Blockchain and the Middle East

Dubai and Saudi Arabia are at the forefront of bitcoin technology in the Middle East, according to a report by Accenture entitled: "How the Middle East can unleash blockchain's transformative potential". Financial services companies in areas such as payment, supply chain financing and trade, reporting, compliance and operations could gain the most ...
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AML legislation to hit Kiwi SME businesses from next month

I sent this press release out today.

29 June, New Zealand.

Anti money-laundering legislation to hit Kiwi SME businesses from next month

The number of Kiwi businesses that need to comply with AML / CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and combating the Financing of Terrorism) legislation will quadruple overnight.

From July 1, legislative requirements will be imposed on the legal, real estate, sports betting, and high-value goods industries (jewellery, precious metals, precious stones, watches, motor vehicles, boats, art or antiques where they take cash payments of $15,000 or more).

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Vallum aims for international expansion

It's been a week since I wrote something for this blog. I've been shifting house and all that entails- what a performance. I've also managed to put out one press release, on a new data company in New Zealand that focuses on insurance. The release is attached with a few bits added, such as the exciting times had by the executives in Las Vegas.

Press Release

 Vallum on road to international expansion

 26 March 2018, New Zealand New Zealand InsurTech start-up, Vallum, was one of 25 international early-stage businesses chosen to pitch at the Global InsurTech Roadshow, which was held in Frankfurt, Germany earlier this month.

 The prestigious Goethe Business School organised the event in cooperation with InsurTech Asia.

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China Outlet Mall Fund raises USD 550 million

Florentia Mall, China


November 21, 2017, Hong Kong - Real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners acted as co-capital sponsor in the successful first close of US$550 million for the ERES APAC II – China Outlet Mall Fund.

This fund is backed by Allianz, Gaw Capital Partners, and TIAA General Account, a Frankfurt-based German asset management company, among others.  Allianz is the largest investor with a 30% stake in the platform, TH Real Estate is the fund manager, RDM is the asset manager while Gaw Capital acted as co-capital sponsor and advisor, as well as a substantial investor (through its Gateway Real Estate Fund V), to the fund.

 ERES APAC II is seeded by two leading designer malls, Florentia Village Jingjin in the city of Wuqing (located near Beijing and Tianjin) and Florentia Village Shanghai.  The developer and seller of the two seed assets is a joint venture between Gaw Capital’s Gateway Real Estate Fund III, RDM, Waitex Group, and another institutional investor. RDM is part of Fingen Group of Italy and has built up a strong track record in operating premium outlet malls in Europe. In 2012, Gaw Capital invested in this venture which developed the six Florentia Village outlets in Jingjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Hong Kong.

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Journalism and business go hand in hand

My eye was quickly drawn to this headline: “Why we need to teach more business skills in the J-school classroom.” Journalism and business

in the same sentence and this was being endorsed.

I had studied a different discipline from everyone else in my year at post-graduate journalism school at the University of Canterbury in New

Zealand. I had completed a post graduate degree in economics, worked at Treasury for three years and then studied at journalism school

for one year. Although I had an Arts degree everyone else had studied all the Arts subjects- languages, anthropology for example-and

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Insurtech- the latest.

Insurance Technology, known as Insurtech, is a subset of financial technology (fintech) and is increasing, according to InsurTech Insider, a podcast by Deloitte (UK), the management consultant.

I listened to the first three episodes of the podcast, July August, September, which is produced monthly. I learnt a lot from the episodes I listened to. Go to

The points I learned from the podcasts were:

(Episode 1)          

-       That it’s possible to buy car insurance by the hour, which means you can borrow a friend’s supercar.

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Saudi Aramco's IPO

Saudi Arabia is attempting to diversify its economy so that it becomes less reliant on oil. Part of the plan includes an initial public offering (IPO) of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, valued at between about USD 8 billion and USD 10 billion.  It’s hoping to get more than that when the oil company goes public, reportedly about USD 2 trillion. But will this be achieved?

It appears that Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Aramco in particular, is scaling back its plans for diversification. It seems that it may not happen to the extent originally intended by 2020.

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Damac and CEO, Hussein Sajwani

I was amused to read this article in the the UK’s Daily Mail today. Billionaire? When I interviewed Hussein Sajwani a few years ago, he was still CEO of Damac, the Middle East’s largest private developer, but certainly not a billionaire. I also understand that at that time, the property developer had had some financial problems, and the Dubai Government helped out. Damac has always been a property developer that was too big to fail. Imagine what damage could be done to Dubai’s reputation.

When I was back in Dubai recently, Damac was advertising Trump villas, as well as his golf course. Clearly, local investors are not investing as Damac would have hoped so it is now looking further afield for investors.

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Private equity in the spotlight

I've been asked a lot recently whether I've covered private equity. The answer is a definitive "yes". For the six months ending February 2016 I was Asia/Pacific correspondent for Private Equity International, a London-based publication. Here's the link with a couple of articles as well. There's a paywall so it might be difficult to access all the material.

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