'Risk averse' MENA investors keep 45% of wealth in cash - StashAway

Digital wealth manager StashAway says region has historically focused on real estate as opposed to public markets

Businessman using laptop in a restaurant. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Businessman using laptop in a restaurant. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Investors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region should diversify their portfolios as more than 45 percent of the region’s wealth is in cash, which is generating little or no returns, digital wealth manager StashAway said.

According to the wealth manager, investors in the MENA region are risk averse.

“We noticed in this region that the investor is very risk averse. In fact, more that 45 percent of the region’s total wealth is cash that is generating low returns or even no returns at all,” Ramzi Khleif, StashAway General Manager, MENA, said.

“The region has historically tended to focus on real estate investments as an asset class in comparison to other regions, where the majority of wealth is invested in public markets, said Khleif, increasingly driven by exchange traded funds (ETFs) in recent years,” he added.

StashAway has crossed the $1 billion barrier for assets under management. Khleif said the launch of its regional branch in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in November played a crucial role in helping the wealth manager in achieving the feat.

“But the largest amount of the assets under management is from Singapore, since it is our first operational country, which has been active for over three years,” Khleif said.

StashAway was founded in Singapore in 2016. Since then, it has established offices in Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the UAE.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)


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