Northern Gulf Partners has a number of advantages that should ensure its involvement in a growing range of Iraqi investments. Its credibility is enhanced by a combination of Wall Street-standards of execution and a deep local knowledge drawn from its main partners previous experience and extensive relationships in Iraq and other global financial centres.
The focus on Iraq is one that appears well-placed, given the countrys large and relatively untapped resources. In addition, its large consumer base whose needs have not been met in any significant way, but whose incomes are rising steadily provides a unique demographic advantage to putative investors. Other Arab countries struggle to match this appeal; those with large oil wealth, such as the Gulf states, have smaller populations whose needs have mostly been met.
Northern Gulf Partners decision to focus on Iraqs non-Kurdish areas confirms its bold risk appetite. Although the northern region offers greater stability and a large business community, the ease of access to that market enjoyed by foreign investors suggest the returns will not be as substantial as those elsewhere in the country.
Competition will doubtless increase; some new investment advisories are already setting up their own Iraq-focused investment firms. Other significant challenges are those traditionally associated with frontier markets, such as shifting legislation or inconsistent enforcement of regulations. Bureaucracy is another impediment, while the deteriorating security situation in 2013 will certainly hit investor appetite. The increased violence also adds a further layer of cost to doing business in Iraq.
Northern Gulf Partners has, through its extensive global contacts, managed to bring in investors from across the region, North America and Europe. As yet, it has only had minimal involvement with Asian investors, but expects this to grow in the future. With a depth of investment experience and a track record working with Iraqs leading industrialists and business families, the company looks set to play a continued role in developing Iraqs investment sector.