Appetite for funds of hedge funds growing in the Middle East

Middle Eastern investors are increasingly looking to make fund of hedge fund investments, according to Francisco Arcilla, head of funds of hedge funds at French group Axa Investment Managers.

Arcilla said the Middle East is increasingly on his marketing team’s radar due to rising investor interest in fund of hedge fund (FoHF) products there.

He spent last week in Dubai, which is “not a main destination for us,” he admitted. Nonetheless Arcilla managed to tie a conference in Dubai in with a substantial number (19) of client meetings, mainly with consultants, regional outposts of international private banks and family offices.

The sheer number of meetings indicates investor appetite for Arcilla’s products, although this does not always translate into an investment.

He said the biggest difficulty to persuading investors there to commit to allocating is many of the private banking outposts have limited freedom. “The regional outposts still have to maintain contact with headquarters in London or Switzerland” due to the private banks’ satellite approach, he explained.

Gaining the trust of the local fund selectors within the global private banks therefore “takes time. There are no quick wins in the Middle East,” Arcillo said.

Arcilla will soon return to the Middle East for another conference in Abu Dhbai and to meet with institutional investors across the region.

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