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06 December 2023

Mena investors to diversify beyond region

Mena investors focus on diversifying beyond region. (AFP)

By Shveta Pathak

Improvement in the economic environment is witnessing return of investor confidence but Mena investors are focusing on diversifying beyond the region. And they are opting to go in for simpler investment options, finance executives told Emirates Business.

"Investor confidence is coming back but clients are looking at simpler products and at products they can understand," said Sumeet Bhambri, Head of Wealth Management, Standard Chartered, UAE.

"Two kinds of shifts in terms of investment preferences are happening. Investors are now more attuned to risks they were taking in the past.

"Earlier, clients who came to us wanted high returns. Now they are more realistic about their expectations and are worried about the amount of risk they are taking. That is shaping investment decisions.

"They are looking at simple products – fixed income, mutual funds, ETFs. Simpler products can give them the right kind of returns. Besides, they are diversifying."

John J Papesh, Managing Director, Pharos Financial Advisors, said: "Mena investors are diversifying investments into global opportunities whether this be private equity, hedge funds or direct investments. Investors are feeling more confident about global macro trends."

Rehan Syed, Head of Portfolio Management, ABN Amro Private Bank Middle East, said: "The painful lesson that clients have learnt in the past couple of years is that they were inward looking in this region.

"They had too much exposure to Mena assets. They have learnt to diversify beyond the region. In spite of all promises of the region, the equity and real estate market here is just a small portion of global markets.

"If investors were able to liquidate them on reasonable, not distressed terms, we would see more of diversification," said Syed.


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