29 July 2017

CEO Fahad AlOmran speaks to Zoya Malik of Sibson Media about Narmo Capital’s unique positioning in offering multi family office services to its sponsors and clients, driven by transparency and underpinned by its family legacy-knowledgebase.

Narmo Capital was established in 2014 as an institutional professionally managed multi-family office advisory with the mandate to transform the holdings of the Al Omran family and other like-minded families and investors, into a progressive portfolio of professionally managed investments. With some of the most experienced and brightest minds from the investment banking and alternative asset management industry on board, Narmo has created an inclusive and transparent methodology to share this legacy knowledge-base for the benefit of other family offices and high-net-worth individuals. This transition to a multi-family office advisory firm has allowed Narmo to offer next-level strategies, currently being deployed for the sponsors, to all their clients.

With the sponsors committed to co-investing in funds and assets, Narmo has developed a fully aligned and collaborative investment management platform. Costs are dramatically reduced by limiting the need for third-party brokers/advisors and market intelligence, enhanced by pooling the cooperative experience of the Board, management team and the clients that they are servicing. Essentially, Narmo has become a “one-stop-shop” for disparate family groups and individuals to enhance their wealth management and wealth preservation opportunities, predicated on a common cultural and investment philosophy.

Founded by Fahad Al Omran (Partner & CEO) and Werner Braunock (Partner & Chief Investment Officer) both of whom have been managing the Al Omran family’s assets for many years, the firm was established to bring efficiencies and economies of scale to the asset and wealth management requirements of other family offices and high net worth individuals. This is a powerful USP for Narmo Capital; that the firm is rooted in the same origins, socially and culturally, as its clients. Therefore, transparency and good corporate governance are the principles on which Narmo was established. That and being agnostic to geographical or asset class boundaries. Mandates can cover a variety of markets, commodities, equities, bonds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) etc. and encompass varied client requirements from cash preservation to low volatility or high-yielding investments with higher expected returns.

In order to cater for this variety through its affiliated Jersey-based fund-manager, Narmo has established a pipeline of “internal” funds which are incubated by the sponsors and then rolled out, with confidence, to the client base. Currently, three of these are being promoted:

• Narmo Active Smart Beta – This fund follows beta trends on a global scale in bonds, equities, real estate and alternatives via investments in ETFs.
• Narmo Alpha Opportunity – An alpha fund which addresses managed risk, mergers and acquisitions and risk arbitrage.
• Narmo Omega Ventures – Concentrates on deploying direct investments, similar to a private equity fund with a three to five year lock-up, into real estate, private equity, venture capital and direct co-investments.

All three are domiciled in Jersey, a European offshore jurisdiction, sheltered from a tax perspective, and protected by the strong relationship that Narmo has established through the years with the Jersey Financial Regulator and fund administration specialists. Apart from the cultural affinity and shared experiences between the sponsors of Narmo Capital and their clients, there are several powerful differentiators which distinguish the firm from other players in the market:

• The sponsors have “skin in the game.” Whilst brokers and third-party managers are in it for the commissions, Narmo’s sponsors have kicked the tyres of every fund that is on offer and invested in each one of their products. Essentially, the interests of the client and the manager are aligned.
• Fees are typically pegged at below 1% running at cost and, unlike many asset managers, there are no second or third level fees based on the selected investments
• Narmo is focussed on optimising returns and actively managing the risk/reward matrix instead of maximising their own fees. This extends to negotiating special terms for private funds, lower placement, management and performance fees with other funds and reporting all events back to the investors in an open and transparent fashion.
• The Board affiliated with some of the operations are well-versed in credit risk management and individual members are highly experienced in private equity, venture capitalism and management of investments in a variety of asset classes. In total, that is over 70 years of experience for the management team and countless more for the Board.
• Customized strategies is the name of the game for Narmo’s client base; the ability of the firm to create bespoke solutions based on need and forged from common experience rather than the application of standardized products.

The most compelling aspect of Narmo’s development and one which is beginning to attract positive interest from institutional investors is based on a very simple principle; Narmo is already performing the work for the multi-families and, as a result, have the specialists, the capacity and the products to operate independently. Therefore, investors are not being sold a service but rather being invited to join in the success of the venture at significantly lower costs. That is an irresistible proposition. To its clients, Narmo views itself rather as an inspiration and partner than an advisor, which has been perceived well by its clients.

Zoya Malik is Founder and Managing Editor, Sibson Media, Dubai providing editorial content management services across EMENA.

30 April 2017

Despite the region's economic challenges, Narmo Capital's founding partner and CEO says family businesses have good growth prospects for the future as they make the transition from the older to the younger generations.