Saudi investors keen on real estate and looking abroad

Dubai Marina by night: The UAE is the preferred market for 28 percent of GCC investors. (AFP)
Updated 20 June 2018
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Saudi investors keen on real estate and looking abroad

  • Many Saudis are looking outside the Kingdom for opportunities in the property market, according to a new survey of investment patterns among residents.
  • Some 85 percent of Saudi residents have invested in property at some stage, but over half of respondents are considering putting their cash into international real estate.

DUBAI: Most investors in Saudi Arabia are committed to real estate as their main investment vehicle, but many are looking outside the Kingdom for opportunities in the property market, according to a new survey of investment patterns among residents.

Some 85 percent of Saudi residents have invested in property at some stage, but over half of respondents are considering putting their cash into international real estate, the survey, by market research firm YouGov on behalf of British property developer Select Property Group, reveals.

“Investor confidence is only further evidenced by the frequency in which investments are being made. The results found that almost a quarter (23 percent) of investors based in Saudi Arabia look to make a new investment at least every three months.

“Respondents were asked to consider their previous and potential future investments in bonds, stocks and real estate – both domestically and internationally – as well as mutual funds, bank products, gold and precious metals, cryptocurrency and fine art. Across every category, respondents demonstrated a desire to increase their level of investment in the coming years,” the report said.

 

Despite cryptocurrency being in its relative infancy as an asset, 5 percent of respondents based in Saudi Arabia declared they have already spent over $500,000 in the digital currency, though investment levels collectively still trail far behind more traditional asset classes, such as real estate.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has warned of the “risky and speculative” nature of crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, while welcoming blockchain as an innovative financial technology.

“The results show that investors in this region are highly motivated and it’s interesting to see the mix of key investment choices among the varying demographics. It’s promising to see that Saudi Arabia residents are also inclined to make regular investments, constantly keeping an eye on the market and looking to capitalize on the latest opportunities,” said Adam Price, managing director at Select Property Group.

Investors in Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounted for the highest proportion of the “very knowledgeable” category in the survey.

In the wider Gulf, most investors looking at overseas property were interested in residential real estate (44 percent) with 27 percent eyeing commercial property.

The UAE is the preferred market for 28 percent of GCC investors, with 16 percent interested in the US and 8 percent naming the UK as their preferred destination. Some 11 percent looked favorably on Turkish real estate.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Select Property Group survey found that 1 percent of GCC property investors said the UK was their preferred market. The correct figure is 8 percent. This has been amended in the above text.

FASTFACTS

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has warned investors of the “risky and speculative” nature of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.


Pay for Britain’s top bosses rises 23 percent

Updated 15 August 2018
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Pay for Britain’s top bosses rises 23 percent

  • Excessive corporate pay has attracted public anger since the financial crisis
  • The increase far exceeds the 2.5 percent increase in average salaries for British workers to £29,009

LONDON: Pay packages for the bosses of Britain’s 100 biggest listed firms rose 23 percent over the past year, fueled by payouts for the CEOs of house builder Persimmon and industrial firm Melrose Industries, a survey showed on Wednesday.
Excessive corporate pay has attracted public anger since the financial crisis and Prime Minister Theresa May has denounced the gap between the amounts paid to bosses and average workers as irrational and unhealthy.
The survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the High Pay Center thinktank showed the average income for chief executives of companies in the FTSE 100 share index was £5.7 million ($7.25 million) in their financial year ending in 2017, up 23 percent from the previous year.
The increase far exceeds the 2.5 percent increase in average (mean) salaries for British workers to £29,009, according to the Office for National Statistics.
A similar study a year ago showed bosses’ average pay had dropped by 17 percent over the previous year.
CIPD said the strong performance of the stock market in the years to 2017 was probably a factor in this year’s increase but that this should prompt questions about the contribution of individual bosses to share performance as opposed to other factors such as economic context or the wider workforce.
The CIPD report said the mean figure was skewed by very large payouts to the bosses of house builder Persimmon and Melrose Industries.
Excluding these two chief executives would bring the mean single figure down from £5.7 million to £4.8 million, still representing a 6 percent increase from the previous year.
The highest paid CEO in the financial year ending 2017 was Persimmon’s Jeff Fairburn, who received £47.1 million, more than 20 times his pay in 2016, largely due to a long-term incentive plan dating back to 2012.
That plan gave share options to managers of Britain’s second-biggest house builder which they could sell once the company had returned a set level of cash and dividends to investors.
In February 2018 it scaled back these rewards amid criticism that a government scheme had bolstered house builders.
Simon Peckham, chief executive of Melrose Industries, an industrial turnaround specialist that clinched an £8 billion hostile takeover of British engineer GKN in March, was paid £42.8 million in the financial year ending in 2017, mainly due to a 2012 incentive plan.
A Melrose spokesman highlighted the impact of the long-term incentive plan, adding: “The salary and bonus of the CEO was £974,000 last year which puts him squarely in line with the average pay ratio for employees as evidenced in the report.”
A spokeswoman for Persimmon was not immediately available to comment.