UIB kicks off with football and lifestyle funds

13 Jul 2011

Dubai’s newest asset manager, United Investment Bank (UIB), is launching a football fund, lifestyle fund and two finance funds, Mena FM can reveal.

The football fund is set to launch with $30-50m, while the lifestyle fund will launch with a single seed investment of $65m and two upcoming trade finance funds will initially be worth $10-25m.

Dino Skandalis, the company’s newly appointed co-head of asset management along with Steve Hefft, told Mena FM that the funds will each target selective investor bases, including high-net-worth individuals. Skandalis did not reveal what types of assets the funds would be targeting within the football and lifestyle sectors

“The funds are structured for professional and accredited investors and each will offer a distinct investment horizon and related liquidity terms to cater to the requirements of different types of investors from the region and beyond,” he said. “The football and lifestyle funds have a longer conversion cycle, while the trade finance fund will monetise medium-term assets on a much shorter timescale through the secondary markets.

“We believe that these funds will also be attractive to investors who are already participating or knowledgeable about these sectors.”

The football and lifestyle funds will be looking for investments in assets and brands in sectors with significant growth potential over the medium term, added Skandalis, with both funds benefitting from the involvement of well-known entities with extensive experience in these sectors.

The company, which specialises in offering specialised alternative products with a focus on emerging markets, also intends to launch an aircraft engines leasing fund with a launch AUM of more than $150m, in the future.

“With sovereign debt concerns persisting both in Europe and the US and uncertainty about overall growth prospects in developed markets we believe it is a good time to introduce an alternative product mix targeting specific growth sectors and bespoke strategies not normally available to investors,” said Skandalis.

UIB, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s United Financial Partners (UFP) arrived in the DIFC earlier this year and is in the process of building its team, which is headed by CEO Raul Silva. The company’s business will focus on investment banking, corporate finance, real-estate and private equity.

From its Dubai base it will identify opportunities in frontier and emerging markets, with new investments driven by client requirements. Skandalis confirmed that the company would look at developing Shariah-compliant products over time.