(For other news from the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit,
* Credit Suisse has close ties to Qatar sovereign fund
* Sees it diversifying investments beyond U.S., Europe
* May put more focus on real estate, infrastructure,
* Attractive as inflation hedge
* Asset management venture to launch second MENA fund
By Mirna Sleiman
DOHA, Oct 28 Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is
looking at more investments in emerging markets in order to
diversify beyond developed nations, said a senior executive of
Credit Suisse who is one of the top advisors to the
With assets estimated by analysts at about $100-200 billion,
and over a dozen potential deals on its radar every week, Qatar
Investment Authority (QIA) is courted by bankers and politicians
around the world.
While the fund will continue to take large minority stakes
in well-established firms, it may in future place more emphasis
on tangible assets such as real estate, infrastructure and
commodities rather than merely financial instruments, said
Aladdin Hangari, head of Credit Suisse's Qatar operations.
"For a sovereign wealth fund, that's investing for future
generations, it makes sense to go for assets that are income-
producing and can act as a good inflation hedge for the future,"
he said in an interview for the Reuters Middle East Investment
"They tend to do more in Europe and the United States
because they're more familiar with the legal framework, which
makes it easier to do things. I think going forward, we'll see
them doing more in emerging markets as long as they find the
Qatar Holding, the investment arm of the wealth fund, has in
recent years deployed the tiny country's natural gas wealth to
buy a string of high-profile stakes in the West, from German
sports car maker Porsche to British bank Barclays
and Swiss lender Credit Suisse.
But in a sign of an increased focus on emerging markets, the
fund hired Michael Cho, a Hong Kong-based banker, as head of
mergers and acquisitions in August. The veteran Merrill Lynch
banker filled a post vacant since 2011.
Deven Karnik, another Asia-based banker who was previously
with Morgan Stanley, joined in April to run a newly
formed infrastructure team.
QIA is the second-largest shareholder in Credit Suisse with
a 6.2 percent stake, and the Swiss bank has landed advisory
roles on some of the fund's most high-profile investments.
Hangari, who is one of the closest bankers to the fund and
has advised it on a number of deals, does not see any major
impact on business from political change in Qatar. In June,
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani became Emir as his father handed
"My feeling is that there will not be a major change in
Qatar's economic policy and investment strategy. Qatar, with the
surpluses that they have, will continue to invest abroad like
they've been doing during the past few years," Hangari said.
Credit Suisse in Qatar owns an asset management venture with
Qatar Holding named Aventicum Capital Management. The firm
plans to launch a second Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
fund before the end of this year, Hangari said.
The long-short fund is planned to be "multi-asset but will
invest predominantly in equities and equity derivatives in MENA,
Turkey and other frontier markets," the executive said.
The venture launched its first flagship, long-only equities
fund, which invests in the MENA region, in 2012. The asset
management firm is owned 40 percent by Qatar Holding, while
Credit Suisse owns the rest.
"Post-launch at the end of 2013, the venture is expected to
have $250-300 million of assets under management," Hangari said.
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(Editing by Dinesh Nair and Andrew Torchia)