), of which more than 60% are managed on behalf of institutional investors.

Photo Caption:Mr. Mujib Moosa, Vice President - MENA Equities at Markaz.
About Markaz:

Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over KD 928 million as of June 30, 2010, was established in 1974 has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region. Markaz was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997.