Kuwait, 28/01/2013: Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ICBC (Asia) Investment Management Company Limited which took place today in Kuwait. The MOU signals the interest both companies share as they partner to strengthen their respective asset management capabilities and investment product offerings. Both companies seek to benefit their investors through the manifold and growing opportunities prevailing between Asia and the Middle East.

Representing GIC were Dr. Russell Read, Chief Investment Officer, Mr. Malek Al-Ajeel the Head of Business Development and Strategy and Mr. Raffaele Bertoni, Head of Debt Capital Markets. They were joined at the signing ceremony by Mr. Jack Chang, CEO and CIO of ICBC (Asia) Investment Management Company Limited. Other ICBC representatives include Ms. Judyanna Wu, Head of Fixed Income Team of ICBC (Asia) Investment Management Company Limited and Mr. Leung Chung, Head of Private Banking Department of ICBC (Asia) Limited.

This partnership between GIC, the only pan-GCC investment company, and ICBC (Asia) Investment Management, part of one of the world’s largest financial institutions, will include a framework for product distribution and potentially provides GIC access to an estimated 1.5 million high net worth Chinese individuals as well as government and quasi-government investment entities. In addition, this partnership will provide GCC-based investors access to a wide range of compelling opportunities in China and the rest of Asia.

Both GIC and ICBC (Asia) Investment Management will lend their respective regional credit and equity expertise to the co-management of a new Asia-Middle East fund which both parties plan to launch in the near future. The similarities between the Chinese and GCC economies are clear: USD-pegged or quasi-pegged currencies, export and trade driven economies with significant local investment and capital expenditure from government-related-entities generating strong GDP growth. Add together the obvious synergies arising from a significant increase in Middle East debt issuance and Chinese wealth creation during the next decade, the memorandum of understanding will provide both companies a solid foundation for future success as they seek to significantly expand their asset management businesses.

Commenting on signing the landmark agreement, Dr Russell Read, said: ‘GIC could not be more enthusiastic about launching this partnership with ICBC. Much like the historic benefits of the original Silk Road, this partnership seeks to provide material benefits to our investors from burgeoning trade and related business between Asia and the Middle East.’

Mr. Jack P Chang also emphasized the strong interest his company has in the GCC market: ‘ICBC views this framework as an effective way to diversify our investments and provide alternative and attractive risk-adjusted returns to our clients. We also envisage strong demand from GCC investors attracted to the ever growing array of Chinese and Asia based investments through this close cooperation with GIC.’

Established in 1983, GIC is a regional financial institution owned entirely and equally by the six GCC states. GIC strives to provide a comprehensive range of financial and asset management services that support the development of private enterprise and economic growth in the Gulf region. GIC has helped develop and has invested substantially in a number of major projects throughout the GCC in diverse activities covering different sectors such as finance, petrochemicals, steel, power and communication among others. GIC continues to successfully maintain its distinguished presence as a powerful financial investment and asset management company generating consistent returns with a strong capital base.

ICBC (Asia) Investment Management Company is part of the ICBC Group. ICBC Group is the largest bank in the People’s Republic of China and the largest bank in the world by market capitalization. It has the largest depositor base in China as well as the largest number of corporate and high net worth clients. ICBC Group has also expanded rapidly during the last several years and now has one of the largest international networks among all the Chinese banks. ICBC Group is also the leader in establishing strategic and business cooperation with the various overseas government and institutional organizations.