Issue No 263 - 01 April 2008
  Omniyat sets up investment management firm

Omniyat Holdings on Sunday announced the establishment of its newest company, Omniyat Investment Management (OIM), at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), with plans to manage deals worth over Dh2 billion ($544.5 million) in 2008.

Omniyat Holdings is a multi-billion dirham Dubai-based real estate conglomerate.

The new company, which is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, aims to be the pre-eminent funds and asset management company operating in the DIFC, said a top company official.

'It is the first company of its type affiliated to a freehold property developer, in this case Omniyat Properties,' Mehdi Amjad, president and CEO of Omniyat Holdings, noted.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the OIM launch, Amjad said the new company was part of Omniyat Holdings' drive to be active in the entire real estate value chain, including being an owner, investor, developer and asset manager.

"With OIM, we are taking another step towards realizing our vision of being active in the entire real estate value chain. OIM will be 100 per cent focused on real estate and will benefit from the synergies created by Omniyat Properties," added Amjad, who is also chairman and licensed director of OIM.

The new company has been authorized by the DFSA to arrange investment deals, advice on financial products or credit, and manage assets.

"We aim to offer a range of property fund products and we have a ready deal flow because of our property development arm, Omniyat Properties," he explained.

Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, governor of the DIFC said: 'OIM brings to the DIFC a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of the international real estate sector and will add another dimension to the already comprehensive collection of financial services available at the centre.'

Amjad said OIM's vision was to build a funds management business in Dubai incorporating the entire main and sub property fund offerings from a broad range of investment opportunities.

'OIM aims to manage a range of property fund products in the near future to rival leading onshore fund centers such as London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong,' he explained.

Ehsan Abbas, CEO of OIM, also emphasized the synergies generated by OIM, saying affiliation with the Omniyat Group brings about some major points of difference between OIM and other asset managers.

"For one, the affiliation with Omniyat Properties facilitates a never-ending deal-pipeline of assets. Investors placing money with Omniyat Investment Management will enjoy immediate capital deployment and instant return on equity with no lag – mitigating capital deployment risk. Omniyat Properties also ensures that developments are constructed under professional management, thereby mitigating delivery risk," he said.

Abbas said that the company will not only be managing real estate owned by Omniyat Properties but also assets belonging to other financial institutions and super-high-net-worth individuals. "We have already been approached by a lot of investors who are active in the region’s real estate market to manage their assets," he said.

Asked if OIM will eventually go for a public listing for some of its funds, he said that the company will begin with managing private wholesale funds and listing is one of the exit strategies for the funds.

"This is something we are considering as part of our fund management strategy overall," Abbas said.

Wui-Hua Tan, OIM's chief financial officer, said that the new company will be able to generate returns from day one of the draw-down of capital, and as a result of the appreciation of the property value.

"We have a pipeline of innovative and vanilla products aiming to produce superior risk-adjusted returns," he explained.

Tan said that OIM is already working on arranging two deals with an estimated value of Dh2 billion during the second half of this year.

"These will be two closed-ended real estate funds which we will place privately to our database of investors as well as institutional investors," he added.

Source: Trade Arabia News

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