Mashreq aims Mena portfolio at retail investors

Mashreqbank, the largest private bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has launched a Middle East and North Africa (Mena) fund aimed at retail investors.

The Dublin-domiciled Ucits fund invests in blue-chip companies listed on the stock exchanges of Mena.

The Irish Mashreq Arab Tigers fund was launched through the investment management arm of the bank, Mashreq Asset Management, and will mirror the existing Mashreq Arab Tigers Fund.

Since launch in November 2005 the fund has outperformed its benchmark MSCI Arabian index by 38% and it is rated AA by Standard & Poor’s. Year-to-date the fund is up 8% against its benchmark.

“At Mashreq Asset Management we endeavour to follow best practices as far as regulatory environments are concerned, which was our rationale for domiciling the fund in Ireland,” says Imran Ahmed, the managing director of Mashreq Asset Management.

“The Mena economies are the fastest-growing economies in the world today and it is essential that as investment managers we open up our funds to foreign investment.”

The main equity markets that the fund will target include Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the UAE.

This will provide geographical diversification as well as giving European investors access to the Saudi Arabian market, which is notoriously difficult to gain exposure to for Western investors.

The minimum investment in the fund is $1,000 (£545) and subscriptions and redemptions take place on each business day.