2nd MENA Pensions Conference Examines Institutional Investment Portfolios

Manama, 12th November, 2017 – TAKAUD, the specialist provider of pension, savings and investment solutions for the MENA region, is pleased to announce that a highly esteemed panel of multi-regional experts at the 2017 MENA Pensions Conference will examine the landscape of and new trends for pension fund and institutional investment portfolios.

Pension funds are significant players in financial markets, constituting in excess of 30% of the world’s financial assets and eclipsing the value of national GDP in several countries. This year’s conference will feature a session, representing the first time the MENA region has had such an opportunity, to professionally examine how the huge accumulations of pension assets in every country can and should be invested to support growth and sustainability given anticipated payouts over a very long time.

To discuss this vital topic, TAKAUD has assembled a panel of top-notch experts. The session, entitled “The landscape for pension investing,” will be moderated by Mr. Mark Burbach, Chief Investment Officer of OSOOL, who brings a macro perspective to the issue. Speakers include H.E. Dr. Mohamed Maait, Vice Minister of Finance for Public Treasury Affairs, from Egypt’s Ministry of Finance, representing the most populous country in the MENA region. Mr. Abdullatif Al Seif is Advisor to the Governor on Investment Affairs at the Public Pension Agency in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and will bring the investment perspective of the largest pension fund in the GCC. Possible investment options and asset allocations will be examined by global asset management panelists, Mr. Lukas Daalder, CIO – Investment Solutions at Robeco, and Dr. Wolfgang Mader, Head of Investment & Risk Strategy at Allianz Global Investors (Managing Director of risklab), who represent firms that manage investments valued in the trillions of dollars.

“Given the broad experience of this panel in investing, we will be discussing the structuring of institutional investment portfolios. It will be interesting to see how the different entities have approached the issue and fared in this landscape over time. We need to understand evolving asset allocation models and techniques, touch on beliefs and learn lessons from the past.” said Mr. Burbach, the session moderator.

The Panel’s speakers will draw from their experience with leading MENA pension funds to present current structures of institutional investment portfolios and possibilities for performance optimisation. Dr. Maait said, “Pension investing is an important economic driver whose importance cannot be minimised. Getting the right mix of investments is critical.”

Participants will hear how the representatives of key regional entities have gained lessons from the past, and will be presented with asset management models and techniques for portfolio construction. Mr. Al Seif said, “There have been great lessons as the region has built substantial pension reserves and we are eager to share our experience with others even as learn from them.”

Lukas Daalder, author of Robeco’s Expected Returns 2018-2022 report, which was published just weeks ago, points out that while traditional asset classes such as equities and fixed income remain core holdings for pension funds, it’s becoming increasingly important to have multi-asset ‘higher-yielding’ tools and capabilities to reinvigorate and optimise portfolio construction over the coming years.

Dr. Mader said, “A long-term investment strategy for pension investors needs to be aligned with the long-term return ambition as well as with short and long-term risk goals. These dimensions need to be brought together in defined-benefit and defined-contribution pension schemes on top of existing investment guidelines and investment regulations.”

“We are more than pleased that such a distinguished panel of speakers will be discussing this vital topic at the 2017 MENA Pensions Conference,” said Ebrahim K. Ebrahim, TAKAUD’s Chief of Government Business, the Conference Chairman. “If we can think of investing as being like chemistry, where each element must be carefully weighed and proportionally balanced with other ingredients, these men are the chemists. We will be looking to them for the right investment formulas, advice, opportunities and cautions.”

The 2017 MENA Pensions Conference will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel, Kingdom of Bahrain, on November 28, 2017.