Moataz Al Rafie on Qatar banking | Ahli Bank Qatar | Video

Qatar is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and is pursuing reforms to improve the entrepreneurial environment and diversify its economy beyond oil and gas. Supporting this business growth are commercial banks like Ahli Bank; CEO Moataz Al Rafie explains how the company is leveraging the latest technology to provide top services to its clients.

Jeff Mack on playing consolidator | Guardian Holdings

The Guardian Holdings insurance group has been “Protecting the Caribbean” for more than 160 years. Today it is founded on three strategic pillars of life, health and pension; property and casualty; and asset management. Jeff Mack returns to World Finance to celebrate the company’s recent double-digit revenue growth and ratings upgrade; and discuss the possibility of regional consolidation in the insurance sector.

Natdhanai Mankosol | Viriyah Insurance Public Company

The worst flooding in Thailand in over half a century caused widespread havoc in 2011. The cost of the damage could exceed $6bn, and has already resulted in insurance claims totalling $3.3bn. Natdhani Mankosol explains how the domestic insurance industry reacted to the extreme weather conditions, and outlines Viriyah Insurance’s work with the government in its aftermath. He also describes how the company’s accessibility – with over 100 branches countrywide and 4,000 agents – sets it apart from its rivals.

Erich Staake on shipping | Duisport | Video

An estimated 146 million shipping containers were transported globally in 2011, and merchant ships contribute more than $380bn in freight rates annually to the world economy. As the world’s largest inland port, Duisport therefore plays a major role in the seaborne trade industry. CEO and President Erich Staake discusses how acting as a logistic service provider has been the key to Duisport’s success, the importance of sustainability, and how emerging markets are a major opportunity for investment.

Paul Patterson | RBC Wealth Management | Video

In recent years, the Channel Islands have implemented higher standards of regulation. Combined with their natural strengths of political stability, tax neutrality and a large pool of wealth management talent, they have become recognised as high-standard financial centres. Paul Patterson outlines how RBC Wealth Management’s Canadian heritage, strong capital base, and uniquely integrated delivery put it ahead of its competitors in private banking, and describes some of the future opportunities that will arise from operating in the Channel Islands.

Sulaiman Al-Qimlas | Bayt Al Mal Investment

Sulaiman Al-Qimlas, CEO, Bayt Al Mal Investment Kuwait is the world’s 10th largest oil exporter, and has been enjoying the windfall of rising oil prices. But a lot of this growth is being reinvested in the oil sector, leaving Kuwait’s other industries undeveloped and its economy unbalanced. Sulaiman Al-Qimlas reveals the other sectors currently attracting outside investment, thanks to Kuwait’s $120bn five year development plan; and explains Bayt Al Mal Investment’s new focus on Awqaf, the Islamic equivalent of endowment.

Dominique Uzel on Turkey insurance | Groupama | Video

Turkey’s insurance market has been growing rapidly in recent years, thanks to new laws introduced to liberalise the industry. But it is still underdeveloped compared with other established economies: the market is worth just $120 per capita, while the French insurance sector is worth over $4,000 per capita. Dominique Uzel explains how Groupama is working closely with its extensive agent network to create new products designed especially for Turkey.

Insurance Awards 2012

Best Insurance Company, Argentina
QBE Seguros

Best Insurance Company, Austria
Assicurazioni Generali

Best Insurance Company, Bahrain
Bahrain National Holding Company

Best Insurance Company, Belgium

Best Insurance Company, Brazil
ACE Seguradora

Best Insurance Company, Bulgaria

Best Insurance Company, Canada

Best Insurance Company, Caribbean
Seguros Banreservas

Best Insurance Company, Chile
Asociación Chilena de Seguridad

Best Insurance Company, China
Ping An Insurance

Best Insurance Company, Colombia
Previsora Seguros

Best Insurance Company, Croatia

Best Insurance Company, Czech Republic
Komerční Pojišt’ovna

Best Insurance Company, Denmark

Best Insurance Company, Ecuador
Ace Seguros

Best Insurance Company, Egypt
Misr Insurance Company

Best Insurance Company, France
BNP Paribas Cardif

Best Insurance Company, Finland
Sampo Group

Best Insurance Company, Germany

Best Insurance Company, Greece
InterAmerican Group

Best Insurance Company, Hong Kong

Best Insurance Company, Hungary
ING Life Insurance

Best Insurance Company, India
New India Assurance

Best Insurance Company, Indonesia
PT Asuransi Jiwasraya (Persero)

