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Wealthy Latin Americans more likely to invest in Middle East

A UBS report shows wealthy Latin American families are more likely to invest in the Middle East than US or European counterparts Alamy via Reuters
A UBS report shows wealthy Latin American families are more likely to invest in the Middle East than US or European counterparts
  • 1% of family wealth invested in Middle East
  • Expected to rise to 3%
  • Latin Americans double global average

Wealthy Latin American families were more present as investors in the Middle East than those from other parts of the world in 2023, a global banking report says, but overall numbers are low and down from 2022. 

UBS bank’s Global Family Office Report for 2024 showed that Latin American families had placed 2 percent of their wealth in the Middle East, while their Asian, European and North American peers had only 1 percent invested in the region. 

The global average for the Middle East was 1 percent of family offices’ wealth. The report did not give hard figures. 

This was down from a total 5 percent in 2022 and 4 percent in 2021, but the report has the total rising from 1 percent in 2023 to 3 percent in 2024. 

Middle East families were the biggest investor, placing 17 percent of their wealth in the Middle East region in 2023. 

The report did not give details, but the US-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute lists 84 family offices in the region, mostly based in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

According to a 2023 report by consultants Agreus, total assets under management will rise by 46 percent to $500 billion by 2025, and 32 percent have assets under management of $2.1 billion to $5 billion each. 

But Agreus notes that the family office concept remains nascent. Only 43 percent of family offices in the region have operated for over a decade. 

Switzerland’s UBS said North America and Western Europe were the most attractive locations overall, accounting for 50 percent and 27 percent respectively of global investment in 2023. 

“Family offices, on average, have half of their portfolios invested in North American asset classes,” the report said, citing US companies’ role in leading the development of artificial intelligence. 

It said that family offices in the Middle East are looking to diversify mainly through active management, hedge funds and increasing illiquid assets, with less interest in fixed income investments, whether short or long-term. 

Business consultants expressed surprise at the relatively high Latin American presence. 

“We’ve seen very little investment coming from Latin America into the Middle East,” said Yvonne Biesinger of Creation Business Consultants, which is based in Riyadh and Dubai.

“The bigger trend we’ve seen is inward investment from China and Hong Kong.”

Paul Aver of UAE-based Frontier Path also said Latin American family offices were not very visible. “I believe that Indian family offices are very substantial,” he said. “I also see a lot of Emirati and Saudi families.”

Saudi Arabia will have a chance to promote Latin American interest at its first Future Investment Initiative summit in South America, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June, focused on AI and renewable energy.

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