State Street reveals ‘unusual’ optimistic survey as it widens UAE presence

State Street Corporation has announced the opening of its first Abu Dhabi office, which will be located in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

This is the firm’s second office in the United Arab Emirates, building on its 26-year presence in Dubai. The firm’s presence in the Middle East will be led by Oliver Berger, senior executive officer for State Street Bank and Trust, and Emmanuel Laurina, senior executive officer for State Street Global Advisors.

The global financial giant said that it has also marked the opening with the unveiling of a research paper that draws on survey responses from 306 institutional investors based in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), responsible for more than $4.9 trillion in assets under management (AUM), who were asked about their outlook for growth and future economic trends in the region.

According to the research, more than three quarters (78%) of those surveyed are optimistic about their own growth prospects in the Middle East. As a result of this optimism, 75% foresee growing inflows into Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) domiciled funds over the next five years.

‘Unusual’
“To find this level of concurrence and optimism among major institutions is unusual,” said Liz Nolan, chief executive officer (CEO), EMEA, State Street and chairperson for State Street Global Advisors, EMEA. “The results show there is an almost universally positive outlook and prediction of growth in MENA. Having had a presence in the region for more than a quarter of a century, we have a unique perspective on the institutional investor community, and their positive outlook mirrors our own.”

In a sign of growing sophistication and increasing risk appetite, 91% plan to diversify their portfolios to historically complex asset classes including: emerging market equities, hedge funds, and infrastructure. 42% of those surveyed added that  they will increase their allocation to exchange traded funds (ETFs); and almost three quarters (73%) believe there will be growth in demand for funds which are led by environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations.

Saudi growth
The survey also found that amongst the major initiatives identified as providing impetus for the development of the GCC region as a financial hub, Saudi Arabia is seen as an engine of growth, with key drivers of inflows cited by 83 percent of respondents as the inclusion of Saudi stocks in emerging market indices, as well as the Saudi Vision 2030 economic plan, which was cited by 74 percent of participants.

“State Street joins a rapidly growing list of global financial institutions that have chosen to anchor their operations in ADGM to better serve a fast-growing region with dynamic business and investment needs,” said Richard Teng, CEO, Financial Services Regulatory Authority, ADGM. “The strong endorsement by State Street demonstrates its confidence in the exciting prospects and opportunities offered by Abu Dhabi and the region.

Click here to view State Street’s full 2018 Middle East and North Africa Regional Survey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Head of Video and Ezines at Open Door Media Publishing. Deputy Editor, International Investment. An experienced journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as a fully qualified IFA, Gary works across both International Investment and InvestmentEurope titles. Previous video production credits include projects on BBC, C4 and SKY.

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