There's nothing like a market crash to ruin a perfect day



I write this column from the sanctity of a village perché in Provence where I have come to enjoy some quiet time with my wife. Without the company of my teenage son, we no longer have to engage in surfing, skiing, sailing, horse-riding, bungee-jumping, etc. Instead, the most strenuous activity of the day is a morning stroll to the boulangerie, and the most mentally stretching activity is to decide whether to attend the village, puppet-assisted performance of a Stravinsky masterpiece or to go farther afield to a nearby village where La Bohème is being attempted, mercifully, without the use of puppets. All this sublime serenity came to an abrupt end, however, when the financial markets plummeted. Back to work.

The FTSE100 index, representing the share value of the United Kingdom's largest companies, has just completed its worst five-day performance since 2008, wiping £150 billion (Dh900bn) off company values. As I write this, the index stands at 5247, almost 14 per cent off its peak value of 6091 just a short time ago. Investors are responding to the failure of the European Central Bank to take charge of the debt crisis and to stop the recent crisis over Greece, Portugal and Ireland extending to the much larger economies of Spain and Italy. Stock markets in Europe have responded in a similar manner.

At an individual company level, the position is even worse, especially in the oil and gas sector where demand for its output is directly related to economic growth, and in the banking sector where there is a large exposure to the sovereign debt of European countries. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland, the UK state-controlled bank, were briefly suspended after falling 20 per cent in a single day to a two-year low of 26 pence.

What does all this mean for the average investor? Well, if you are due to retire in the next year or so and have all your money tied up in the stock market, either directly through shares or indirectly through managed funds, then you are in serious trouble. If you want to maintain your retirement lifestyle at your previously planned level, then you will now have to continue working for a couple more years to recover from this economic crisis. If, on the other hand, as you have been approaching retirement, you have sensibly reduced your exposure to equities, in favour of bonds and other fixed-interest assets, then you will have much less to worry about.

No investor, no matter what he is planning for, whether it be retirement in 20 years or saving for a house deposit in two years, should ever be in a position where he is forced into having to sell his equity holdings at low prices to achieve his objectives. Equities are the best asset class for long-term growth but, as recent events have demonstrated, they are volatile and unsuitable for short-term investment purposes.

If you are lucky enough to be one of the chosen few who are entitled to an index-linked, final-salary pension scheme, then you will have little to worry about since your defined-benefit pension is not directly related to the performance of stock markets. However, there is an indirect relationship since the underlying pension assets will be invested in stock markets and, if they do not perform, then the company will have to make up the difference by diverting money that would otherwise have gone to shareholders. If you suspect that your company's shareholders are getting fed up of subsiding your pension pot, then you should consider transferring out of the company scheme before this happens.

None of this applies to UK public-sector pensions, since these schemes are funded by the long-suffering taxpayers who can always be relied upon to fund the unrealistic pension needs of public-sector employees. It's a bit like Greece except that German taxpayers are being asked to do the funding because the Greek taxpayers cannot afford it.

If you are a long-term investor, now is a perfect opportunity to add to your equity holdings. Equities, in general, will always outperform other asset classes in the long term and, with prices currently as low as they are, you are unlikely to get a better opportunity to buy.

If you are a short-term investor, then you need to stay in cash. With the recent failure of Lehman Brothers and Icelandic Bank, and near-failure of Northern Rock and Allied Irish Bank, storing cash safely is not as easy as you might think. However, the UK government has raised the level at which it will guarantee bank deposits in UK banks to £85,000 (Dh511,000) per person or £170,000 for a joint account. Guarantees are, of course, only as good as the quality of the guarantor. Until recently, the United States and UK governments were the guarantors of choice since neither of them had ever defaulted on a loan in several centuries. However we have recently seen the US government come within a day of failing to service its debt. These are difficult times indeed for safeguarding your hard earned cash.

Bill Davey is a Wealth Manager at Mondial-Financial Partners, Dubai. For further information on any of the above, please contact him directly at bill.davey@mondialdubai.com.

