The Middle East – Africa – Southern Asia (MEASA) region was a new regional definition and nomenclature coined by MEASA Partners’ founders. The region spans the historical Silk Road outside China with strong and historic trading relationships, internal migrations, and political ties. The region covers symbiotic economies offering diversified opportunities (e.g., oil & gas in the Gulf, minerals and arable land in Africa, and tech & human capital in Southern Asia).
Home to 88 countries (including 9 of the 10 fastest growing economies globally) and 53% of the world’s population with a median age below 24 years, but only 15% of the world’s GDP, the region represents a lion’s share of the world’s future population and economic growth.
Meeting the anticipated growth will cause a disproportionate impact on global consumption of resources, which in turn becomes not just a regional but global risk factor if development is not done via a sustainable approach. Moreover, the region needs an enormous amount of capital to develop. The current annual capital formation amounts to approx. $3.0 trillion, however, to meet the projected growth in population and economic progress another $1.5 trillion investment is needed annually. Critically, if the SDG requirements are to be met an additional $2.5 trillion will be needed annually.
This amount of capital, and particularly long-term capital, requires participation from large international (and the increasing number of local) institutional investors. However, today, where most institutional investors closely track the benchmarks, only around 3-4% of institutional capital is allocated to the region. While the opportunity and need are evident, the region has also been notoriously difficult to invest into, as experienced by many in past years. The problem is clearly neither a lack of investment need, nor a lack of interest to invest, but rather a lack of investment opportunities and investment managers with a quality and scale that can meet institutional investors’ requirements.
Recently, this dynamic has started to change. Firstly, a number of new institutional investors/SWFs are being established and there are now 38 SWFs across the region with accumulated more than $4.5 trillion in AuM that increasingly focus on within-region investments. This is drastically improving the local investment capability and offering international investors local collaboration counterparts. Secondly, the regional family businesses and family offices, which have been successful in building business in their home markets, are becoming institutional-style investors and investment managers (as already seen in more developed markets). Finally, whilst the regional investment management landscape still largely consists of relatively young and small institutions lacking experience and profile for raising international capital at scale, they increasingly demonstrate an ability to develop solid local investment opportunities, which can be scaled if capital is available.
Done well, we believe that attracting international institutional capital will support a sustainable development of the region, while offering back a unique and critical combination of growth at scale combined with significant diversification from the highly interconnected investment markets of North America, Europe, Northern Asia, and Australia.
The founders of MEASA Partners coined the term ‘MEASA’ in 2018 when the first investment strategy was developed. Since then, the nomenclature has increasingly been adopted by researchers, economists, investors, financial institutions, and companies more broadly.
MEASA Partners Ltd, was established in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) in 2020 by Al Maskari Holding, in partnership with Dr. Russell Read and Peter Lejre as Co-Founders, thereby combining the Al Maskari family’s 50+ years’ experience of investing and building businesses across the region, with Dr. Read’s 30+ years international institutional investment allocation experience, and Mr. Lejre’s strategic M&A experience.
From the outset, the company was envisioned as a partnership platform that would engage with local and international stakeholders to develop applied research and institutional quality investment strategies that could attract institutional capital to invest across the MEASA region via Abu Dhabi. Over time, the aspiration is to become the preferred multi asset class asset manager for institutional investors accessing the MEASA region.
To enhance the ability of attracting international institutional capital, MEASA Partners adopted two investment philosophies: (i) a sustainable investment approach with a strong focus on Governance to reduce perceived and real reputational risks for the investors, and (ii) an access strategy approach whereby investors can participate in product strategies with larger investment sizes and diversified underlying assets.
2018: Founding team co-launched the MEASA Stock Fund with the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation and McKinley Capital Management as an institutional access strategy to regional frontier and emerging public equity markets
2020: MEASA Partners Ltd. established in Abu Dhabi Global Markets
2021: Formed partnership with NYU Abu Dhabi and Mubadala Investment Company to launch the Transition Investment Lab with the aspiration to develop highest academic standard research on sustainable investments in the MEASA region.
2022: Established an equity relationship with Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners (part of Mubadala Capital Solutions) to grow MEASA Partners and launch new MEASA investment strategies.
2023: Co-founded Aurem with Further Ventures to enable expatriates living and working in the region to increase financial wellbeing by offering an investments and savings platform.