Novak harks back to look ahead



NEW YORK // The Serbian Novak Djokovic heads into the US Open with the confidence of having won a grand slam and an Olympic medal. The third seed, 21, who won his first grand slam title at the Australian Open in January and claimed the bronze medal at the Beijing Games, will have taken on the Frenchman Arnaud Clement in the first round early this morning, weather permitting.

A runner-up to Roger Federer in last year's edition, Djokovic is chasing Rafael Nadal and the Swiss at the top of the rankings and believes his victory in Australia has improved his chances of winning in New York. "It gives you relief and confidence," Djokovic said. "It gives you a belief that when you find yourself in those certain important moments when you just need to come up with something good and something special and just try to be calm and hold your nerves.

"That's what happens when you have experience with winning grand slams. That's why Roger and Rafa are so dominant and they look so good when they have important moments." The former champion Andy Roddick should have opened his quest for a second title against the Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, while the fifth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia was also expected to be in first-round action this morning. * Reuters

The story in numbers

18

This is how many recognised sects Lebanon is home to, along with about four million citizens

450,000

More than this many Palestinian refugees are registered with UNRWA in Lebanon, with about 45 per cent of them living in the country’s 12 refugee camps

1.5 million

There are just under 1 million Syrian refugees registered with the UN, although the government puts the figure upwards of 1.5m

73

The percentage of stateless people in Lebanon, who are not of Palestinian origin, born to a Lebanese mother, according to a 2012-2013 study by human rights organisation Frontiers Ruwad Association

18,000

The number of marriages recorded between Lebanese women and foreigners between the years 1995 and 2008, according to a 2009 study backed by the UN Development Programme

77,400

The number of people believed to be affected by the current nationality law, according to the 2009 UN study

4,926

This is how many Lebanese-Palestinian households there were in Lebanon in 2016, according to a census by the Lebanese-Palestinian dialogue committee

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

PRO BASH

Thursday’s fixtures

6pm: Hyderabad Nawabs v Pakhtoon Warriors

10pm: Lahore Sikandars v Pakhtoon Blasters

Teams

Chennai Knights, Lahore Sikandars, Pakhtoon Blasters, Abu Dhabi Stars, Abu Dhabi Dragons, Pakhtoon Warriors and Hyderabad Nawabs.

Squad rules

All teams consist of 15-player squads that include those contracted in the diamond (3), platinum (2) and gold (2) categories, plus eight free to sign team members.

Tournament rules

The matches are of 25 over-a-side with an 8-over power play in which only two fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle. Teams play in a single round robin league followed by the semi-finals and final. The league toppers will feature in the semi-final eliminator.

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

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.”

Name: Brendalle Belaza

From: Crossing Rubber, Philippines

Arrived in the UAE: 2007

Favourite place in Abu Dhabi: NYUAD campus

Favourite photography style: Street photography

Favourite book: Harry Potter

Where the Crawdads Sing

Director: Olivia Newman
Stars: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn
Rating: 2/5

Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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

Company profile

Company name: FinFlx

Started: January 2021

Founders: Amr Yussif (co-founder and CEO), Mattieu Capelle (co-founder and CTO)

Based in: Dubai

Industry: FinTech

Funding size: $1.5m pre-seed

Investors: Venture capital - Y Combinator, 500 Global, Dubai Future District Fund, Fox Ventures, Vector Fintech. Also a number of angel investors

BULKWHIZ PROFILE

Date started: February 2017

Founders: Amira Rashad (CEO), Yusuf Saber (CTO), Mahmoud Sayedahmed (adviser), Reda Bouraoui (adviser)

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: E-commerce 

Size: 50 employees

Funding: approximately $6m

Investors: Beco Capital, Enabling Future and Wain in the UAE; China's MSA Capital; 500 Startups; Faith Capital and Savour Ventures in Kuwait


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