Best Insurance Company, Italy
Intesa Vita

Best Insurance Company, Ireland

Best Insurance Company, Jordan
Arab Orient Insurance

Best Insurance Company, Kazakhstan
Eurasia Insurance

Best Insurance Company, Kuwait
Gulf Insurance Company

Best Insurance Company, Lebanon

Best Insurance Company, Luxembourg
Groupe La Luxembourgeoise

Best Insurance Company, Malaysia
Kurnia Insurans Berhad

Best Insurance Company, Mexico
Qualitas Insurance

Best Insurance Company, Morocco
CNIA SAADA Assurance

Best Insurance Company, Netherlands

Best Insurance Company, Norway
SpareBank 1

Best Insurance Company, Oman
Al-Ahlia Insurance

Best Insurance Company, Pakistan
EFU Life

Best Insurance Company, Peru
Rimac Seguros | Watch the award presentation

Best Insurance Company, Philippines

Best Insurance Company, Poland

Best Insurance Company, Portugal
BES Vida

Best Insurance Company, Qatar
QIC Group

Best Insurance Company, Russia

Best Insurance Company, Saudi Arabia

Best Insurance Company, Serbia
UNIQA osiguranje

Best Insurance Company, Singapore

Best Insurance Company, Slovakia
Generali Slovensko

Best Insurance Company, Slovenia

Best Insurance Company, South Africa

Best Insurance Company, South Korea
Samsung Life Insurance

Best Insurance Company, Spain
VidaCaixa Grupo

Best Insurance Company, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation | Watch the award presentation

Best Insurance Company, Sweden
Avanza Bank

Best Insurance Company, Switzerland

Best Insurance Company, Taiwan
Fubon Life Insurance | Watch the award presentation

Best Insurance Company, Thailand
Viriyah Insurance | Watch the award presentation

Best Insurance Company, Turkey
Groupama Sigorta | Watch the award presentation

Best Insurance Company, Ukraine

Best Insurance Company, UAE
Oman Insurance Company

Best Insurance Company, UK
Legal & General

Best Insurance Company, USA

Best Insurance Company, Venezuela
Seguros Mapfre

Best Insurance Company, Vietnam
PetroVietnam Insurance

Infrastructure Investment Awards 2012

Best Water Project
MOSE/The Venice Flood Barrier (Consorzio Venezia Nuova)

Best Venture Capital Partnership
Skolkovo Innovation Centre (Skolkovo Foundation)

Best Public Private Partnerships
State of Minas Gerais

Best Industrial Development & Expansion
Gujarat International Finance Tec-City – GIFT (Government of Gujarat and GUDCOL)

Best Social Project
University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM)

Best Education Project
Universidad Politécnica de San Luis Potosí (Mexican Federal Government through The Ministry of Education)

Best Rail Project

Best Road Project
Highways Infrastructure (SCT Ministry of Transportation and Communication – Mexico)

Best Port Development
Duisport (Duisburger Hafen AG) | Watch the award presentation

Best Airport Project
Brazilian Airport Privatisation (ANAC)

Best Logistics Project
Maersk Tripple E (Daewoo Shipbuilding)

Best Cross-Border Project
Honk Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge (Development Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

Hedge Funds Awards 2012

Part I: Fund of Hedge Funds



Best Distressed Securities FOHF
SC Turnaround Fund (Swiss Capital Group)

Best Diversified FoHF
NEF Energy Diversified Fund (NEF Asset Management)

Best Emerging Markets FoHF
Hermes BPK Greater China Fund (Hermes BPK Partners)

Best Event Driven FoHF
Key Recovery Fund (Key Asset Management)

Best Fixed Income FoHF
Opus Fixed Income Fund (Schroders NewFinance Capital)

Best Global Macro FoHF
GHF Sicav Global Macro Fund Class A (Thalìa)

Most Innovative FoHF
Enhanced Convexity Hedge Overlay (EIM) | Watch the award presentation

Best Long/Short Equity FoHF
Circle E Fund (BrunnerInvest)

Best Market Neutral FoHF
Merrant Alpha Select (Merrant Fund Management)

Best UCITS-Compliant FoHF
Dynamic Alternative Strategies (Goldman Sachs)