Five calorie-packed Ramadan drinks

Rooh Afza
100ml contains 414 calories
Tang orange drink
100ml serving contains 300 calories
Carob beverage mix
100ml serving contains about 300 calories
Qamar Al Din apricot drink
100ml saving contains 61 calories
Vimto fruit squash
100ml serving contains 30 calories

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Yango Deli Tech
Based: UAE
Launch year: 2022
Sector: Retail SaaS
Funding: Self funded

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

What is a Ponzi scheme?

A fraudulent investment operation where the scammer provides fake reports and generates returns for old investors through money paid by new investors, rather than through ligitimate business activities.

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Voy! Voy! Voy!

Director: Omar Hilal
Stars: Muhammad Farrag, Bayoumi Fouad, Nelly Karim
Rating: 4/5

Zodi & Tehu: Princes Of The Desert

Director: Eric Barbier

Starring: Youssef Hajdi, Nadia Benzakour, Yasser Drief

Rating: 4/5

'The Batman'

Stars:Robert Pattinson

Director:Matt Reeves

Rating: 5/5

Meydan race card

6.30pm: Maiden Dh 165,000 1,600m
7.05pm: Handicap Dh 185,000 2,000m
7.40pm: Maiden Dh 165,000 1,600m
8.15pm: Handicap Dh 190,000 1,400m
8.50pm: Handicap Dh 175,000 1,600m
9.25pm: Handicap Dh 175,000 1,200m
10pm: Handicap Dh 165,000 1,600m

The specs: 2024 Mercedes E200

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo + mild hybrid
Power: 204hp at 5,800rpm +23hp hybrid boost
Torque: 320Nm at 1,800rpm +205Nm hybrid boost
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
On sale: November/December
Price: From Dh205,000 (estimate)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Where to apply

Applicants should send their completed applications - CV, covering letter, sample(s) of your work, letter of recommendation - to Nick March, Assistant Editor in Chief at The National and UAE programme administrator for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, by 5pm on April 30, 2020

Please send applications to nmarch@thenational.ae and please mark the subject line as “Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism (UAE programme application)”.

The local advisory board will consider all applications and will interview a short list of candidates in Abu Dhabi in June 2020. Successful candidates will be informed before July 30, 2020. 

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Company: Instabug

Founded: 2013

Based: Egypt, Cairo

Sector: IT

Employees: 100

Stage: Series A

Investors: Flat6Labs, Accel, Y Combinator and angel investors

Mina Cup winners

Under 12 – Minerva Academy

Under 14 – Unam Pumas

Under 16 – Fursan Hispania

Under 18 – Madenat

Five ways to get fit like Craig David (we tried for seven but ran out of time)

Start the week as you mean to go on. So get your training on strong on a Monday.

Train hard, but don’t take it all so seriously that it gets to the point where you’re not having fun and enjoying your friends and your family and going out for nice meals and doing that stuff.

Think about what you’re training or eating a certain way for — don’t, for example, get a six-pack to impress somebody else or lose weight to conform to society’s norms. It’s all nonsense.

Get your priorities right.

And last but not least, you should always, always chill on Sundays.

Slow loris biog

From: Lonely Loris is a Sunda slow loris, one of nine species of the animal native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore

Status: Critically endangered, and listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list due to growing demand in the global exotic pet trade. It is one of the most popular primate species found at Indonesian pet markets

Likes: Sleeping, which they do for up to 18 hours a day. When they are awake, they like to eat fruit, insects, small birds and reptiles and some types of vegetation

Dislikes: Sunlight. Being a nocturnal animal, the slow loris wakes around sunset and is active throughout the night

Superpowers: His dangerous elbows. The slow loris’s doe eyes may make it look cute, but it is also deadly. The only known venomous primate, it hisses and clasps its paws and can produce a venom from its elbow that can cause anaphylactic shock and even death in humans

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000

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.”

