Investors shift focus on GAIM Mideast summit
Dubai, September 17, 2008
Organisers of the Global Alternative Investment Management (GAIM) Middle East conference said this year's summit has generated heightened interest, following the collapse of the world's capital markets.
The organisers, IIR Middle East and IIR USA, said that the powerhouses of the regional and international investment community will be heading for the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, venue for the high-level summit, from November 16 to 19, 2008 because the region stands out as one of the few bright spots for international investors in today's volatile markets.
Upwards of 500 of the most influential business people in the Middle East are expected to participate in the summit.
'Investment houses are increasingly looking to the region as a source of future revenue to compensate for lean times as developed markets slip into recession,' said Jeremy Butcher, co-director of the conference.
'While regional markets have not proved immune to the downturn, many investment and fund managers remain bullish and are looking to increase investment in high growth Middle East countries – particularly the Arabian Gulf.
'Some major international players have already invested billions of dollars in equities, real estate and fixed income in the Middle East and North Africa region, the bulk of it in the Gulf and, despite market downturns, are not about to desert the region. In fact, shrewd international investors are finding even more opportunities.'
Relatively cheap valuations of Middle East listed companies, coupled with an increasingly progressive regulatory environment, are expected to attract more long-term institutional money to the region.
High oil prices triggered the first wave of investment in industrial and infrastructure projects in the region said co-director Julia Wilson. 'It is estimated that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will have invested around $3 trillion in the region by 2020,' she added.
'Regional companies are also becoming global players as wealthy regional funds and individuals invest around the world, a trend expected to grow as more distressed assets emerge in developed markets.'
Butcher added: 'Most analysts concede that even under the current pessimistic international scenario, the Middle East continues to offer promise and wealth accumulated in recent years should support the market even if recession and sinking oil prices slow the inflow of capital.'
Participants in the GAIM Middle East event are drawn from senior circles and include high net worth investors; family offices; sovereign wealth funds and government investment offices; funds, endowments and foundations; portfolio, fund and investment managers; investment bankers; brokers; law and accounting firms; government executives and finance ministers.
About 60 per cent of delegates come from the Arabian Gulf.
Two highly topical keynote addresses will also feature at GAIM Middle East from James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, on the responsibilities of business; and Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman of Citibank (CITI), on the uncertainty of business - investment, transition and crisis.
GAIM Middle East will host the 2nd annual Middle East Business Achievement Award and gala dinner attended by more than 800 regional business leaders, VIP guests and senior government representatives. The awards will recognise success, innovation and ethics across Middle East business. The awards and gala dinner will take place on Sunday, 16 November at the InterContinental Hotel, Festival City, Dubai.
GAIM Middle East, jointly organised by IIR Middle East and IIR USA, has received high level support including Shuaa Asset Management as founding sponsor; Global Investment House as platinum sponsor; The National Investor as gala dinner sponsor, among others. - TradeArabi