Alternative Investment Awards 2016 39 Best Diversified Asset Manager – UAE & Best Early Stage Infrastructure Fund: MENA Infrastructure Fund I Waha Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, is one of the region’s leading diversified investment houses. Amer Aidi talks us through the firm and how it came to become such a pillar of the region’s asset management market. Company: Waha Capital Website: Having traditionally been focused on managing private equity invest- ments, over the last five years Waha Capital has carved out a niche investing in public markets including fixed income and equity products. The strength of our returns has allowed the business to evolve into a ful- ly-fledged investment management business with third party investors allocating capital to the strategies. Current and prospective investors of our funds include institutional investors (insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds: fund of funds, long / short, global macro), family offices, and private wealth clients. As a relatively recent entrant into the public market business, the company has gained a strong reputation both locally in the region as well as internationally over a short period of time. Our current service offering comprises of two investment strategies: the CEEMEA Fixed Income and MENA Equities. Both funds are long / short investment strategies aimed at delivering sustainable absolute returns. The CEEMEA Fixed Income Fund has generated 79.1% cumulative return since inception in 2012, whilst the MENA Equity Fund has gen- erated a 58.6% cumulative return since 2014. Our investment teams use a top-down macroeconomic approach, combined with an understanding of technical flows to identify invest- ment themes, which then get translated into individual trades that are actively managed. Both teams work hand-in-hand with top tier internal research personnel and risk management professionals that contrib- ute to the track record highlighted above. The focus has remained on capital preservation and delivering superior returns on an absolute and risk-adjusted basis. One of the key differentiators of our fund is our long / short mandate. We are able to take both long and short positions within our investment universe, enabling us to put on relative value long / short trades where we can capitalise on mispriced securities whilst keeping overall market risk to a minimum. This strategy is particularly effective in current market conditions, where reduced liquidity results in increased market dislocation during sell offs. The financial market in the UAE is currently changing owing to the prolonged slump in oil prices and the subsequent drop in liquidity it has created in the region. Because of this, oil exporting nations from the GCC that had historically ran large fiscal and external account surpluses quickly went into deficits and have been forced to implement structural measures in order to preserve FX reserves at the expense of GDP growth. This tightened liquidity in the banking system and has created larger financing requirements for the governments, financials and corporates. Going forward, challenges are expected to remain for the region in the short term but much needed reforms and diversification away from oil will create a more robust and resilient economic model in the medium to long-term. Ultimately, it is paramount for us to maintain a trustworthy and longstanding relationship with our investors. As such, moving forward our primary focus will be to continue delivering strong performance. This encourages ongoing evaluation of our investment approach and business model on a continued basis. Furthermore, monthly fact sheets and Portfolio Manager Commentary on the fund performance are published publicly to increase transparency. When needed, phone calls and in-person meetings are facilitated to provide clarity to our investors for any questions / concerns they may have. It’s imperative for us to convey to our investors that their capital is not taken for granted and we continue to work hard to generate superior returns for them. Looking to the future, we firmly believe that this could be the beginning of a growth phase for the business. With our multi-year track record and investment team in place, we have recently placed an increased empha- sis on expanding the awareness, and marketing the platform to the ap- propriate audience. There has been a growing interest for our products. Investors are most impressed by our ability to hedge risk and preserve capital in downturns. We currently have a number of prospective inves- tors interested in our services and look forward to an exciting future. AI16080