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The challenge for Middle East fund managers

18 August 2011

The opportunities for international managers vary greatly across the region

Read more: Middle East fund management Dubai Saudi Arabia

In the Middle East there is the might of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, fuelled by the oil price and increasingly looking for overseas investment opportunity. But set against that are modest and often constrained local stock markets, and the fact that few emerging market investors give the place more than a cursory look. These divergent circumstances help to explain why global fund managers have taken a wide range of approaches to the region. At one extreme are the handful who have set up not only sales but manufacturing and portfolio management capability on the ground in the region, in some cases partnering with or even buying stakes in local operations.

At the other is the model of suitcase banking, with no noteworthy on-the-ground presence but a hefty frequent flyer balance. In the middle are those who see the region as a great place to source money from, but...