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October 2019 investment update

One of the most common questions asked in client meetings is ‘What makes Dolfin different’? Clients often feel that they want their investment manager to stand out from the crowd and to be delivering something ‘better’ than their peers.  Read more in our October monthly investment update, now available to download and view online.

Cybercrime: Threat and opportunity

With cyber criminals constantly on the lookout for new ways to attack companies’ resources and compromise their data, there are numerous start-ups entering the cyber security space. At the same time, an estimated skills shortage of some 3 million people has left organisations struggling to recruit and retain skilled professionals. We look at what is being done in companies to ensure that the industry keeps pace with cyber criminals, and investment opportunities in the space.

Dolfin shortlisted twice in the International Investment Awards 2019

Simon Black, our Head of Investment Management, has been shortlisted in the ‘Emerging Talent of the Year’ category and Dolfin as a firm for ‘Excellence in Client Service’, in the annual International Investment Awards. Voting is now open.

Postcard from Oman

A major maritime trading post for centuries, Oman’s strategic Arabian Peninsula location fostered a nation of traders, tacticians and empire-builders. Fast forward to 2019, and there’s a new wave of opportunity on the horizon for investors, says Adrian Christofides, Director, Ultra-High-Net-Worth and Family Offices in Asia, Dolfin.

17 September 2019 / Macro & Markets

There’s no doubt that Oman has long been perceived as the poorer cousin to its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) neighbours, both economically and geopolitically; but with lower oil prices impacting regional economies, the Sultanate is upping its economic diversification game.

Major credit agencies have downgraded Omani debt to junk status, and fiscal spending will undoubtedly remain tight over the next few years. However the latest World Bank Gulf Economic Monitor report is forecasting an enviable growth rate of 6 per cent in 2020, despite the IMF recently cutting Oman’s 2019 economic growth forecast to 0.3 per cent.

Controversially, Oman has remained politically neutral on the Qatar blockade, and is currently Qartar’s top non-oil exporting destination, with a January 2018 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing set to deepen existing economic and trade ties.

One of the big beneficiaries has been Oman Air, which has capitalised on the regional air carrier embargo. The Sultanate is also one of the first GCC states to (contentiously) engage with Iraq, with the recent inking of an MoU to further cooperation in the oil and gas sector.

New business-friendly landscape

Historically, investing in Oman hasn’t had the ease of doing business appeal of other GCC nations, but long-awaited pro-business reforms are finally forthcoming.

In July 2019, the much talked-about Foreign Capital Investment Law was announced, whereby (certain) foreign companies will be permitted 100 per cent foreign ownership, as well as privatisation and public–private partnership (PPP) laws. Another Western-investor tick-box is a cutting through of red tape, with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry gearing up for the launch of its Invest Easy portal.

Historically, investing in Oman hasn’t had the ease of doing business appeal of other GCC nations, but long-awaited pro-business reforms are finally forthcoming.

PPPs have been identified as a major driver of future economic growth under the government’s current five-year diversification strategy (Tanfeedh). Major projects include Oman Rail, which is set to see a restart of the tendering process for its mineral line.

The government has allocated around OMR3.7bn (approximately £7.8bn) for investment in 2019, including OMR1.2bn for infrastructure, with a raft of projects covering medical services, airport cargo and maintenance facilities, and expansion of the country’s road network.

Emulating Dubai’s hugely successful free zone model, the Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZAD), which will eventually encompass an area of 2,000 square kilometres, is vying for the crown of leading Middle East logistics hub. And things appear to be slowly moving in the right direction with the new Duqm International Airport operational, and Duqm Port’s new container terminal expected to be up and running by year end.

Mining is another investment wish-list industry, with one eye on developing capacity for increased related downstream activities and a newly ratified mining law that aims to streamline procedures for overseas investment.

Tourism makeover

Oman has been late to the game in developing a well-rounded offering, but with a robust tourism strategy in place, a healthy injection of Western capital would be a game-changer in terms of regional competitiveness.

Oman is also building on a reputation as a family-friendly destination, with tourism its trump investment card. Colliers International reports that international arrivals will increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5 per cent through to 2023 (to 3.5 million visitors), and the all-new Muscat International Airport, which has initial capacity for 20 million passengers, is being touted as the new gateway to the country.

Oman has been late to the game in developing a well-rounded offering, but with a robust tourism strategy in place, a healthy injection of Western capital would be a game-changer in terms of regional competitiveness.

The planned transformation of Port Sultan Qaboos and Port Khasab into ‘premier waterfront destinations’ in the tourism-meets-lifestyle vein is leading the way, alongside a number of other areas identified as ripe for a tourism makeover.

The government is looking ahead to launching IPOs for up to 11 state-owned companies, another must-do in order to stay competitive, but for Western investors, Oman is a long-play.

While its new-look business and investment landscape is a welcome move, it will take a number of years before the necessary infrastructure is completed to allow enough critical mass to open the investment floodgates across the full spectrum of economic diversification opportunity… but it’s one to watch for the future.

Read More

Team Human vs Team Tech

Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist, documentarian and Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at Queens College, CUNY, argues that by unthinkingly embracing disruptive technology, we could lose sight of what makes us human.

Dolfin
/ 10 September 2019

Alternative plans

Alternative investments present an inviting opportunity for wealth managers, but they are not without challenges: for many wealth managers, offering a more diverse range of investments can prove too cumbersome and costly without significant technology upgrades.

Dolfin
/ 3 September 2019

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Founded as a London-based wealth boutique in 2013, today we’re a diversified financial services firm with an international presence and our own bespoke technology platform.

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