Mon, Feb 15, 2016

Business, Banking & Finance
Experts seek to tackle oil threat to GCC

The impact of the sustained fall in oil prices on businesses in the Gulf and beyond will be discussed by financial experts and bankers next week at a major conference in Bahrain.

The GCC Financial Forum comes at a crucial time with global economy challenged due to the sustained fall in oil prices, according to the Euromoney, the event’s organiser.

Now in its fifth edition, the forum will be held on February 23 and 24 at the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay in Manama and is expected to attract than 500 financial experts, economists, investors, bankers and policy makers,

A major highlight of this year’s forum will be an interactive town hall-style session with Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), where the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions directly to the Governor.   

In addition, the forum will feature a keynote interview with Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the Economic Development Board (EDB), who will discuss a number of topics related to economic growth and the financial services sector. The EDB supports events such as Euromoney, which offer platforms from which discussion around key issues related to the economy can be held, particularly related to economic diversification and the creation of jobs.   

This year the forum will include a keynote address by Gazi Ercel, former Governor of the Central Bank of Turkey (1996-2001) and Chief Executive of Ercel Global. He will showcase the fundamental changes which have occurred in the banking sector, his predictions on trends in the financial services industry in the next 10 years and the global outlook for developed and emerging market economies. 

The forum will also feature panel discussions examining the global and regional macro outlook, implications of lower oil price for financial services industry in GCC, sovereign deficits, challenges, opportunities, strategic choices, market segmentation, regulation and more.

The panellists include financial experts such as Jahangir Aka (Neuberger Berman), Wael Ziada (EFG Hermes), Mohammed Al Shammasi (Derayah Financial), Alissa Amico (Economic and Corporate Governance Centre), Osama Al Khajah (Ebtikar Association), Areije Al-Shaker (BDB), Tuba Terekli (Qotuf), Luay Ahmadi (Emirates NBD Private Banking), Alex Hayward (Vestra Wealth), Michael Mansour (Microsoft Gulf), Andrew Sims (NEC Payments) and Ijlal Ahmed Alvi (International Islamic Financial Market). 

The sessions will be moderated by EDB’s Chief Economist Jarmo Kotilaine, Richard Banks, Victoria Behn and Giada Vercelli from Euromoney Conferences.

On the second day, the keynote address will be presented by Mahmood Al Kooheji, CEO of Mumtalakat, which will be followed by three panel sessions. Discussions will focus on innovation and entrepreneurship in digital world, strategic opportunities in financial services, with regards to wealth management, platforms for competitiveness and Bahrain’s energy industry strategy. 

Richard Banks, Consultant Editor at Euromoney Conferences, says: “This year’s GCC Financial Forum comes at a crucial time as the world adopts a new development agenda with uncertainty in the global economy due to the sustained fall in oil prices. At such a time, we at Euromoney are pleased to provide a platform for our participants where financial experts, analysts, regulators can all under one roof discuss, debate and find short term and long term strategies to cope with the current market. We are confident that the town hall session, in particular and the different panel discussions in general will be interesting, providing positive insights so that organisations can reappraise their business strategies.” 

Sponsors for this year’s event include Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) and  National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) as lead sponsors, Bahrain Development Bank Group and Mumtalakat as co-sponsors, Baker & McKenzie as exhibitor and Bahrain Islamic Bank (BiSB), BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered and Tamkeen as supporting organisations.

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