2 April 2015
Chief Executive Officer, EIIB-Rasmala Group
At Rasmala we develop innovative asset management and financing solutions to meet our clients’ investment requirements. With one of the largest and most stable teams in the region, a solid base of institutional clients, and a strong investment track record, Rasmala is an industry leading asset manager. Over the past few years, and in particular during 2014, Rasmala has continued to grow its asset management business with the intention of becoming the largest and most trusted regional asset management firm.
In 2014, Morningstar gave the Rasmala Arabian Markets Growth Equity Fund a much coveted five star rating based upon our investment performance over the past 3 years. Also in 2014, Global ISF / Euromoney awarded Rasmala the Sharia Fund Manager of the Year and European Islamic Investment Bank has been awarded Best Islamic Institution (Europe) by Islamic Finance. Such industry recognition serves as evidence of Rasmala’s continued success in investment performance, in developing new innovative products, and serving the needs of our local client base.
Also, we worked closely with our partners to navigate regional markets during the worst oil price decline since the Great Financial Crisis. Regional equity and fixed income markets bore the brunt of this volatile environment and although oil prices seem to have stabilized it would appear that supply issues will take longer to resolve and hence lower oil prices are likely to persist well into 2015.
During this period of heightened volatility, our investors have asked for income strategies. With this in mind, we launched a high dividend income GCC equity strategy, US equipment leasing and global trade finance funds. In 2015, we are planning to introduce new income yielding real estate strategies for our investors. We strongly believe that income strategies play an important role in reducing volatility in our investors’ portfolios.
As we look to 2015, we expect the year will bring further stability in Egypt, continued liberalization of capital markets in Saudi Arabia and sustainable economic growth across GCC. Such positive catalysts set against the increased pace of Quantitative Easing (“QE”) in Europe and Japan would bring stable growth to investors’ portfolios. However, we also note the regional geo-political instability and the potential slowdown in the GCC government spending on the back of lower revenues. We believe that GCC governments will manage the slowdown with budget deficit financing, and we forecast that private funding will selectively step in to fill any spending gaps.
I am pleased to attach our quarterly newsletter which reflects our in-depth house views on both regional equity and fixed income markets.