Saudi Arabia's successful 'Future Investment Initiative' ('Davos in the desert') last month and the much-anticipated listing of Aramco have reminded us of the potential of the Gulf region for investors.
The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) encompasses most of the Gulf and comprises Saudi, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain, with Saudi having by far the largest economy and population.
It pays to remember what incremental steps have been taken in recent years to improve these markets from an investor's perspective.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been reclassified as emerging markets (from frontier markets status) by index providers MSCI and, in Saudi's case, FTSE Russell.
Qatar and the UAE had already been recently promoted, as the index providers came to regard these markets as more accessible, more liquid and with improved governance.
International investors have not been sitting on their hands. Registrations for Qualified Foreign Investor Status in Saudi have shot up over 200% year to date.
Many are attracted to the promise offered by the nation's improving fiscal, labour, social, and market reforms, which are starting to bear fruit.
Female participation in the workforce across the region is up, the introduction of VAT this year has reduced government dependence on oil-related tax revenues and generous measures which have been put in place to support the welfare of working and middle-class families are in motion.
However, amid these positive regional developments, investors must remember that any holdings in the region remain exposed to significant geopolitical tensions.
While the September drone attacks on the Aramco processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia had a negligible impact on overall oil production, concern over possible escalation in the Gulf given the ever-evolving Syrian conflict or Iran's construction of a new nuclear reactor cannot be disregarded.
Similarly, volatility associated with fluctuating oil prices remain a feature of the region requiring careful management.
That being said, all the oil and gas producing members of the GCC have diversification away from oil high on their agendas, as well as the many billions of dollars oil revenues needed to support, subsidise, and establish fossil-fuel-free ventures and infrastructure.
Nick Wilson is the chairman of the Gulf Investment fund
• Gulf markets' low correlation to global stock markets
• Index upgrades and the Aramco listing raising the investment profile of the region
• Oil price volatility still impacts the region
• Geopolitical tensions could flare up