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7 Nov 2007

Hedge Funds in the Middle East Conference

The third Annual Conference for Hedge Funds in the Middle East, organized by Hedge Funds Review magazine, got underway on November 5 under the sponsorship of Investcorp, the alternative investment specialist.

The opening session was attended by His Excellency Mr Rasheed Muhammed Al-Maraj, the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain. Attending the conference are leading investors from various Gulf nations, in addition to hedge fund managers from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States, who have been discussing the latest strategies for alternative investments.

Investcorp Managing Director Sewanyana Kironde welcomed the participants. He was followed by the co-heads of hedge funds at Investcorp, Ibrahim Gharghour and Deepak Gurnani, who presented a review of global strategies for hedge fund activity. Their presentation stressed the importance of studying risks and managing them wisely in order to attain balanced investments.

Investcorp has more than 10 years' experience in hedge funds. At present it manages $6.4bn in hedge fund assets, making it one of the biggest international investors in this area. Hedge funds are now being used in the portfolios of institutional investors and high net worth individuals as an alternative means of maximising returns and increasing wealth.

In collaboration with the conference organizers, Investcorp has designed this summit to facilitate discussion about the various hedge fund strategies, about the means of addressing geographic distribution and about Islamic Sharia compliance in the Middle East market, which is growing at a rapid pace.

The conference, which continues until Wednesday night, also featured a "Day at the Races" at the Bahrain International Circuit, and a banquet dinner.

$61 Million Shariah Fund Launch By KAMKO

KIPCO Asset Management Company ("KAMCO") today announced the launch of the Al Raya Investment Company KSC, with the private placement of 170 million shares. The fund will primarily target international investors in developed markets interested in Shariah compliant international asset management.

"Al Raya Investment Company aims to be the first and most comprehensive Islamic investment company in Kuwait and the GCC region with a clear focus on international Islamic asset management products and services," said Mr. Hazem Al-Braikan, Chairman of the Founders' Committee.

Al Raya is a private company that will be incorporated under Kuwaiti company law as a Kuwaiti closed shareholding company, and will be registered with the Central Bank of Kuwait as an Islamic Investment Company.

Primarily, the company will target international equities, asset management, alternative investment products, advisory services and portfolio management segments of the market.

Islamic finance represents a fast growing market segment. At the end of 2006, over 250 Islamic financial institutions operated in more than 75 countries, holding assets estimated at more than $265 billion with another $400 billion in financial investments.

It is estimated that within the next 10 years, 50 to 60% of the total savings of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims will be in the form of Shariah compliant products, and that the potential market for Islamic financial services to be in the area of $4 trillion.

"KAMCO is delighted to announce this new investment opportunity to its clients and investors in Kuwait and internationally," said Mrs. Intisar Al-Suwaidi, KAMCO Vice Chairman. "We strongly believe that this private placement offering will be of significant interest to selected and sophisticated investors."