Our first event for the largest investors based in the region facilitated stimulating discussions between more than 70 key asset allocators and our broad range of global experts. Delegates gathered to discuss a wide range of topics, from the investment outlook and implications of inflation to implementing impactful ESG strategies. 

Watch the 2023 Middle East Investment conference highlights video

Below are our top 10 key takeaways from the highly successful gathering.
  1. Challenges will continue into 2024
    Inflation is set to persist in many economies around the world, albeit at slightly lower levels, while geopolitical events are highly likely to continue impacting investment strategies.
  2. Retirement savings evolves
    Four global trends are transforming the retirement savings landscape for governments, employers and financial services providers: the creation of safety nets, the collection of wellness data, the ongoing transition to DC pensions, and the generational skills gaps created by flexible working. 
  3. Women in finance
    It is impressive to see and hear first hand the continued efforts to bridge the gender gap in Middle Eastern financial workforces. Despite a persistent gender gap, there are many amazing examples of emerging female talent and successful female role models. The financial sector presents many opportunities for women – and they appear to be very interested in careers in the sector. 
  4. Governance within family offices
    Family offices are increasingly recognizing the importance of governance in setting their strategies, including the role it plays in preserving wealth and passing it on to future generations.
  5. Bespoke ESG solutions are essential 
    As ESG investing continues to gain traction it has become increasingly apparent that implementation needs to be customized – so ESG principles align with each investor’s unique objectives and values. This highlights the need for comprehensive data analysis, stakeholder engagement and proactive risk management.
  6. COP28 presents risks and opportunities
    As COP28 in Dubai approaches, after a year of devastating wildfires and reports of rising sea levels, the global community has reaffirmed its commitment to addressing climate change. Serious risks are accompanied by potential investment opportunities, in areas from renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure to green technology.
  7. Alternatives prove their value
    With traditional asset classes experiencing heightened volatility, alternatives present a compelling opportunity with the additional benefit of adding diversification. Venture capital, private equity and real estate all offer the potential for particularly attractive long-term returns and risk mitigation. 
  8. The energy transition is about more than renewables
    While renewables remain key to decarbonisation, the greater investment opportunity may lie in sustainable infrastructure. There are compelling opportunities across the sector, in areas from green transportation to waste management and water supply.
  9. Credit dislocation favours private debt
    Private debt has emerged as a strategic investment option, potentially offering higher yields, diversification and downside protection. Credit dislocation means distressed debt, direct lending, and mezzanine financing each present an attractive risk-reward proposition.
  10. Hedge funds set to benefit from volatility
    Hedge funds have the potential to benefit from volatile markets, with an ability to generate alpha while hedging against downturns. The multiplicity of strategies available includes many that are uncorrelated with traditional asset classes and therefore present valuable sources of alpha.
The success of this conference means we will be back next year – in fact preparations have already begun. It will be a yearly congress for asset allocators to ensure they have access to the most up-to-date market insights and industry perspectives. The wide range of investor objectives – from maximizing returns to impact investing – means each institution needs to forge its own bespoke strategy.

About 2023 Event

Mercer's 1st asset-allocators only conference in Middle East took place on 19 September 2023 at The Ritz Carlton, DIFC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The conference attracted more than 70 key asset allocators in the region to discuss different investments perspectives shaping the future of the industry.