Ashmore Group plc’s Middle East expansion to make Saudi Arabia key market

480Ashmore Group plc announced today the opening of a local asset management office in Saudi Arabia.

Ashmore Group plc (Ashmore) is a leading specialist Emerging Markets investment manager based in London with local asset management businesses established in key Emerging Markets. Ashmore’s latest office in Riyadh joins a network of offices which includes Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Turkey and the United States.

Leveraging Ashmore’s existing offshore fund platform and investment teams, the Ashmore Investment Saudi Arabia team will target institutional and private clients by marketing directly to institutions, family offices and high net worth individuals. Ashmore is already a long-term investor in Saudi Arabia through its range of Emerging Markets debt, equity and special situations/private equity funds.

Mark Coombs, Chief Executive Officer of Ashmore Group plc, said:

“Opening this subsidiary is part of Ashmore’s strategy to build local businesses in key emerging markets. Establishing our first office in the Middle East in Riyadh clearly demonstrates our confidence that the country’s young but significant asset management market will continue to grow at an impressive rate.”

Khalid Al-Sweilem, Chairman, Ashmore Investment Saudi Arabia, said:

“Ashmore is the first dedicated international investment manager to establish a business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we believe that the combination of local talent and Ashmore’s global investment management expertise and track record will allow us to develop a leading business in the Saudi investment management market.”

Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Middle East, has been one of the best performing G-20 economies in recent years and has shown resilience through the global financial crisis. The IMF predicts the economy will grow 4.6% this year, helped by a robust performance of the private sector, with large scale infrastructure projects and spending on housing continuing to support non-oil sector growth.

The recent announcement that foreign investors will be allowed direct access to the Saudi Arabia equity market is a milestone event and of significant importance to investment managers such as Ashmore. The Tadawul All Share index comprises over 160 companies with a total market capitalisation of USD530 billion and average daily trading volume of over USD2 billion. This puts the market on a par with the likes of South Africa and Malaysia, and makes it larger than Turkey, Indonesia and Mexico.

Ashmore Saudi will initially launch four mutual funds, offering both onshore and offshore investors the choice of Saudi, GCC and global equity and debt products.

The Riyadh office will benefit from Ashmore’s longstanding investment track record in the Middle East. Ashmore’s flagship equity fund, the Ashmore Middle East Fund, celebrates its 10 year anniversary in 2014 and since inception has delivered annualised gross investment returns of 15.15% compared with 6.87% from the S&P Middle East benchmark. The fund, which is available in SICAV format, has over USD 500 million under management (as at 30 Sept 2014).

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