GCC economies: A compelling opportunity for asset managers
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GCC economies: A compelling opportunity for asset managers

Oil prices at $100 a barrel and more are not the only thing generating excitement about the prospects for the GCC economies. Non-oil GDP is also increasing and there’s a young population with increasingly sophisticated investment requirements. Chris Wright reports.

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The Gulf represents one of the most exciting opportunities for asset management anywhere in the world. At a time when global markets are being rocked by credit problems and an uncertain economic outlook, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) presents a compelling range of drivers: growing wealth, at a sovereign and individual level, fuelled by a record oil price; growing sophistication in investment; liberalizing regulatory environments across the region; and stock markets that show little correlation to global equities.

At the heart of the Gulf’s appeal is its strengthening economic position, and it sets a framework for the growth of a vibrant asset management industry. National income growth averaged 19% in the six GCC nations (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman) in the four years to June 2007; over the same period, GCC governments added $500 billion to their net foreign assets despite huge spending on projects.

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