Arab Bank and Atlas Investment Group launch US$100 million fund to invest in the MENA region

Published June 15th, 2005 - 08:28 GMT

The Arab Bank announced the official launch of the Arab Bank Middle East & North Africa (“MENA”) Fund, an open-ended mutual fund managed by Atlas Investment Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arab Bank Plc, and sponsored by the Arab Bank MENA Fund Company B.S.C, a Bahrain-incorporated company.


The Arab Bank MENA Fund is a flagship, regional product for Arab Bank Plc that seeks to capitalize on the positive economic trends and investment opportunities in the regional markets. It will primarily invest in the equity and fixed income markets of the Middle East and North Africa by employing a diversified asset allocation strategy that includes twelve Arab markets. The Fund is targeting to raise a capital of US$100 million, and the Arab Bank Plc has provided seed capital of US$5 million.


“We are very enthusiastic about the launch of the Arab Bank MENA Fund", said Eyad Mashal, Head of Asset Management at Atlas Investment Group, "the MENA region is undergoing dynamic changes economically, politically and socially, and is riding the wave of modernization and development that is translating into stellar equity market performance. The Fund is well positioned to benefit from the prospects of the region, as it combines both the uniqueness of structure and geographical coverage, along with the resources and expertise of Arab Bank Group who has a wealth of experience and outstanding performance in investing in the region.”


The MENA region is attracting a growing and diverse number of investors, as stock markets are outperforming developed world markets in general and other emerging markets in particular. Over the period from 2001 through 2005, the MENA stock markets on average have returned 30% per year compared to a return of 12% by emerging markets and -1% by developed markets.


“It is the right time to be investing in the region. Market depth across regional markets continues to improve, as liquidity levels increase with the rapid rate of equity and bond issues coming to market – the MENA Fund offers a unique and an unparalleled opportunity to regional and international investors,” said Omar M. Masri, Global Head of Investment Banking at Arab Bank, “investment in MENA stock markets reduces investors' overall portfolio risk due to the low correlation with other markets, thus enhancing diversification and improving portfolio returns.”


The Arab Bank MENA Fund is open for both individual and institutional investors.


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