Best Institutional Fund Provider
Aberdeen Asset Management

Best Managed Platform Provider


North America

Best Managed Futures CTA FoHF
Genesis Multi-Manager Futures Fund (Genesis RAM) | Watch the award presentation

Best Distressed Securities FOHF
Fundamental Credit Recovery Fund (Fundamental Capital Management LLP)

Best Diversified FoHF
Titan Masters International Fund (Titan Advisors)

Best Event Driven FoHF
KDC Event (Kellner Capital)

Most Innovative FoHF
Axonic Credit Opportunities Fund (Axonic Capital)

Best Institutional Fund Provider

Best Managed Platform Provider
Sciens Fund of Funds Management Holdings


Asia Pacific

Best Diversified FoHF
Crown Asia Pacific Balanced Segregated Portfolio (LGT Capital Partners)

Best Institutional Fund Provider
Unigestion Asia

Best Private Client Fund Provider
Value Partners Group

Best Diversified FoHF
New Zealand Assets Management Global Fund



Best Distressed Securities FOHF
Reichmuth Matterhorn 24 (Reichmuth & Co)

Best Diversified FoHF
Allblue Fund (BlueCrest Capital Management)

Best Fixed Income FoHF
Signet Global Fixed Income Fund (Signet Management)


Part II: Single Funds


Best Arbitrage Fund
CIAM Merger Arbitrage Fund (CIAM)

Best Credit Fund

Best Distressed  Securities Fund
Cheyne Real Estate Debt Fund (Cheyne Capital Management)

Best Diversified Fund
Branta Solutions Fund (Roodhals Capital)

Best Emerging Markets Fund
UFG Debt Fund  (UFG Asset Management)

Best Event Driven Fund
Numen Credit Opportunities Fund (Numen Capital LLP)

Best Fixed Income Fund
Danske Invest Hedge Fixed Income Strategy (Danske Capital)

Best Global Macro Fund
Strand US Fund (Strand Asset Management)

Best Long/Short Equity Fund
Trafalgar Copley Fund (Trafalgar Capital)

Best Managed Futures CTA Fund
Strade Basket (Investors Trading AG)

Best Market Neutral Fund
Eco Absolute Return SEK (DNB Asset Management)

Best Relative Value Fund
Cassiopeia Fund (Dominice & Co Asset Management)

Best UCITS-Compliant Product
Nomura Macro Commodity Strategy (Nomura Alternative Investment Management)


North America

Best Distressed Securities Fund
Hildene Opportunities Fund (Hildene Capital)

Best Diversified Fund
Millennium USA (Millennium Management)

Best Fixed Income Fund
SPM Structured Servicing Holding (Structured Portfolio Management)

Best Global Macro Fund
Ping Exceptional Value Fund

Best Long/Short Equity Fund
Nokomis Capital Master Fund

Best Managed Futures CTA Fund
Global Diversified Fund (FORT LP) | Watch the award presentation

Best Relative Value Fund
Phalanx Japan Australia Multi-Strategy Fund (Phalanx Capital)


Latin America

Best Emerging Markets Fund
Perfin Long Short (Perfin Investimentos)

Best Event Driven Fund
Copernico Latin America Strategic Fund (Copernico Partners)

Best Global Macro Fund
Sparta Administradora de Recursos

Best Long/Short Equity Fund
Brazilian Equities (Pollux Capital)

Best Managed Futures CTA Fund
Quantum Leap (Quantam Leap Capital Management)

Best Relative Value Fund
Perfin Long Only (Perfin Investimentos)

Best Diversified Fund
Mercatto Diferencial Fund (Mercatto Investimentos)


Asia Pacific

Best Arbitrage Fund
SFP Value Realisation Fund (Symphony Financial Partners)

Best Diversified Fund
Symphony Diversified Fund (Symphony Financial Partners)

Best Emerging Markets Fund
Komodo Fund (HB Capital Partners)

Best Event Driven Fund
Pengana Asia Special Events Fund

Best Fixed Income Fund
Oracle Investment Fund

Best Global Macro Fund
Ortus Fund (Ortus Capital)

Best Long/Short Equity Fund
Thai Focused Equity Fund (Quest Management)

Best Managed Futures CTA Fund
Monsoon Asia-Pacific Systematic Programme (Monsoon Capital)

