United have twin options at the back



It is difficult to tell Manchester United's teenage twins Rafael and Fabio da Silva apart when they are not wearing their No 20 or No 21 shirts. With Fabio having married, manager Sir Alex Ferguson often guesses by which one is wearing the ring. The referee Chris Foy did not have that advantage in Tuesday's Carling Cup match against Barnsley, booking Fabio for a foul committed by Rafael.

But there is no mistaking the quality of this pair. At 19, they are United's future, but yet it would not be foolhardy for Ferguson to make them major participants in the present. Rafael could start against Blackburn today with the incentive to continue his rise and give United a freshness that their defence looks like it needs. With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic looking far from the assured partnership of the past, the younger, perhaps hungrier, players offer a timely challenge for first-team places.

The Brazilian boys do that, and Ferguson needs to utilise such options after last Sunday's 2-0 loss at Liverpool. So too Michael Owen against Blackburn who have conceded 11 goals in their last two away league games. akhan@thenational.ae Man Utd v Blackburn, KO 9.30pm, Showsports 1 & 2

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

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.”

Brief scores:

Toss: Sindhis, elected to field first

Kerala Knights 103-7 (10 ov)

Parnell 59 not out; Tambe 5-15

Sindhis 104-1 (7.4 ov)

Watson 50 not out, Devcich 49

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League last 16, second leg
Liverpool (0) v Atletico Madrid (1)
Venue: Anfield
Kick-off: Thursday, March 12, midnight
Live: On beIN Sports HD

Company profile

Name: Tabby
Founded: August 2019; platform went live in February 2020
Founder/CEO: Hosam Arab, co-founder: Daniil Barkalov
Based: Dubai, UAE
Sector: Payments
Size: 40-50 employees
Stage: Series A
Investors: Arbor Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Wamda Capital, STV, Raed Ventures, Global Founders Capital, JIMCO, Global Ventures, Venture Souq, Outliers VC, MSA Capital, HOF and AB Accelerator.

How to donate

Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
2289 – Dh10
2252 – Dh 50
6025 – Dh20
6027 – Dh 100
6026 – Dh 200

Should late investors consider cryptocurrencies?

Wealth managers recommend late investors to have a balanced portfolio that typically includes traditional assets such as cash, government and corporate bonds, equities, commodities and commercial property.

They do not usually recommend investing in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies due to the risk and volatility associated with them.

“It has produced eye-watering returns for some, whereas others have lost substantially as this has all depended purely on timing and when the buy-in was. If someone still has about 20 to 25 years until retirement, there isn’t any need to take such risks,” Rupert Connor of Abacus Financial Consultant says.

He adds that if a person is interested in owning a business or growing a property portfolio to increase their retirement income, this can be encouraged provided they keep in mind the overall risk profile of these assets.

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.

yallacompare profile

Date of launch: 2014

Founder: Jon Richards, founder and chief executive; Samer Chebab, co-founder and chief operating officer, and Jonathan Rawlings, co-founder and chief financial officer

Based: Media City, Dubai 

Sector: Financial services

Size: 120 employees

Investors: 2014: $500,000 in a seed round led by Mulverhill Associates; 2015: $3m in Series A funding led by STC Ventures (managed by Iris Capital), Wamda and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority; 2019: $8m in Series B funding with the same investors as Series A along with Precinct Partners, Saned and Argo Ventures (the VC arm of multinational insurer Argo Group)

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre V8

Transmission: seven-speed auto

Power: 420 bhp

Torque: 624Nm

Price: from Dh293,200

On sale: now

Jurassic Park

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough
Rating: 5/5

Profile

Company: Libra Project

Based: Masdar City, ADGM, London and Delaware

Launch year: 2017

Size: A team of 12 with six employed full-time

Sector: Renewable energy

Funding: $500,000 in Series A funding from family and friends in 2018. A Series B round looking to raise $1.5m is now live.

Final scores

18 under: Tyrrell Hatton (ENG)

- 14: Jason Scrivener (AUS)

-13: Rory McIlroy (NIR)

-12: Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP)

-11: David Lipsky (USA), Marc Warren (SCO)

-10: Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Chris Paisley (ENG), Matt Wallace (ENG), Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR)


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