Dubai is on center stage once again as 250 prestigious family offices, private investors, Sheikhs, Royal Families and leading businesses from 30+ countries gathered for the 13th Global Family Office Investment Summit hosted by Sir Anthony Ritossa under the High Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Saqer Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, a member of the Ruling Family of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah from the United Arab Emirates who has dedicated $70 million to fund new start-ups.
CEO & Advisor to Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum International Investments Enterprise Mohamed Al Ali served as Distinguished Grand Ambassador for the event, which focused on the theme “Family Offices Uniting Together to Build a Better World.“
Representing more than $4 trillion in wealth, the family office delegation discussed and debated timely topics of interest to the world’s leading families during this challenging year, including how family offices should invest for a brighter future; how to grow and preserve wealth; social responsibility; education; healthcare; emerging technologies; family legacy and philanthropy.
“It is an honour to host such an esteemed group of investors in Dubai and to act as a bridge between Middle East families and their counterparts in Europe, the United States, Asia, Africa and Latin America. It was wonderful to gather one-again in person to continue our journey of discovery between like-minded peers in a safe-harbour environment. As at our past events, the Summit featured notable world experts addressing actionable investment strategies and ways to set the foundation for a lifelong family legacy,” said Anthony Ritossa, Chairman of Ritossa Family Office, a family business dating back 600 years to the Venetian Empire in Europe.
Hussein Sayed, CNBC Arabia Anchor & Chief Market Strategist at FXTM, UAE, began the Summit by noting that there are many questions regarding sectors poised to benefit from the coronavirus vaccine. Investor concerns focus on how much money to keep in cash, how best to rebalance portfolios, and what changes are likely now that the light is at the end of the tunnel. This year has been a challenge to embrace – in addition to a crisis – that has forced us to adapt and emerge stronger than ever. The UAE, for example, has plans for the next 50 years that are based on new strategies and solid research on how best to move forward.
Summit discussion topics included:
The Bright Future of the UAE
International businesses are increasingly interested in the UAE due to numerous benefits including quality education, infrastructure, technology, healthcare, taxation and government support of SMEs. Dubai’s Smart City 2021 initiative is transforming the city, revolutionising the way government services are delivered, promoting private sector partnerships, increasing happiness, and attracting more interest in the region. Expo Dubai 2021 is another exciting milestone for the UAE that will draw worldwide acclaim as well as boost domestic travel which already expanded during COVID. With 180 nationalities in the UAE, its position as a global melting pot is admirable.
Broad Reaching Implications of Mind + Machine
Companies continue to use machine learning and artificial intelligence at unprecedented levels across the spectrum. According to the experts, it is not mind vs. machine, it is mind and machine. Although people may expect quick results from AI and ML, one cannot apply it generically and it is essential to expand technology to more applications. For example, plant architecture and the green revolution is producing food and gene editing plants may compensate for drought conditions. AI and ML also have broad reaching implications in areas such as online learning, healthcare, construction, sports, media and entertainment.
Better Data for a Better World
Data is all around us and everything generates data, often on a large and extreme scale. Indeed, data is one of our most valuable commodities in the 21st Century’s digital economy and better data leads to a better world. Investors should support bitcoin as a way to solve problems and meet tomorrow’s challenges. Data keeps the world honest, transparent and accountable since records of dates and times are auditable and difficult to change. Bitcoin represents a fusion of data and money – a vision of connecting, re-inventing, and reducing the role of intermediaries. It’s one system for making smarter, healthier communities around the world. While some tend to put blockchain in a box, it is a fact that blockchain allows us to redefine the box.
Healthcare + Blockchain Present New Possibilities
Sharing and optimizing data to power healthcare solutions is of vital importance post-pandemic as new businesses continue to emerge and meet the needs of global citizens. A blockchain powered COVID management system, for example, provides aid and support via technology in support of frontline workers who cannot do everything on their own. Another blockchain company is helping to solve the opioid crisis by tracking prescription drugs. Traditionally, data science has been underutilized in healthcare.
Future of Education
Online learning is skyrocketing in popularity and while some wonder if traditional universities may eventually become obsolete others yearn for a return to normalcy when physical classes are 100% back in business. Regardless, it is clear that technology plays an ever-important role in bringing about positive disruption to the educational sector. Good teachers and role models have the capability to change lives and when individuals are blessed with those who believe in them and support them the result is a healthier community overall. Education also comes into play when family businesses seek to last over multiple generations as family members must understand the family’s goals and seek guidance while continuing to evolve and prosper.
There are many companies based in the United States, Israel and elsewhere that seek strategic ventures in the UAE in areas such as ESG and disruptive sustainable technology. While it is a fact that many deals are spearheaded by families who already know each other, most are open and willing to consider new partnerships with those who are like-minded. Some families have limited domain expertise and therefore prefer to outsource and/or seek co-investments when investing outside their comfort zone in order to diversify. Distressed companies, Cleantech, FinTech, Biotech, healthcare, renewable energy and electric vehicles are some of the areas of paramount importance.
“The 13th Global Family Office Summit event was a significant opportunity for us to host new friends and old friends in Dubai. By bringing together leading global families and private investors at our Summits we continue to change the course of history,” said Mohamed Al Ali, CEO & Advisor, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum International Investments Enterprise, UAE.