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TOP-RANKED EFG HERMES ASSET MANAGEMENT FORTIFIES ITS POSITION AS THE FUND MANAGER OF CHOICE IN THE ARAB WORLD WITH STELLAR PERFORMANCE ACROSS ALL ASSET CLASSES

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Amr Seif

EFG Hermes Asset Management has received a number of prestigious regional awards in 2014 for its ability to deliver consistently superior returns across a broad and diverse product spectrum that encompasses sector, sub-sector, single-country and regional funds

23 June 2014

(Cairo, Egypt) — As the winner in five different categories in the recently announced Thomson Reuters / Zawya MENA Asset Management Awards, EFG Hermes Asset Management, one of the region’s largest and most diverse asset management houses, has clearly demonstrated its ability to outperform its peers.

TOP-RANKED EFG HERMES ASSET MANAGEMENT FORTIFIES ITS POSITION AS THE FUND MANAGER OF CHOICE IN THE ARAB WORLD WITH STELLAR PERFORMANCE ACROSS ALL ASSET CLASSES 5With USD 2.8 billion in AUM and growing, the division is recognized as the top-performer in the field regionally. In Egypt, its five conventional equity funds beat their competitors’ average two-year return (as of 31 December 2013) by nearly 10 points. Its Egyptian Islamic equity funds have performed similarly, and the division has taken home regional and global industry awards for its track records in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

“Staying atop the leaderboard is often more challenging than getting there in the first place,” said Amr Seif, Head of EFG Hermes Asset Management. “It’s all about remaining a consistent top performer and growing at the same time.We’re doing this in a number of ways. We serve a broad range of investors, and we are always on the lookout for investment themes to develop into.”

At the Thomson Reuters MENA Asset Management Awards 2014 the EFG Hermes MEDA Fund, which achieved a return of 45.8%, received the Zawya Fund Award for being the Top Performing MENA Equity Fund in 2013.

Commenting on the Division’s ability to garner such an impressive number of regional and country-specific awards this year Seif said, “We have a fairly unconventional approach to asset management. Rather than being risk-averse, we hold that risk-taking is what we do. We like risk and encourage it — that’s how returns are made. While we do this, of course, we strive to balance the risk-return equation and rather than looking for predictability we look to identify the risks and hence pick the outperforming stocks.”

At the June 1, 2014 Thomson Reuters MENA Asset Management Awards ceremony, the division’s Banque du Caire Fund I was named Zawya’s Top Performing Equity Fund in Egypt in 2013, and the Credit Agricole Egypt Fund III was named Top Performing Money Market Fund in Egypt in 2013.

Amr Seif

Amr Seif

The division’s Saudi Equity Fund — which achieved a 48.8% Net Total Return — was recognized at the Thomson Reuters event as Zawya’s Top-Performing Equity Fund in Saudi Arabia in 2013. Also this year, the division was named Best Asset Manager Saudi Arabia and Best Asset Manager UAE at the Global Banking & Finance Awards 2014. Meanwhile, Al Waseela Fund (F Class) was named Zawya’s Top Performing Equity fund in Qatar in 2013.

At Thomson Reuters Lipper Fund Awards 2014, EFG Hermes’ Al Baraka Fund was recognized as the Best Islamic Equity Fund over both two-year and one-year periods in the Global Islamic Category.

Others of the division’s Egypt funds have been consistently ranked in the top three in equity and money markets, as well as in the top two in Qatar.

EFG Hermes-managed money market funds have performed especially well, outperforming other non-EFG Hermes funds by an annual average of almost 30 basis points since 2006. As of the end of May 2014, the funds were atop this year’s league tables with a 0.57% annualized return rate, placing the firm’s five managed money market funds at the top of their peer groups in 2014.

“Even as we actively maintain our responsiveness to our current market, we are gradually widening the universe of what we view as interesting or investable. This is obviously in developing markets with characteristics similar to ours, primarily in Africa,” said Seif. “We have relatively large analytical resources that, in addition to the fund managers who actually manage the funds, are covering a very wide universe that spans from Morocco to Oman with the capacity to cover more markets. I’m a firm believer that products absolutely must follow the research effort, not vice versa.”

