Standard & Poor’s Fund Services, the leading provider of qualitative fund management ratings, yesterday said it is extending its fund management ratings service to companies based in the Gulf.
As part of the launch, S&P Fund Services announced that it has rated 10 Gulf-based funds run by EFG-Hermes, Gulf Investment Corporation, Mashreqbank, Bank Muscat and the Securities and Investment Company.
The launch of the fund management ratings is part of a wider S&P initiative to raise its presence and visibility in region, the service provider said in a statement.
S&P recently appointed a Gulf regional manager and is expected to open an office in Dubai in February. In addition, S&P’s index business continues to roll out a range of Shariah-compliant indices that are of interest to Gulf-based investors.
Benjamin Bird, head of Product Development at S&P, said: “There is considerable demand from asset managers, investors and advisers in the Gulf for interview-based, forward-looking fund management ratings.
“Our ratings and analysis have been long used in the European markets as a tool to help manager and fund selection, and we look forward to building on these foundations. There is currently a lack of qualitative fund information in the Gulf and we believe the S&P brand, with its core values of transparency, objectivity and credibility, is one which will resonate with the investment community in the Gulf,” he added.
The new Gulf-based funds rated by S&P Fund Services are mainly domiciled in Bahrain, Bermuda and Oman and are targeting Gulf-based investors, including institutions, high net worth individuals and family offices. Some are seeking European- and/or United States-based investors.
The funds reviewed represent a fairly broad and comprehensive sample, the S&P statement said, in terms of areas of investments and experience levels of the management teams. Some invest in the broader Middle East and North Africa region, some in the GCC or in single countries and sectors. They are all actively managed.
Roberto Demartini, lead analyst at S&P Fund Services, said: “The Middle East asset management industry is currently setting the foundations for its future development. The industry is growing quickly and is expected to do so in future.
“Our first exposure to the industry has been very positive, with 10 funds covered, of which four achieved an ‘AA’ rating and six achieved an ‘A’ rating. We identified asset management firms that fully met our high standards in terms of quality of investment process and minimum levels of experience of personnel,” Demartini said.
S&P’s Fund Services offers qualitative assessment of more than 1,300 funds using a team of 45 experienced analysts and investigators.