M7 Real Estate (M7), the pan-European investor and asset manager which is owned by Oxford Properties, has opened its first office in the Middle East to capitalize on the continued strong demand for high-quality European real estate from investors in the region.
The opening of the new office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a leading global financial center in the Middle East and Africa, follows M7’s receipt of financial services authorization from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) last month. M7 has also appointed Mr. Zaid Al Rawi, Managing Director for M7 Middle East & North Africa (MENA), to head up the office.
By extending its reach through a permanent office in the region, M7’s immediate focus will be on growing its capital-raising function and expanding existing investor relationships across the MENA region. M7 already manages around $1.1 billion European real estate on behalf of Middle Eastern investors, representing approximately 20 percent of the firm’s assets under management.
“Since founding M7 in 2009 we have always placed great importance on having a local presence and Dubai, as a world-leading financial center and a primary gateway to accessing Middle Eastern capital, has always been a target market for us. While we already have a strong track record of investing in Europe on behalf of select Middle Eastern clients, the opening of our UAE office and the granting of our DFSA license will allow us to both access new types of investors to grow our investor base and better service our existing clients. The Dubai office also sees us make another significant step forward in M7’s own ambitions, supported by our colleagues at Oxford Properties, to create a market-leading international investment and asset management platform.”
The new office, coupled with the DFSA license, also provides M7 with a platform to extend its capital raising to a broader universe of Middle Eastern investors that are actively seeking investments in the UK and European real estate.
Including the UAE, M7 now has offices in 15 countries and territories and this latest market entry is in line with its ambitions to continue expanding globally following its acquisition by Oxford Properties last year. The acquisition provided M7 with the support and resources of a significant global real estate investor with similar ambitions to grow both geographically and in terms of M7’s third-party capital under management. At the same time, M7’s platform presented Oxford Properties with a platform through which to source opportunities to deploy capital for its investment partners.
Mr. Al Rawi, commented that “The current market environment is propelling investors in the Middle East to focus on higher quality investments and those with more visible cash flows. Strategies or asset classes that have performed in recent times may not necessarily continue to do so. Hence, innovation and discipline will be paramount in preserving and growing capital. In that context, it is even more important than usual that we remain close to our clients and reflect the unique requirements of investors in the region.”
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