UAE: Experts discuss effective investment tools for pensions, social security

GCC experts emphasised partnership and asset allocation for sustainable pension fund growth

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Ashwani Kumar

Published: Mon 5 Jun 2023, 7:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 5 Jun 2023, 8:13 PM

Senior investment and pension experts from across the GCC region have highlighted the role of partnerships, exchange of know-how, asset allocation among other tools to enhance financial prosperity in pension funds and to deliver sustainable social and economic development across Gulf countries.

The 15th annual seminar for Civil Retirement and Social Insurance Authorities in the GCC organised by the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) brought together top experts from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE.

Faras Al Ramahi, GPSSA’s Director General, noted the two-day seminar was held as part of a joint collaboration among pension and social insurance authorities in the GCC region to discuss effective investment tools for pension and social security.

Al Ramahi explained that investment sectors in the GCC region have undergone years of experience and challenge, which requires joint collaboration and exchange of experiences and expertise in order to support the acceleration of pension and social security, while improving the overall performance of authorities in order to achieve an increase in investment returns and strategic visions.

Muhannad bin Aqel Al Bahli, research and studies specialist from the General Organisation for Social Insurance (GOSI) in Saudi Arabia, highlighted the importance of assessing investment risks in pension funds through continuously evaluating and monitoring global events and conditions that may affect investment operations and assets, with emphasis on diversification and distribution or transfer of assets to other investments, such as alternative investments in stocks or fixed income bonds, infrastructure and credit markets with an intent to avoid high risks, which should be measured using a reference indicator based on best practices.

Abdulla Al Ghafli, investment manager at GPSSA’s investment sector, explained the methodology behind managing assets and receivables as well as the distribution of assets, which can only be accomplished using an investment strategy that achieves a balance between risks and returns, and dividing investment portfolio assets as per the authority’s ability to bear future risks.

Al Ghafli added that the diversification of investments results in reducing risk, determining expected investment returns, while highlighting differences in investment methodologies and the factors influencing their selection according to systematic experiments adopted by pension funds in the GCC countries.

Babar Khan, chief investment officer at GPSSA’s investment sector, discussed the strategy for distributing assets in the pension portfolio, and the benefits included in the asset distribution process at the authority, with emphasis on the existence of long-term investment alternatives in light of long-term pension fund obligations. He talked about the role of governance in preserving liquid and non-liquid assets.

Bader Al Kandari, chief investment officer, liquid sector at the Public Institution for Social Security in Kuwait, pointed out that the design strategy for distributing assets in Kuwait’s pension portfolio, the governance procedures that were followed during the transitional period and the most important basic pillars that supported the investment process, such as selecting a renown international consultancy firm with proven track-record and experience in asset distribution.

Bader Qassem Bualley, investment executive at the Social Insurance Organisation in Bahrain, stressed on the importance of asset allocation and governance in investment fund risk management, highlighting investment principles and its importance in leading investment performance in an entity.

Mubarak bin Juma Al Habsi, head of the settlement and follow up department at the Public Authority for Social Insurance in Oman highlighted the role of investment funds in managing pension resources and supporting global market investment opportunities, in addition to reviewing investment documentation prior to investment operations and the presence of a permanent financial advisor in each authority, emphasising the need to diversify relevant forms within the portfolio and in accordance to needs.


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