Middle East Investment Summit Day 1


Mr Gordon Grant Curtis


Mr Gordon Grant Curtis, Portfolio Manager & Executive Director, CI Investments

Chairman’s remarks

Mark Mobius

Keynote: Geopolitical consequences in a slow growth global economy

•    Examining the contagion of political populism and the pushback against globalization
•    Anticipated policy changes to narrow concerns over the growing inequality gap 
•    How will this alter US fiscal and monetary policy in 2017? 
•    The prospect of a hard Brexit and the pound’s uncertain future
•    Are concerns of a new cold war style era between Russia and the west valid? 
•    How emerging markets are contributing to global growth and reacting to liquidity issues
Panel discussion

Keynote Panel: Navigating a period of market volatility and anaemic global growth

•    Evaluating the trends shaping the global economy
o    Secular stagnation
o    The US economic outlook
o    Interest rates outlook 
o    Liquidity challenges
o    Uncertain oil markets
•    How are global investors adapting their investment strategy as a result of economic ambiguity
•    What investors can anticipate from the current outlook?  
•    Impact on portfolios and implications for MENA
Moderator: Mr Gordon Grant Curtis, Portfolio Manager & Executive Director, CI Investments

Speed networking


Morning refreshments

11: 20 Streams begin: attendees can visit any of the conferences below




Hosted by:

Host: Dr Steen Ehlern, Managing Director, Ferguson Family Office

Advancing technology to transform the investing experience

  • Embracing all aspects of digitalisation in investing 
  • Technological tools accessible to 21st century investors: digital analysis, social media platforms, knowledge-share technology and apps for crowd-sourced star-ratings for stocks 
  • Operating automated portfolio rebalancing 
  • Squeezing trading costs to a minimum 
  • Disintermediating the role of asset managers 
  • Lowering the barriers to entry 

Are hedge funds still providing an alternative source of diversification, risk and return?

  • Addressing the challenges of hedge fund crowding
  • Allocation trends for hedge funds in institutional investor portfolios
  • How have hedge fund managers responded to the low growth, volatile environment? 

Panel: Demographic and macro forces driving new opportunities in the real estate market

  • Factoring in generational shifts into real estate demand 
  • The impact of demographic and technology trends on the real estate market 
  • What impact will new office business models like the sharing economy have on the commercial real estate sector?  
  • Will ecommerce disrupt shopping centers and traditional retail real estate investments?
Moderator: Mr Gaurav Shivpuri, Head of Investment Transactions, Jones Lang La Salle
Mr Sasha Bernier, Vice President, Cheltenham Investments

Personalising the decision-making process with robo-advisors

  • Personalising the investment process to individual needs 
  • Overcoming the probability of falling short of personal goals
  • Increasing the interaction between advisor (robo or human) and investor
  • Eliciting risk tolerances, ambitions and preferences more consistentlEvaluating performance, benefits and any danger

Examining new relationship models for hedge funds managers and investors

  • Selecting the right alternatives manager for your portfolio
  • How have fee structures changed?
  • How are hedge funds adapting to provide increased transparency?

The growing demand for ‘real assets’ in investor portfolios

  • Factors driving a strategic rebalancing of investor portfolios into ‘real assets’
  • Will the demand for high value commercial sector assets continue? What will happen to your real estate portfolio when the low interest rate era ends? 
  • What sectors have become overvalued?

Integrating robo-advisors

  • Responding to pressure from lower-cost, tech-enabled robo-advisors
  • Utilising automated digital businesses 
  • Promoting passive investing 
  • Providing automated portfolio rebalancing and tax optimisation 
  • Engaging customers on personal goals and behaviour 
  • Clearing up industry uncertainties
  • Combining robo-algorithms with human advisors harmoniously

What hedge fund strategies will outperform in the current environment?

  • Will high market volatility favor certain strategies? 
  • Will event driven strategies continue to underperform in 2017?
  • How are hedge fund business models adapting to differentiate their product offering?

What are the next undervalued real estate classes and markets worth considering?

  • Looking at opportunities in the alternative real estate space
  • Quantifying the risk/return spectrum of real estate in growth markets
  • Is private real estate a safe haven?

Insurance Linked Investments: A Diversifying source of yield

  • The development of the insurance-linked securities (ILS) market
  • Investment opportunities in Non-life and Life Insurance (catastrophe bonds, collateralised reinsurance, mortality bonds)
  • Resilience through times of market volatility  
Mr Lorenzo Volpi, Head of Business Development, Leadenhall Capital Partners Llp

Alternative opportunities to diversify your real estate portfolio

  • New liquid and illiquid ways of gaining exposure to real estate
  • Geographic diversification 
  • Real estate debt as an alternative to traditional credit exposure 

Reserved for gold sponsor 






Investing in cryptocurrencies and intrinsic value – how to maximise revenue

Finding where the strengths lie in merger, fixed and convertible arbitrage strategies

Investing in commercial real estate

Goal based investing, adapting to a new normality in asset management

The generational evolution - considering millennials in allocation strategy

Off shore investments: assessing current markets and opportunities

Are traditional trading strategies still relevant to the 2017 investor? How to sustain them?


