Growing Interest in Doha Bank’s Al Hayer GCC & MENA Fund as Region’s Equity Indices Ride the Momentum in 2013

Al Hayer

The Fund is open to Qatari Individuals, Corporates and Institutions seeking medium to long-term capital growth in the GCC and MENA markets

Doha Bank, the leading private commercial bank in Qatar, which launched “Al Hayer GCC & MENA Fund” for Qatari Individuals, Corporates and Institutions recently, said interest in the Fund is high as investors are seeking new avenues for growth supported by strong investment expertise.

During a recent briefing held by the Bank for its partners to highlight opportunities for collaboration, Doha Bank Group CEO Dr. R. Seetharaman said interest in Al Hayer Fund is high, given many market fundamentals which make investing in the region’s equities more attractive now than ever before: “The upgrade of Qatar and the UAE from frontier markets to emerging markets by the Morgan Stanley Capital Index (MSCI) is a strong indicator of growing confidence in not just these two countries but also in the GCC region as a strong overall investment destination. By employing systematic equity strategies in the region through Al Hayer GCC & MENA Fund, Doha Bank seeks to deliver greater value to investors, strategically supported by the strong research and investment management capabilities of both Doha Bank and ING Asset Management Middle East.”

Dr. Seetharaman added: “The performance of the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index is a clear indicator of the positive sentiment in the market. At 1 July 2012 the index stood at 55.36 points and reached 62.88 points at 30 June 2013, which is a significant year-on-year leap that showcases the positive trajectory of key blue-chip listed equities in the region.”

The figures from the GCC have been positive in 2012. The Dubai Financial Market increased by 19.9% last year, compared to 2011, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange rose by 9.5% and the Saudi Stock Exchange rose by 6%. The Kuwait Stock Exchange increased by 2% and the Muscat Securities Market by 1%. Overall equity index performance is however not reflective of all listed companies on these exchanges as many of the targeted blue-chip equities delivered positive results and have good recommendations from the leading equity analysts of the region.”

The average P/E ratios for GCC equities stood at 14.1 in 2012, averaging out figures of 28.2 at the high point in Saudi Arabia and a low of 9.1 in Abu Dhabi during the year.

Dr. Seetharaman said that in 2013, the GCC is further buoyed by many major policies that have shaped the growth trajectory of the GCC markets: “These include the decision by the Saudi Capital Markets Authority to allow the listing of foreign firms in Saudi Arabia that already have shares listed on other regulated exchanges. While already being one of the most attractive regional indices, this shift positively impacts the future potential of blue-chip equities in the Saudi market as foreign firms are lining up to be part of the region’s biggest equities market, based on capitalization.

At the end of 2012, the GCC bourses had a combined capitalization of USD762.6 bn, up 6.1% from the USD719 bn in 2011 driven primarily by the surge in the Saudi Tadawul which makes up nearly half of the GCC bourses market capitalization. At the same time, the GCC countries’ combined nominal GDP was forecast to bypass USD1.5 trillion in 2013 which can have positive impacts on equities performance in the region across many key sectors.

The recovery of the real estate sector in the UAE has also been a major boost to the market and the UAE bounced back significantly at the end of 2012 registering strong growth year on year of 19.89% by the Dubai Financial Market and 9.53% year on year by the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, which were also the top two performing indices in the region during 2012.

The creation of the Capital Markets Authority as an independent regulator of the Kuwaiti bourse is a major stimulating factor in Kuwait which saw the de-listing of troubled companies and improved overall market performance. Further regulatory strengthening of the market is underway and the restructuring of the bourse are expected to have a positive impact, particularly as Kuwait was one of the GCC indices during 2012 that already registered growth and is primed to ride the momentum into 2013.

Doha Bank’s Al Hayer GCC & MENA Fund is an open-ended fund that seeks medium to long term capital appreciation by investing in a portfolio of companies listed on major stock markets across the Middle East region.

The Fund aims to consistently outperform markets in a disciplined and risk-controlled manner and will invest for medium to long-term performance in carefully selected companies that demonstrate strong business models, sound management, good earnings growth with attractive valuations.

Al Hayer Fund offers shareholders the flexibility of the sums they would like to subscribe to. Doha Bank Group CEO Dr. R. Seetharaman encouraged investors to capitalize on the initial offer period: “Al Hayer GCC and MENA Fund is designed to invest in blue-chip high performing equities in the region to reflect the positive growth seen in the overall market recently. We therefore encourage all Qatari individuals and institutional investors to utilize the current offer period to enter the fund at its foundation stages. This is a unique proposition in Qatar as most funds available in the country invest primarily in Qatar-based equities. Al Hayer Fund is unique in that it invests in the GCC and MENA markets and aims to deliver above average returns with below average risk through investing in a diversified and carefully selected portfolio of companies across major market sectors.”

Al Hayer Fund is an open-ended fund which opens up exciting investment opportunities to benefit from the potential growth across the GCC and MENA region. Doha Bank is the sponsor of the Al Hayer Fund which will be managed by ING Investment Management (Middle East) Limited.

It offers investors diversification benefits covering multiple countries and sectors, coupled with ease of investment through a simple application and subscription process, followed by monthly Net Asset Value (NAV) updates for all investors to help them keep track of fund performance during the investment period.