Lunate’s $105 billion in assets make it an overnight MENA powerhouse

The fund falls under Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed’s vast holdings through IHC and counts ADQ, which he chairs, as a client

Nearly six months after its New Year’s Day launch, Abu Dhabi-based Lunate has emerged as a major player in the MENA investment landscape.

Starting as a $50 billion alternative investment manager with a pedigree from the upper reaches of the Royal Court, the firm has more than doubled its assets under management and now deploys $105 billion in capital.

Most recently, Lunate announced the launch of the Chimera S&P Japan UCITS ETF, an exchange-traded fund to track Japan’s top 30 equities, listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange as of May 29.

The origins of the fund trace back to two of Abu Dhabi’s most active holding companies, sovereign wealth fund ADQ and the emirate’s largest publicly traded conglomerate International Holding Co. It was in March 2023 that IHC announced plans to establish a multi-asset class investment manager and bring on U.S. private equity firm General Atlantic as a strategic partner and investor.

“Lunate was launched as a combination of ADQ’s, ADG’s and Chimera’s capabilities around alternative investments in both public markets and private markets,” Diego López, Managing Director of Global SWF, told The Circuit.

Lunate’s holdings cover early-stage venture capital investments to growth and scale-up equity, through to mature and established businesses. The firm is a subsidiary of Chimera, which is owned by The Royal Group, IHC’s largest shareholder.

Both ADQ and IHC are chaired by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, the UAE’s National Security Adviser and the brother of UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. Lunate declined to comment for this story. 

Since launching, Lunate has integrated ADQ’s alternatives portfolio, valued at $34 billion, along with the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund (ADG) and Chimera Capital. It charges fees and pays dividends to ADQ, with 70% of these dividends reinvested back into Lunate, according to Global SWF, although the size of ADQ’s stake is unclear.

Lunate has a conventional if vast mandate: to generate risk-adjusted returns through multi-asset class investments in both private and public markets to institutional investors, pension funds, family offices and other investment firms. The firm invests globally through a combination of limited partner commitments, co-investments and direct investments across private equity, venture capital, private credit, real assets, public equities and public credit.

Its venture capital portfolio includes Indian startups like fintech firms epifi and Zeta and fantasy sports platform Dream 11 as well as stakes in U.S. learning platform Coursera and Dubai proptech firm Huspy, among others.

Lunate is licensed by the ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority and occupies a new office tower on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi. With a headcount of 150, its managing partners are former C-suite from Lunate stakeholders: Khalifa Al Suwaidi is the former CEO of the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund; Murtaza Hussain is the former CIO of ADQ – and prior to that was a managing director at the collapsed private equity fund Abraaj – as well as Seif Fikry, the former CEO of Chimera Capital.

ADQ’s ESG initiatives are managed by Altérra, a subsidiary of Lunate. Altérra launched a $30 billion climate fund during COP28 in December 2023, with backing from BlackRock, Brookfield and TPG. ADQ contributed 22% of Altérra’s holdings when it launched.

Earlier this month, Altérra made its first fund announcement, tying up with New York-listed Brookfield Asset Management to invest in clean energy projects in emerging markets. Altérra plans to invest $1 billion in the Catalytic Transition Fund, which will be managed by Brookfield and is expected by the end of the year.

“Different initiatives make sense in different countries and different contexts,” Lopez said. “The ‘Abu Dhabi approach’ has always been about having different vehicles for different mandates.” 

Join with a free membership to continue reading

The Circuit is geared for doers and deal makers — from the region and around the globe. We strive to be your eyes and ears on the latest trends, initiatives and emerging voices coming out of the MENA.

Sign up here to get full access to the latest news, profiles and more.