TOUCH RULES

Touch is derived from rugby league. Teams consist of up to 14 players with a maximum of six on the field at any time.

Teams can make as many substitutions as they want during the 40 minute matches.

Similar to rugby league, the attacking team has six attempts - or touches - before possession changes over.

A touch is any contact between the player with the ball and a defender, and must be with minimum force.

After a touch the player performs a “roll-ball” - similar to the play-the-ball in league - stepping over or rolling the ball between the feet.

At the roll-ball, the defenders have to retreat a minimum of five metres.

A touchdown is scored when an attacking player places the ball on or over the score-line.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Recipe

Garlicky shrimp in olive oil
Gambas Al Ajillo

Preparation time: 5 to 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

180ml extra virgin olive oil; 4 to 5 large cloves of garlic, minced or pureed (or 3 to 4 garlic scapes, roughly chopped); 1 or 2 small hot red chillies, dried (or ¼ teaspoon dried red chilli flakes); 400g raw prawns, deveined, heads removed and tails left intact; a generous splash of sweet chilli vinegar; sea salt flakes for seasoning; a small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method

Heat the oil in a terracotta dish or frying pan. Once the oil is sizzling hot, add the garlic and chilli, stirring continuously for about 10 seconds until golden and aromatic.

Add a splash of sweet chilli vinegar and as it vigorously simmers, releasing perfumed aromas, add the prawns and cook, stirring a few times.

Once the prawns turn pink, after 1 or 2 minutes of cooking, remove from the heat and season with sea salt flakes.

Once the prawns are cool enough to eat, scatter with parsley and serve with small forks or toothpicks as the perfect sharing starter. Finish off with crusty bread to soak up all that flavour-infused olive oil.

The bio

Favourite food: Japanese

Favourite car: Lamborghini

Favourite hobby: Football

Favourite quote: If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough

Favourite country: UAE

Related
Ipaf in numbers

Established: 2008

Prize money:  $50,000 (Dh183,650) for winners and $10,000 for those on the shortlist.

Winning novels: 13

Shortlisted novels: 66

Longlisted novels: 111

Total number of novels submitted: 1,780

Novels translated internationally: 66

Gulf Men's League final

Dubai Hurricanes 24-12 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

CRICKET WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, ZIMBABWE

UAE fixtures

Monday, June 19

Sri Lanka v UAE, Queen’s Sports Club

Wednesday, June 21

Oman v UAE, Bulawayo Athletic Club

Friday, June 23

Scotland v UAE, Bulawayo Athletic Club

Tuesday, June 27

Ireland v UAE, Bulawayo Athletic Club

ASSASSIN'S CREED MIRAGE

Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux
Publisher: Ubisoft
Consoles: PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox Series S&X
Rating: 3.5/5

Company profile

Company name: Hakbah
Started: 2018
Founder: Naif AbuSaida
Based: Saudi Arabia
Sector: FinTech
Current number of staff: 22
Initial investment: $200,000
Investment stage: pre-Series A
Investors: Global Ventures and Aditum Investment Management

The specs

Engine: three three 212.7kWh motors
Power: 1,000bhp
Torque: 15,600Nm
Range: 530km
Price: Dh500,000+ est
On sale: early 2023

Porsche Macan T: The Specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo 

Power: 265hp from 5,000-6,500rpm 

Torque: 400Nm from 1,800-4,500rpm 

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto 

Speed: 0-100kph in 6.2sec 

Top speed: 232kph 

Fuel consumption: 10.7L/100km 

On sale: May or June 

Price: From Dh259,900  

Race card

6.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh 82,500 (Dirt) 1.600m

7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh 82,500 (D) 2,000m

7.50pm: Handicap (TB) Dh 82,500 (D) 1,600m

8.15pm: The Garhoud Sprint Listed (TB) Dh 132,500 (D) 1,200m

8.50pm: The Entisar Listed (TB) Dh 132,500 (D) 2,000m

9.25pm: Conditions (TB) Dh 120,000 (D) 1,400m


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