Posted on October 03, 2019

The fund industry in the Arabian markets including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates enjoyed overall estimated net inflows of $2.5 bn in H1 2019 according to Refinitiv Lipper Data.

These inflows occurred in a volatile but positive market environment driven by discussions about a possible trade war between the U.S. and China, a possible return of the euro crisis caused by developments in Italy and France, and a general economic slowdown with decreasing earnings at the company level. Nevertheless, since the equity markets showed a rebound over the course of H1 2019, one would expect to see net inflows into mutual funds. “The overall assets under management in the Arabian fund markets increased from $30.5 bn to $32.4 bn in 2019 year to date. This increase was driven by overall net sales (+$2.5 bn), while the performance of the underlying markets had a negative contribution (-$0.6 bn) to overall assets under management,” noted Detlef Glow, Head of EMEA Research at Lipper, Refinitiv.

The assets under management in the Arabian fund markets are highly concentrated since the largest fund market, Saudi Arabia, accounts for $26.9 bn, or 82.85%, of the overall assets under management. Meanwhile, Kuwait accounts for $3.2 bn, or 9.82%, of the overall assets under management, and the United Arab Emirates accounts for $1.7 bn, or 5.09%, of the overall assets under management. The other three countries—Qatar ($0.4 bn), Oman ($0.3 bn), and Bahrain ($0.1 bn)—account together for 2.23% of the overall assets under management in the Arabian fund markets.

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Money market funds ($20.2 bn) were the asset type with the highest assets under management at the end of June 2019, followed by equity funds ($9.2 bn), mixed-asset funds ($1.2 bn), bond funds ($1.0 bn), real estate funds ($0.7 bn), and commodity funds ($0.002 bn). 2019 has so far been a tough year, with split results for the fund markets and asset managers in the Arabian fund management industry. Nevertheless, the year can be considered as positive as mutual funds (+$2.5 bn) have enjoyed net inflows.

A more detailed view by asset type reveals that not all asset types enjoyed inflows in H1 2019. Money market funds (+$2.8 bn) was the best-selling asset type, followed by bond funds (+$0.4 bn). All other asset types faced net outflows—commodity funds (-$0.0001 bn), mixed-asset funds (-$0.03 bn), real estate funds (-$0.2 bn), and equity funds (-$0.5 bn).Money Market SAR (+$2.6 bn) was the best-selling sector overall, followed by Bond Other (+$0.4 bn), Money Market USD (+$0.2 bn), Mixed Asset USD Flexible - Global (+$0.02 bn), and Money Market Other (+$0.01 bn).

At the other end of the spectrum, Equity Saudi Arabia (-$0.3 bn) suffered the highest estimated net outflows overall, bettered by Real Estate Other (-$0.2 bn), Equity Global (-$0.04 bn), Equity GCC (-$0.02 bn), and Equity Kuwait (-$0.02 bn).

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