Global family offices see UAE as investment hub Filed on August 26, 2021

Omar Alghanim, chairman of Family Business Council Gulf. — Supplied photo

Nour Tassabehji, investment director at CdR Capital. — Supplied photo

Hugo Sykes, Partner, AtmosClear Investments. — Supplied Photo

The UAE has undertaken a series of legislation reforms to promote the smooth transfer of wealth and ownership of family-owned assets and businesses.

The UAE has chartered a growth strategy to see itself as a global investment destination and evidently its business-friendly policies tend to attract talent. paving way for global Family Offices to set up their operations in the UAE.

Omar Alghanim, chairman of Family Business Council Gulf, highlights the enabling environment for global families in the UAE, “in the past decade, the UAE has undertaken a series of legislation reforms to promote the smooth transfer of wealth and ownership of family-owned assets and businesses. This includes the issuance of trust and foundation legislation, and was followed by the enacting of a wills system for non-Muslims, in both DIFC and ADGM”.

Recently, Dubai Law No. 9 of 2021 (Family Ownership Law), was passed and is voluntary legislation that recognises collective family ownership and a transfer mechanism for a collectively owned asset, informs Alghanim.

UBS Global Family Office Report 2020 that surveyed 121 of the world’s largest family offices indicate that asset allocation of more than half (56 per cent) of families remain closely involved in strategic asset allocation, making it a priority for the family office and a cornerstone of wealth preservation. While the current generation of beneficial owners are mainly in their 60s and 70s, around a third of family offices have no plans for a change in control.

Hugo Sykes, Partner, AtmosClear Investments, Switzerland, said:  “Dubai, and the wider UAE, is already a leading international hub for global family offices. Combining a strong legal framework, access to capital, excellent infrastructure, digital government, ambitious entrepreneurial culture, and a deep pool of professional talent from all over the world, Dubai is well placed to keep rising in international rankings. In addition to the formidable family offices from the UAE, international families such as our own, are recognising the growth opportunities in Dubai and are looking to increase their investments in the region.”

The report states that while 39 per cent of family offices intend to allocate most of their portfolios sustainably in five year’s time, they’re mainly targeting the easier option of exclusion-based strategies.

More than two thirds (69 per cent) of family offices view private equity as a key driver of returns. And over half (55 per cent) of family offices rebalanced their portfolios in March, April and May to maintain their long-term strategic asset allocation. But they were also highly opportunistic, with two thirds trading up to 15 per cent of portfolios tactically. When evaluating impact investments, 43 per cent of family offices still prioritise investment performance.

Nour Tassabehji, investment director at CdR Capital, said: “We have seen international Family Offices becoming more active in the region, and more of them are setting up a local presence here. They have been finding pockets of attractive investment opportunities in income-generating, and venture private investments, which has allowed the region to benefit not only from inflows but also from a new type of sophisticated investor base.”

Tassabehji’s career spans both financial services and luxury brand management, providing trading and advisory services to high-net-worth individuals.

Recently a Spanish family office with investments worldwide, focused primarily on private equity, chemicals, real estate, and financial investments moved to Dubai. “In 2021, we decided to move part of our family office to Dubai – the main reasons to open a branch in the UAE were political stability; legal certainty; talent attraction; easiness to travel, and networking,” a spokesperson said. —


Sandhya D'Mello

Journalist. Period. My interests are Economics, Finance and Information Technology. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, I have worked with some leading publications in India, including the Economic Times.

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