Why Middle East investors should look at alternatives to pensions and savings accounts

Private equity firm Berkeley Assets says it offers a diversified portfolio to clients



With diversification high on the agenda of investors across the Middle East, several new alternatives are now starting to emerge.

According to international private equity firm Berkeley Assets, which has offices in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, it offers a “more profitable alternative to traditional pensions and savings accounts”.

The company has investments in real estate, hospitality, logistics and technology and develops luxury residential and commercial properties in cities across the UK and US. In total, it operates over 150 businesses across multiple industries.

It raised $112.8m in total in 2018 from the Middle East, Far East and central Europe, with $16.2m generated from the retail market and the remainder from institutional investors, exceeding its capital raising targets.

Berkeley Assets says it identifies undervalued assets, which are consequently developed by its in-house design and construction teams.

“Projects are selected based on an opportunity selection strategy and their ability to deliver above market growth and impressive timeframes, while equity risk is mitigated through an A-rated insurance provider.”

For instance, in June, the company announced from its Dubai regional office that it was investing in assisted living in the UK.

It placed equity finance for the construction of up to 70 apartments on the site of a centuries old mill at Atherstone, North Warwickshire in a government-approved social housing project.

Government support for the project, which is being undertaken by developer Atherstone Britannia, “will guarantee a buyer on completion and ensure there are people ready to occupy the new apartments”, a statement said.

“Assisted living in the UK is massively underserved and there is a growing demand from people across the country who prefer this option to sheltered housing or nursing homes,” said Mike Clark, partner at Berkeley Assets.

Assisted living, also known as ‘extra care’ offers people the chance to live independently while having access to extra care whenever they need it.

Omar Jackson, partner at Berkeley Assets said: “The project is expected to generate an annualised return of 33 per cent upon completion.

“Final planning is expected within eight weeks and project completion is set within 21 months,” he said.

“Warwickshire has the ideal demographic for assisted living with an ageing population and a growing demand for extra care,” he said, adding “we look forward to using this deal as a template to gain more exposure to the assisted living market in the UK over the coming months and years.”

Berkeley Assets’ UK office recently received the official stamp of approval from financial regulator Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The company is currently undergoing a global expansion, having recently opened new offices in Marbella and Mexico City, while others in Africa and the Far East are set to open in 2019 and 2020.

“With no income tax, withholding tax, VAT or CGT all of our clients’ capital is fully diversified across all of our assets to mitigate risk and provide capital protection. This incredibly lucrative sector is usually reserved for banks and institutions; however, Berkeley Assets offer a private equity opportunity to the general public,” the company explains.

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