What is the asset class and geography you are focused on?
The focus is primarily on GCC equities and it is always in a global macro context. We also look into other asset classes such as United States treasury bonds and some of the commodities including oil and gold, but that's more on a more opportunistic basis.
What is the outlook for the month ahead in your opinion?
It really depends on which markets within the GCC we are dealing with. The UAE market has been very strong recently and the rally is expected to probably continue until the end of the earnings season, after which profit-taking activity will likely kick in. Qatar is bouncing off its lows and also looks attractive. The inflows we have seen from foreign investors into Qatar suggest that the market is due for a rally, especially since it has practically gone nowhere for two years. With Qatar making a big move at the onset of the earnings season, there is clearly a theme at play now. But we would watch out from profit-taking activity as the season comes to an end. As for Saudi, we have yet to get a catalyst to drive the market higher, but I think Saudi will prove to be a lucrative investment this year if not the month ahead. The drop in oil prices has clearly taken a toll on the market, but we see that as an opportunity. The upside potential in Saudi remains substantial in our view.
What are the main risks (either upside or downside) to the outlook?
Other than your typical geopolitical risks, the main downside risk we see is a sharp sell-off in US equities. The market can handle normal corrections but a severe event-driven sell-off led by the US will likely send shock waves across global equity markets, including those of the GCC.
What is the best investment at the moment in your opinion?
Equities remain our top asset class this year and I think there is the strong argument for a catch-up rally in many of the GCC equity markets. Our bullish calls since the beginning of the year have played out perfectly and more upside remains visible in my view.
What was the best investment you were ever involved in?
It was gold back in late 2004. I was working at a hedge fund at the time and had managed to pick up gold at some pretty cheap prices … unfortunately, my investment was smaller than it should have been.
What was the worst?
The worst was the exposure I had to equities just before the 2008 crash unfolded. Though I managed to exit relatively early, the loss remained one of the biggest I have had.