Best Relative Value Fund
Regal Amazon Market Neutral Fund



Best Diversified Fund Offshore
CFM Stratus Fund (Capital Fund Management)

Best Fixed Income Fund Offshore

Best Long/Short Equity Fund
Sprott Offshore Fund

Best Managed Futures CTA Fund
Superfund Blue SPC (Superfund Capital)

Best Arbitrage Fund
III Offshore Advisors

Costis Papadimitrakopoulos on Go!Enterprise | Globo

Business telephony has moved swiftly past the BlackBerry archetype and is now embracing the bring-your-own-device trend – which presents new challenges of control and security for businesses. Globo’s CEO discusses his company’s GO!Enterprise Server solution for secure enterprise telephony, its origins in providing a smartphone experience on feature phones, and the possibility of moving from London’s AIM to New York’s Nasdaq.

CorpBanca sees investment opportunities in Colombia

When Chile’s oldest private bank decided to expand into the Colombian market last year, it was seen as a sign of the growing confidence in Latin American banks. It also reflected the emergence of Colombia as a country that was ready to build upon the previous decade of economic growth and welcome international investment. The deal saw Chile’s CorpBanca buy a 92 percent controlling stake in Banco Santander Colombia. Originally agreed in December 2011, it was confirmed in June after the bank raised $530m in a share issue. Worth up to $1.1bn, the acquisition is the bank’s largest foreign investment to date and makes them the first Chilean firm to own a foreign bank subsidiary. It will also give them around a three percent share of the Colombian banking sector.

CorpBanca has operated in Chile since its inception in 1871. Originally formed as Banco de Concepcion, the bank became known as CorpBanca in 1997 after a restructuring of the business. New strategic definitions and a refocus towards personal financing, middle-income and medium-sized companies has allowed CorpBanca to compete with
Chile’s largest institutions.

Today, CorpBanca offers a wide range of commercial and retail banking services, as well as financial advisory services, mutual fund management, and insurance and securities brokerage services through a number of subsidiaries. In 2004, the bank was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Operating out of Santiago, the bank has built a staff of nearly 3,500 employees and operates almost 120 branches throughout Chile.

Gaining a foothold
Expansion of the business into other markets is something that CorpBanca has been eager to pursue. Within the region there are a number of markets that have grown, while others have suffered.

In a statement upon the confirmation of the Banco Santander deal, CorpBanca released a statement saying: “With this acquisition, CorpBanca aims at supporting Chilean companies in their expansion through Latin America and participating in the growing Colombian banking industry, one of the most attractive in the world.”

“The blocks could easily draw hundreds of millions of dollars. We have the conditions to guarantee investment.”

Taking over Santander’s operations in Colombia was seen as the perfect way for the CorpBanca to gain a significant foothold in this growing country’s banking sector. Santander’s assets in Colombia were more than $4bn at the time. It expects to grow the business over the coming years, and hopes to double the market share by 2015.

Many foreign investors have been looking to get a holding in the Colombian financial sector in recent times, with a record $7.56bn spent on acquisitions 2011; five times more than 2010’s figure. By contrast, Northern America saw a drop of 8.9 percent in these transactions, according to Bloomberg. Such deals include Scotiabank’s purchase of Colpatria for $1bn in October last year.

Colombia forms part of a new wave of emerging economies that investors are eager to tap into. The so-called CIVETS, representing Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa, have caused much excitement from international investors as a result of their diverse economies and rapidly growing young populations. These economies also benefit from comparatively stable financial systems, controlled inflation, and an abundance of natural resources.

Moving on from the past
The growth in the financial sector in Colombia has been fuelled by a stabilisation of the political climate, which has seen an emergence of pro-business politicians eager to open the country up to trade. Alongside the rise of this more business-focused governing class, there has also been a steady drop in the crime rate, which blighted Colombia’s attractiveness to international business in the past. The country suffered over 40 years of trouble with terrorist groups, mostly as a result of a drug trade that successive governments failed to control. However, as a result of policies launched in 2003, crime has dropped, confidence has grown, and this has resulted in foreign investment growing five times during this period.

With South America notoriously susceptible to financial crises over the years, it is interesting to see the region proving so attractive to investors from more developed nations that are currently suffering crises of their own. Part of the reason for this is the experience that countries like Colombia have gained from such crises. It has developed a robust regulatory environment that was born out of the county’s own banking crisis during the 1990s, while consolidation of the major banks over the last decade has resulted in stronger institutions with better corporate governance.