Networking lunch





Preparing for the imminent Invest-Tech wave

  • Enabling sharper evaluation of intangible assets  
  • Tracking not only current economic activity but also the trajectories of changes
  • Developing a tool to listen to social media and collaborative data
  • Using machine learning to trace patterns 
  • Simplifying KYC onboarding 
  • Which functions and processes should be “technologised”?
  • Is it better to be an early adopter or free ride until standards emerge?

Capturing returns from long term social and demographic trends

  • As consumers and businesses continue to digitize – where should you be looking to invest? 
  • How to make money from the world’s aging population
  • Avoiding busts and bubbles 

Panel: The start-up ecosystem – finding the next unicorn in the MENA region

  • The UAE focus on innovation – will it pay off for VC investors? 
  • Making the most of the increasing quality and creativity of startups in the region
  • Where to look for startups with maximum potential
  • what does it take to create the next unicorn in MENA and how can VCs and other investors support them?

How will cryptocurrencies disrupt the financial system?

  • Diversifying portfolios with cryptocurrencies 
  • Why Bitcoin is just the beginning
  • Zcash: investing in the next Bitcoin
  • Emerging from ‘hacktivist’ origins to a more institutionalised ecosystem 
  • Which funds are currently investing in cryptocurrencies?
  • Evaluating new and alternative methods eg. Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Zcash

The rise of the sharing economy

  • Which companies and sectors are at risk to disruption? 
  • Can sharing businesses offer longevity for investors? 
  • Where will future growth come from?

Blockchain: transforming how the asset management industry operates

  • Preparing for significant changes to business models
  • Creating fully functional smart contract applications 
  • Eradicating the traditional settlement process
  • Trading directly and cutting out the middleman
  • Bringing costs down
  • Which type of blockchain - public, private, the consortium blockchain, etc. - is “right” for finance
Mr Alex Giannikoulis, General Partner, Graphene Ventures

Evaluating long-term capital market assumptions and implications for investor portfolios

  • Analysing long-term market trends across asset classes and the global economy 
  • Portfolio construction and asset allocation challenges facing long-term investors 
  • What concepts are underlying our assumptions
  • Exploring return and volatility projections across asset classes 

Strategies for VC and angel investors

  • Notable outperforming strategies for LPs to consider
  • Effectively managing exit strategies
  • Anticipating trends for 2017

Investing into blockchain

  • Shifting focus away from traditional investing strategies
  • Are hedge funds the new venture funds? 
  • Investing in the fintech ecosystem 
  • Assessing ability to support investments in a volatile market
  • Taking stakes in private start-ups

Reserved for gold sponsor





Behavioural finance – studying human behaviour to help us make better investment decisions

  • What are the most common behavioural mistakes made by investors
  • When are investors most likely to overreact, underreact or otherwise respond irrationally to market events?
  • How can you capture alpha by capitalising on the inefficiencies created by behavioural biases?

Panel: Portfolio value creation in a volatile, slow growth economy

  • What challenges has the low cost of capital environment posed for PE firms? 
  • Will increased volatility create new M&A opportunities?
  • The impact of Brexit on European opportunities

Are low interest rates here to stay?

  • How long will the low rate era last?
  • What impact have ultra-low interest rates had on the broader economy?
  • Consequences for investor portfolios and capital misallocation

High-performance infrastructure – how are you using your technology spend

  • How to develop a framework for measuring ROI on tech spend
  • How does human capital factor into this equation?
  • Weighing the need for revenue generation against IT spend and operational efficiency
  • Handling discretionary spending across data storage, connectivity, latency management, risk analytics and cybersecurity

Examining likely outperformers for emerging market private equity

  • Can emerging markets outperform in a slow growth economy?
  • What does the latest research into the MENA region show? 
  • The best of the BRICs

How to enhance the yield of your fixed income portfolio through direct lending

  • Default and volatility characteristics of direct lending
  • How have crowdfunding and direct lending platforms evolved?
  • Comparing opportunities across geographies

Automation and algorithm driven trading – ruling out emotion

  • Can this strategy provide profit in all market conditions?
  • Using algorithmic driven trading to grow portfolios and secure increased income
  • Making sound decisions without emotional influence
Alexandru Agachi, COO, Empiric Capital

Fire side chat: Market spotlight on Saudi Arabia

  • Vision 2030 - a radical national modernisation
  • What do macro developments mean for the rest of the MENA region?
  • Investing in the future of technology impact on both the country and the sector 
  • What new opportunities have been created for PE investors   

What segments and vehicles offer the best risk adjusted returns in the current credit market?

  • New market segments and risk characteristics
  • What analytical and risk management skills should you be looking for in a manager?

Networking break


Mr Gordon Grant Curtis


Host: Mr Gordon Grant Curtis, Portfolio Manager & Executive Director, CI Investments

Keynote: As central banks ease their intervention – will this create opportunities for alternatives managers?

•    How alternatives can help your portfolio navigate a disruptive economy 
•    60/40 is dead – why you need a healthy mix of alternatives in your portfolio
•    What alternative strategies are likely to outperform in 2017?
Reserved for platinum sponsor 
Mr Hemal Naran

Keynote: Revisiting the role of alternatives in asset allocation models and investor portfolios in 2017

•    As traditional asset classes face a headwind – what role can alternative play to help achieve your investment goals?
•    Insourcing – should more active management investment strategies be done in house? 
•    Niche vs big funds

Close of day one


After-hours networking party

last published: 27/Mar/17 11:45 GMT