Industry gathers for glimpse of the future



Media types like to gather wherever it is most glamorous, from Hollywood to Monaco. Today more than 400 invited guests assembled at Abu Dhabi's The Yas Hotel overlooking the Formula One circuit, not to watch cars but to meet some of the industry's leading players and thinkers. The inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit has already been labelled as "Davos in the Desert", but instead of the sound of V8 engines they were listening to media visionaries who could lead them to the "brave new world".

The three-day event is being driven by its group of co-chairs including Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corp; Khaldoon al Mubarak, the chairman of twofour54; and Mehmet Ali Yalcindag, the vice chairman and president of Dogan Media Group. "We are excited to have such a distinguished group of delegates, especially Mr Rupert Murdoch," said Edward Borgerding, the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Media Company, which publishes The National.

"This summit comes at an interesting moment. We think the discussions will be relevant, interesting and important. People attending are those making important decisions that will change the face of media for generations to come. "Because media touches us every day it has an impact on the world. I am looking forward to what we are going to learn and how we shall participate over the next few days."

There is a similar event in Monaco, more focused on developing markets, but organisers hope that this will become the signature summit for the global media industry. "It is going to be quite a unique summit," said Karim Sabbagh, the global media practice leader at Booz and Company. "This is not just another conference. We lack an industry event to discuss the opportunities and challenges. This gathering is long overdue."

Mr Sabbagh pointed out that the MENA region has between 300 million and 350 million inhabitants, about the population of the US. "Our industry is growing at double digits. By 2015, 40 per cent of MENA region will be connected via broadband access. New media and digital world is going to be very important. "This is a brave new world and we need to be ready for it. A common language [Arabic] creates a great platform from Morocco to Oman. We are at the starting gate of the digital world."

Mr Borgerding agreed: "The Middle East has always been a nexus, a crossroads of East and West." @Email:rwright@thenational.ae

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RESULT

Bayern Munich 5 Eintrracht Frankfurt 2
Bayern:
 Goretzka (17'), Müller (41'), Lewandowski (46'), Davies (61'), Hinteregger (74' og)    
Frankfurt: Hinteregger (52', 55')

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The five pillars of Islam
MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League final:

Who: Real Madrid v Liverpool
Where: NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
When: Saturday, May 26, 10.45pm (UAE)
TV: Match on BeIN Sports

Sam Smith

Where: du Arena, Abu Dhabi

When: Saturday November 24

Rating: 4/5

Friday's schedule in Madrid

Men's quarter-finals

Novak Djokivic (1) v Marin Cilic (9) from 2pm UAE time

Roger Federer (4) v Dominic Thiem (5) from 7pm

Stefanos Tsitsipas (8) v Alexander Zverev (3) from 9.30pm

Stan Wawrinka v Rafael Nadal (2) from 11.30pm

Women's semi-finals

Belinda Bencic v Simona Halep (3) from 4.30pm

Sloane Stephens (8) v Kiki Bertens (7) from 10pm

TOURNAMENT INFO

2018 ICC World Twenty20 Asian Western Regional Qualifier
The top three teams progress to the Asia Qualifier

Thursday results
UAE beat Kuwait by 86 runs
Qatar beat Bahrain by five wickets
Saudi Arabia beat Maldives by 35 runs

Friday fixtures
10am, third-place playoff – Saudi Arabia v Kuwait
3pm, final – UAE v Qatar

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Company Profile

Name: Takestep
Started: March 2018
Founders: Mohamed Khashaba, Mohamed Abdallah, Mohamed Adel Wafiq and Ayman Taha
Based: Cairo, Egypt
Sector: health technology
Employees: 11 full time and 22 part time
Investment stage: pre-Series A

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

TOP 5 DRIVERS 2019

1 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 10 wins 387 points

2 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 4 wins, 314 points

3 Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 3 wins, 260 points

4 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2 wins, 249 points

5 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1 win, 230 points

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2 (Benzema 13', Kroos 28')
Barcelona 1 (Mingueza 60')

Red card: Casemiro (Real Madrid)