Alejandro Santo Domingo, whose Santo Domingo Group entered into an agreement with CorpBanca in December 2011, and has already invested $100m into the company in order to help it grow both in Chile and Colombia, said in a statement that the country is an attractive new proposition for investors: “Colombia has financial regulation that has given the sector order, security and strength, and it has some sophisticated and professional players with whom there is an important challenge for new banking competitors.”

According to Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry, the country was prepared for international crises because it had been saving during recent years in anticipation of such a slowdown. He said that the government needed to maintain a strategy to help its sectors continue to grow, telling reporters recently that much still needed to be done: “We can’t be complacent. We need measures that help the economy in precisely the next six or 12 months. Sectors where such measures must be more effective are agriculture and industry. I see other sectors growing as well.”

Improving infrastructure
Jaime Munita, the man in charge of CorpBanca’s Colombia operations, says the country presents a number of different opportunities for investors, including capital markets, pensions, real estate and infrastructure. He says that a growing mid-income population means there is an increasing amount of people that require banking services, something that had been relatively untapped in the past. Infrastructure is a particular area that CorpBanca is looking at, as much of the country’s network is severely undeveloped.

Munita believes that a huge amount of investment is required, and CorpBanca are in a good position to help facilitate that, not least because of their relationship with Chilean firms that have experience in large infrastructure projects.

The opportunities in this sector are evident from a World Economic Forum report that placed Colombia 79th out of 139 countries in terms of developed infrastructure last year. The Colombian government, led by President Juan Manuel Santos, announced last year a national infrastructure investment plan that included a 10-year investment of $55bn aimed at improving the country’s creaking transport network.

In a recent interview, Echeverry said that the government was determined to turn its focus to improving the undeveloped infrastructure of the country. “For 30 years, Colombia has not paid attention to its infrastructure. We paid attention to education, healthcare and pensions – and the war. Now we are getting back to building the infrastructure.”

According to Munita, the advantage that countries like Colombia and Peru currently possess is a higher level of liquidity than other emerging economies, with each country willing to invest in one another. Local banks are also at an advantage over their international competitors because of their knowledge of the region and lack of exposure to far-away crises. The country is steadily seeing the “bankerisation” of its 50 million population, says Munita, with a growing middle class providing the banking industry with many opportunities. In fact, since accounting for just 15 percent of the population in 2002, the middle class grew to 28 percent in 2011, according to a social mobility study by Bogota’s Andes University.

Natural resources
Colombia is also at an advantage from its oil and gas reserves, producing the third-largest amount of oil in South America. Earlier this year, the country sought $500m in investment into the exploration of gas trapped in shale rock. The government’s Hydrocarbons Director, Julio Cesar Vera Diaz, pointed out the massive potential in March: “The blocks could easily draw hundreds of millions of dollars. We have the conditions to guarantee investment.”

CorpBanca expects to grow further into Colombia with more strategic acquisitions. It is rumoured to be looking at buying a stake in Helm Bank, Colombia’s highest-performing stock in 2012. It currently has a market share of around 4.2 percent in Colombia, and would offer CorpBanca further expertise in the corporate and business lending parts of their business. The bank is also said to be looking into purchasing a brokerage firm in Colombia, further strengthening its offering in the country. This expansion shows that CorpBanca is serious about developing its presence in Colombia, and is a vote of confidence for a country that is slowly emerging as a leading player among the new wave of emerging markets.

Murat Kutluturk and Candas Gulez | ETRM Energy Consultancy and Risk Management

ETRM is a global energy consultancy, working at every level — from generation and transmission to distribution and service — across the wholesale, retail and utility sectors. Murat and Candas explain how the company works to internationalise best practice, Turkey’s new pricing mechanism for renewable energy, and its role as a bridge between eastern suppliers and western consumers.

Dr Antonio Loyola | Universidad Politecnica de San Luis Potos

As Mexico’s economy gets stronger and its middle class grows, more and more young people are demanding good quality higher education. To meet this demand 50 new polytechnic universities are being founded – and the first of these was UPSLP. Dr Antonio Loyola outlines the university’s educational standards and describes how its funding model was inspired by public-private partnerships in the UK.