Winter 2018

EDITORIAL: Not for the timid

Romil_PatelFrom a foreign policy perspective, the MENA region was once considered predictable. That is no longer true, and investors have taken notice. They cannot afford not to, as the notable absence of key players at the so-called “Davos in the desert” forum – the Future Investment Initiative conference held in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia in October – highlighted. Turkey, the former darling of foreign investors, had a turbulent 2018 that at the height of the crisis saw its currency plunge 40% in value against the US dollar. It has since recovered, but these incidents show that geopolitical risks are ingrained in the DNA of the region. It is not for the timid investor, but then that is often the trade-off for access to attractive returns. Few emerging markets are driven up or down by one simple theme or story. Instead, there is often a complex mix of different moving parts, and the MENA region is no exception. Both Iran and Turkey have experienced heightened tensions with the US – something other countries will find familiar. Whereas Turkey has experienced a respite following the release of a US pastor, Iran has been faced with yet more sanctions and the European Union is scrambling to keep the nuclear deal with Tehran on track. The question every investor will be asking is: what’s next? Romil Patel, editor, Funds Global MENA ©2018 funds global mena

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Executive Interviews

INTERVIEW: ‘Financing is the blood of Iran’s economy’

Amid a fresh wave of American sanctions, Romil Patel spoke to Meysam Hamedi, director of financial markets and instruments at Iran’s Securities & Exchange Organization (SEO).

INTERVIEW: Totally mega

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INTERVIEW: Protecting the investment

Rasmala’s trade finance fund recently passed $100 million in assets. Doug Bitcon, head of credit strategies, explains why he has to be hands-on.

EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW: A natural interest in the topic

Since 2016, Guillermo Ortiz has been a chairman of Latin America’s BTG Pactual. The former central banker of Mexico talks to Nick Fitzpatrick.

Roundtables

South Africa asset management roundtable: Global rebound on ice

Experts discuss the investment implications of the coronavirus pandemic, a delayed rebound in global growth and dealing with South Africa’s energy issues head on. Chaired by Romil Patel in Cape Town.

South African roundtable: Taking the bull by the horns

Our panel discusses Chinese investment in Africa, financial institutions’ contribution to economic sustainability and regulatory concerns. Chaired by Romil Patel in Cape Town.

ROUNDTABLE: Hooked to the global caravan

With the MENA region at a tipping point, our panellists talk about economic diversification, the impact of regulation and the delayed Saudi Aramco listing. Chaired by Romil Patel in Dubai.

MENA ROUNDTABLE: ‘The story is about reforms’

Our cross-industry panel discuss the positive backdrop in Egypt, the Dana Gas controversy and the potential index upgrades of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Chaired by George Mitton in Dubai.