Specialist Alternative Asset Management Firm targeting MENA region gets licence to operate from DIFC

Gulfmena to introduce flagship Arab Opportunities Fund in the last quarter of 2009

Gulfmena Alternative Investments Ltd (Gulfmena) has been granted Licence by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to operate as an asset management company from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Gulfmena is a fund and asset manager specialised in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets. Its primary fund management activity focuses on introducing absolute return strategies and enhanced alpha solutions for institutional clients and qualified high net worth investors seeking exposure to MENA markets. The company also offers international and regional clients customised strategies and investment management services catering to both conventional and Shariah compliant investors.

Key to the success of Gulfmena’s investment strategies and services is its risk management regime, which combines strict risk measures with liquidity and capacity controls. Investors will also benefit from Gulfmena’s state-of-the-art information technology and portfolio reporting systems.

HE Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC said: The MENA region has long been a part of the emerging markets portfolio of major global funds, and, over the years, it has provided significant returns as the region’s economies revitalised themselves and grew rapidly.

“Now with the shift in the world’s economic centre of gravity to the East, speeded up by the financial crisis in the West, the MENA region offers even greater potential for economic growth and wealth creation. DIFC is ideally located as the gateway to not just the MENA, but also the Caspian and the Indian Subcontinent,” HE Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman pointed out.
“DIFC provides a platform for specialist, professionally managed alternative funds and asset managers like Gulfmena to tap into opportunities in the MENA market. Over the next few years, we expect many more such specialists to establish themselves in DIFC. Their growth will enhance the depth and sophistication of the region’s financial sector,” the DIFC Governor added.

Haissam Arabi, Gulfmena’s Founder, CEO and Fund Manager, said: “The changing landscape within the asset management industry and rapidly growing investor sophistication, especially following the credit crunch, places regulation and compliance at the heart of any successful investment strategy.

“The DFSA is the only regional authority today to offer a comprehensive, world-class regulatory environment which is essential for addressing today’s investor needs. It provides the ideal platform for Gulfmena to become the leading specialist alternative investment house in the region,” Arabi added.

Gulfmena will introduce its flagship investment strategy through “Gulfmena Arab Opportunities Fund” a macro-directional (market-directional) absolute return public equities fund that will be launched in the last quarter of 2009. The first MENA hedge fund of its kind, the Fund seeks to adopt Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) from the start.
Marc Hambach, Gulfmena’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We believe we have a proposition for a unique non-traditional investment strategy and an unparalleled risk management platform that better meets the challenges and opportunities of today’s MENA markets.

“For that purpose, we are delighted to be headquartered in DIFC which has proven to be the hub for specialist regional managers. Given that alternative investment management within regional markets remains a pioneering concept, we look forward to aligning interests with a progressive partner such as DIFC and working together to create the region’s alternative investment space,” Hambach said.

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