NBD Investment Bank, the full service regional Investment Bank, today announced that its Asset Management division’s Aafaq Investment Funds, which are UAE Dirham denominated, are now available for subscriptions from retail investors, corporations and institutional investors.
One of the funds, The Gulf Balanced Fund (GBF), which invests in GCC equities and fixed income instruments, has achieved 63.4% return for investors since its launch in November 2004. In 2006, it was the best performing GCC fund on a like-for-like basis. It is now accessible for investment through the entire distribution network: private investors (both High Net Worth and retail), corporate and institutional investors, across the wider MENA, South Asia, Turkey and internationally.
The Bank has also announced that it has reduced its annual management fee for the GBF fund from 1.75% to 1.5%, and introduced a performance fee in order to better align the interests of the fund manager with those of the fund and its investors. The fund has moved to daily liquidity, in common with other funds managed by the Asset Management Division (the first funds of their type in the region with daily liquidity), a move backed by a growing demand to create structured products on regional funds.
Commenting on the announcement, Shahzad Shahbaz, Chief Executive Officer of NBD Investment Bank, said, “The Gulf Balanced Fund has delivered attractive returns with consistently lower volatility for investors since inception, and this move opens up the fund to a much broader potential investor base in Dubai, the region, and internationally. Our dynamic approach helped the fund prove itself as a strong performer in 2006, one of the worst years the GCC markets have seen, by outperforming the benchmark GIC Composite index by over 33%.”
Administration of the fund has for the first time been outsourced to Apex Fund Services Ltd, while custody will continue to be managed by leading regional custodian Gulf Investment Corporation.
The GBF is managed by a team of experienced fund managers and analysts working in the Asset Management division within NBD Investment Bank. The fund is composed of long-term core positions (selected through rigorous fundamental analysis) and an actively managed portion, through a dynamic multi-strategy approach, to take advantage of the various legs of the market cycle.
The Asset Management Division also manages a MENA equities fund and regional portfolios.