This is a general summary of key participant points from the London launch of SMARTInvest Real Estate by The Grid Media Ltd in partnership with Bird & Bird LLP on July 19, 2018.


Michael Rudd, Co-Head, International Energy & Utilities Group and Marco Nicolai, UK Head of Construction, Bird & Bird LLP

May Khizam, Founder & Chief Strategist and Tasneem Mayet, Research Director, The Grid Media Ltd

The private round table was attended by market leading participants representing a broad cross-section of the built space value chain from the United Kingdom, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. The discussion focused on front line thinking, with a focus on disruption, at the intersections of investment, real estate and technology. (more…)

“F.A.I.L. means “First Attempt In Learning” and allows us to view failure in a new way”

The Grid: Tell us about your successes so far with the Women’s Angel Investor Network (WAIN)?

WAIN: Let’s go through some of our statistics. We have invested almost $500K since we formed 3 years ago. We have invested in 6 companies and with one firm, Little Thinking Minds, we invested a second round. We have 30 investors currently and will grow our investor base by another 20 by year end. Our members make an average number of 3 investments. A little over 7% of our current members are a Board Member and/or an Advisory Member with our investee firms.


June 7, 2017

Rental Peace of Mind

“In other markets – Britain, Australia, India – you would be happy with 3% to 4% yields. In Dubai, you are looking at a minimum ROI of 7% to 8% in a good location by an established developer”

The Grid: As the Editor-in-Chief of Property Time, could you share your insights into the Dubai property market at present?

Binesh Panicker: You can’t generalize about the Dubai real estate market. It is going through a unique situation right now, different from the past. Growth is not happening across all segments – luxury, mid, low-end – the same way.

Some investors focus on the luxury segment others on affordability. People focusing on the affordable segment are doing pretty okay. This is validated by the fact that developments such as Nshama won recognition at the first Gulf Real Estate Awards 2017 by the Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI) this April. People are price conscious. If you look at the new projects coming up, it is developers like Danube launching new projects because their previous launches have sold out.


“When you make an informed decision, nine out of ten times you get it right”

The Grid: Could you share one piece of advice for investors considering Dubai real estate today?

Binesh Panicker: Investors must do their own due diligence and not listen to brokers purely. Brokers will push deals linked to higher commissions mostly. Of course things are changing with RERA picking up its game.

The Grid: Talking of RERA, tell us more about how government impacts this sector in your opinion.

Binesh Panicker: I have been in the market for nine years now. The biggest difference today is the level of information sharing. There is a press release by the DLD almost every day targeting a different segment, whether in relation to the Dubai Rental Dispute Center or a new regulation or something else. This is helping buyers and sellers and investors to make informed rather than forced decisions. When you make an informed decision, nine out of ten times you get it right.


May 23, 2017

Diving into Yields

“Consistency of involvement is a big deal in shipping. It is very hard to dip in and dip out.”

The Grid: Which sectors do you invest in and what is your methodology?

Marcus Machin: Our business is solely focused on shipping and oil services. We have approximately US$1.6bn in AUM, of which 40% is in a hedge fund while the rest is deployed in direct investments (59 vessels). From our Dubai office we cover a footprint roughly from Istanbul to Singapore.

The sectors we cover are perceived to be highly volatile in terms of earnings and asset values. Our job as investment manager is to ensure we understand the shipping and oil services markets  and the factors that affect them. We then match opportunities to the risk-return parameters of our institutional counter parties. In the last five years we have seen more people drawn into alternative assets as a result of low yields in habitual investments.


“Banks still have to find a niche and stand out to win clients”

The Grid: Do you think wealthy families have aligned their mindset to the new status quo globally i.e. the inevitable shift towards more disclosure of information?

Pankaj Narain: The sense is that it is all too early at this stage for everybody to take in the entire impact of what’s going to come. At Hinduja Bank we have started speaking with clients on this subject. CRS will impact pretty much everybody with a bank account.

Have clients understood the whole piece? Perhaps not. My sense is that clients require an education process to get there. Our relationship managers are explaining to them why this is happening. All stakeholders have an important role to play, including the Regulators.

The Grid: How is the advent of the CRS beneficial to clients? Does the industry have their buy-in?


“The vast majority of these studies are designed from a western-perspective and do not apply equally to our social context as Arabs, Muslims, or to the Middle East or the wider region”

The Grid: In our event ‘Family Firms: Coming out of Denial, Taking Stock and Lessons Learned’, in which you were a guest speaker, there was a lot of interest in the investment trends of families in the Emirates. What do you see as the key areas of interest at present?

Adil Al Zarooni: Education is key for stabilization in any region, with the Middle East being no exception. I naturally start with the United Arab Emirates. It is the most mature market in the region with a lot of institutions providing education services.