Middle East and other sovereign #investors put major asset allocation decisions on hold

Invesco has released its fifth Invesco Global Sovereign Asset Management Study. The study was conducted amongst 97 individual sovereign investors and asked them to rate the importance of economic and geopolitical factors on their investment strategies. Middle East and other sovereign investors see low interest rates as the greatest tactical asset allocation factor. Brexit and the US election results are expected to grow in importance for future allocations, as the implications of political shifts on investment performance becomes clearer. Sovereign investors have ranked the US as the most attractive market. However, long term confidence is still restricted by concerns about growing protectionism limiting access for foreign sovereigns. The UK saw the biggest drop in attractiveness and Continental Europe's attractiveness has also fallen. However, Germany stands out from its European neighbours because of its perceived safe haven status. Despite target return gaps increasingly widening, geo-political uncertainty is causing sovereign investors to make fewer allocation changes than at any point in the last five years.

Gulf pension funds ramp up assets amid Arab Spring

State pension funds in the Gulf are sharply increasing their investments in new assets on the back of the Arab Spring and demographic shifts, according to Invesco’s Middle East Asset Management Study. Regional state pension funds were forecast to grow assets by 19 percent this year. Morover, the study said that about 15 percent of all new sovereign assets in the region were going into state pension funds. In contrast, Gulf sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are expected to increase assets by an average of just 4 percent, down from 8 percent in 2012. Invesco said that the political unrest in the region had caused governments to pour more cash into pension funds as well as so-called ‘development’ SWFs, which focus their investments on assets that contribute to local economic growth.

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