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Mon 13 May 2024
Investors’ Outlook: March Issue
Switzerland sets the pace with its interest rate adjustments, spotlighting financial innovation, while Dubai amplifies its focus on AI and sustainable investments, mirroring a similar energy transition push in Singapore...

Across the globe, the economic narrative unfolds with cautious optimism amid evolving challenges and strategic pivots. Switzerland sets the pace with its interest rate adjustments, spotlighting financial innovation, while Dubai amplifies its focus on AI and sustainable investments, mirroring a similar energy transition push in Singapore. In the United States, the investment landscape is marked by a discerning approach to AI and tech ventures, contrasting with India’s robust influx of international capital and burgeoning startup scene. The UK navigates economic pressures and a vibrant London financial scene, whereas Eastern Europe balances startup support with geopolitical sensitivities. Collectively, these developments underscore a global pursuit of innovation, sustainability and strategic investment amidst diverse economic and political backdrops.


What is happening in Switzerland?


Werner Schuenemann, Managing Partner at Xandance & Partners, shared that the Swiss central bank’s decision to lower interest rates, a move that notably places the country ahead of other leading central banks such as the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Federal Reserve (Fed). This action is particularly significant given the high value of the Swiss franc, which has posed substantial challenges for the country’s industries in maintaining profitability. Werner views this adjustment in monetary policy as a strategic measure aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the Swiss economy. By taking this step, Switzerland demonstrates a forward-thinking approach to economic stability, positioning itself as a leader in global financial policy. Werner believes this move is a crucial step in the right direction, signaling a commitment to fostering a more favorable economic environment amidst the complexities of the global market. Additionally, Antonino Sardegno, Founder at Hummingbird Capital Partners, noted that, building on the breaking news from Switzerland, the Swiss financial industry is making very positive strides in the trading and settling of tokenized investment products. This development is part of a broader strategy where Switzerland is positioning itself as a frontrunner in the legal and regulatory framework for digital assets. By embracing the tokenization of investment products, Switzerland is demonstrating its commitment to innovation within the financial sector.


What is happening in Dubai?


Maryam Fouladirad, Founder at fundii, pointed out that Dubai, along with broader efforts in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, is making significant strides in the technology and investment sector, particularly focusing on Artificial Intelligence (AI). She highlighted the ambitious initiative by Saudi Arabia to dedicate $40 billion towards AI development, aiming to position itself, alongside the UAE, as a major hub for technology. This initiative demonstrates a concerted effort by both Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia to establish themselves as leaders in the global AI landscape, reflecting a strong commitment to fostering innovation and technological advancement in the region. Her insights reveal the proactive steps being taken to enhance the technological infrastructure and attract investment, showcasing the Gulf’s growing influence in the global tech industry. Varsha Venkata Raman, Director at MGCO, highlighted the dynamic financial landscape across the Middle East, with a particular emphasis on the UAE. She noted the significant movement of funds between Middle Eastern countries and their substantial investment into Asian markets.



What is happening in the US?


Benjamin Fan, Founder at Fan Capital, shared his insights into the current trends within the private market in the United States, particularly with a focus on family offices and institutional investors. He emphasized the continued prominence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a key investment area from last year to this year. Benjamin’s personal investment strategy includes engaging in various deals, notably those involving character AI technologies. However, he also cautioned about the hype surrounding companies that claim to be AI-related, underscoring the importance of discernment in investment choices, especially in the private market. Lisa Morris, Managing Director at AKS Family Partners LP, shared her perspective on the current trends in America, particularly noting the widespread interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI). She observed a uniform focus on AI, with discussions often revolving around its potential risks and benefits, as well as deployment strategies. She also mentioned a growing excitement around space exploration and technology as a secondary area of interest. Amit Kanodia, Managing Partner at Lincoln Ventures, also discussed the investment scene in the U.S., noting the influx of capital into the market, particularly in sectors tagged with AI, reflecting a trend of eager investment in emerging technologies.


What is happening in Eastern Europe?


Istvan Alpek, Partner at Primus Capital, highlighted that the major news in Eastern Europe continues to be deeply affected by a significant ongoing conflict in the region. Although his country, Hungary, does not face direct consequences from this situation, the indirect effects are clearly visible, particularly in the humanitarian efforts to support those migrating from the conflict zones. These efforts include helping newcomers settle and integrate into a new environment. Moreover, Istvan pointed out the considerable strain this situation has placed on national budgets, indicating the profound economic and social implications that persist. This scenario underscores the broader impact of regional conflicts, extending beyond immediate areas to influence neighboring nations in complex ways.


What is happening in India?


Devesh Chawla, Founder at Chatur Ideas, shared insights into the bustling investment scene in India, highlighting a period of significant activity and optimism. With national elections on the horizon, public attention is captivated, yet the investment climate remains incredibly vibrant. Devesh pointed out the influx of international investments across various sectors, including debt markets, infrastructure and insurance, indicating a robust environment for economic growth and reform. He also noted the remarkable resilience and expansion of the startup ecosystem in India, which continues to secure funding and achieve high deal volumes even during global downturns. Furthermore, Devesh mentioned the extraordinary performance of the Indian stock market, describing it as experiencing one of the most substantial bull runs in its history, in stark contrast to the economic challenges faced by other countries. This bullish trend encompasses both listed and unlisted market spheres, showcasing India’s strong economic standing and promising future amidst global uncertainties. In addition to that, Nagaraja Prakasam, Partner at Acumen Fund, noted that the heightened activity due to the financial year-end in March and the anticipation surrounding the upcoming national elections. The election period tends to make investors cautious, especially in sectors heavily influenced by regulatory frameworks, such as climate and energy.



What is happening in Singapore?


Nishant Idnani, Managing Director at Vaultus Green funding, shared insights into the dynamic field of green funding and asset management, with a particular focus on energy transition initiatives like commercial electric mobility, sustainable material manufacturing and energy storage. Highlighting the significant momentum in these areas, especially in India and Indonesia, Nishant noted the introduction of innovative products and business models driving high growth and promising returns, despite the risks and currency volatility inherent in these markets. He also mentioned the increasing interest from institutional investors, including infrastructure, pension and credit funds, driven by major players like KKR. This growing investment activity, Nishant suggests, is indicative of a vibrant and optimistic future for energy transition sectors, unaffected by political changes like upcoming elections in these regions.


What is happening in the UK?


Marta Albert, Principal at QG Family Office, mentioned that the prevailing concerns in the country, with the cost of living crisis and issues within the National Health Service (NHS) topping the list of public worries. She pointed out a discrepancy between official statements on the economy’s recovery and the public sentiment, describing the situation as somewhat chaotic. Despite these challenges, London continues to thrive as a global touristic hotspot, attracting significant spending from visitors, particularly from the Middle East and Asia. On the investment front, Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominates discussions, reflecting substantial interest and investment in the sector, albeit with a cautious approach from investors. Sekayi M., Board Advisor at ArbitAI, noted a recent issue within the UK startup community, particularly among women investors. The hottest topic was the proposed increase in the criteria for becoming a qualified or accredited investor from £100K to £170K. This change would have significantly impacted women angel investors and the startups they support. However, following some concerted campaigning, the decision was reversed, marking a notable success for the community.


The 166th G.I.L.C. Summit brought together top investment professionals from around the globe to delve into the changing economic scenarios across various nations. To stay ahead in the world of international finance, ensure your participation in upcoming Club gatherings. Secure your spot for future meetings by registering here.

Participants mentioned in the article
Istvan Alpek
Primus Capital - Venture Capital fund management
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