“In a nutshell, this is our investment story, and the formula for our success, even in these very challenging waters. I am confident about the strength of the firm and the quality of our team. My role is to nurture what we have and ensure that we maintain growth and remain a consistent top performer.”

The table, overleaf, shows the complete list of awards and rankings achieved by the EFG Hermes Asset Management division this year.

Organization Award Fund / Division Period

MENA Fund Manager Performance Awards 2014

   
  Asset Manager of the Year EFG Hermes Asset Management Division 2013 for the second year in a row and third time in four years
  Best Money Market Fund Arab Investment Bank Money Market Fund 2013
  Best Hedge Fund The MENA Opportunities Fund 2013
  Best Qatar Equity Fund Al Waseela Fund (F Class) 2013
Global Banking & Finance Awards 2014

     
  Best Asset Manager Saudi Arabia 2014 EFG Hermes Asset Management Division 2014
  Best Asset Manager UAE EFG Hermes Asset Management Division 2014
Thomson Reuters MENA Asset Management Awards 2014

     
  Zawya Fund Award:
Top performing MENA Equity fund in 2013
EFG Hermes MEDA Fund 2013
  Zawya Fund Award: Top performing Equity fund in Egypt in 2013 Banque du Caire Fund I 2013
  Zawya Fund Award: Top performing Equity fund in Qatar in 2013 Al Waseela Fund (F Class) 2013
  Zawya Fund Award: Top performing Equity fund in Saudi Arabia in 2013 EFG Hermes Saudi Arabia Equity Fund 2013
  Zawya Fund Award: Top performing Money Market fund in Egypt in 2013 Credit Agricole Egypt Fund III 2013

About EFG Hermes Asset Management

EFG Hermes Asset Management is the leading asset manager in the Arab world with c. USD 2.8 billion in assets under management. The team of 29 experienced professionals across three countries manages 17 country-specific and nine regionally dedicated funds, making it the largest and oldest investment manager in the region.

The Division is a market pioneer that manages a diversified portfolio of high-performance funds including both institutional funds and dedicated portfolios, offering traditional and alternative investment solutions including equity, fixed income, money market, indexed, capital guaranteed, as well as Shariah-compliant (Islamic) funds and portfolios with a distinguished track record that dates back 17 years. Clients include institutional investors, family offices, as well as high-net worth individuals.

TOP-RANKED EFG HERMES ASSET MANAGEMENT FORTIFIES ITS POSITION AS THE FUND MANAGER OF CHOICE IN THE ARAB WORLD WITH STELLAR PERFORMANCE ACROSS ALL ASSET CLASSES 6About EFG Hermes

Established in 1984, EFG Hermes, the leading investment bank in the Arab world, draws on 30 years of experience to serve as the preeminent investment bank in the region to provide a comprehensive spectrum of financial services including Investment Banking, Asset Management, Securities Brokerage, Research and Private Equity. Additionally, EFG Hermes owns a 63.7% majority stake in the Lebanese commercial bank Crédit Libanais.

Through its operations in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with more than 800 employees of 25 nationalities, EFG Hermes serves a considerable and diversified client base from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe, Africa and the United States. Our clients include governments, corporations, financial institutions, high net worth clients and individual customers.

For further information about EFG Hermes, please visitwww.efghermes.comand stay connected with us:

Note on Forward-Looking Statements

In this press release, EFG Hermes may make forward looking statements, including, for example, statements about management’s expectations, strategic objectives, growth opportunities and business prospects. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only EFG Hermes’ belief regarding future events, many of which, by their nature are inherently uncertain and are beyond management’s control and include among others, financial market volatility; actions and initiatives taken by current and potential competitors; general economic conditions and the effect of current, pending and future legislation, regulations and regulatory actions. Accordingly, the readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made.

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller 7

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.

Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.

“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.

Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.

While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.

“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”

Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.

“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.

“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”

The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.

“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.

Gorman’s books are both due out in September.

Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.

(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape 8

By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD

Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.

As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.

As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?

Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world

No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.

In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.

Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.

The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses

Justin Pike

Justin Pike

Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.

Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.

The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.

As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.

But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.

A digital world post-COVID

Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.

There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.

Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.

Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says 9

LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.

“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.

The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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