The 4th Euromoney GCC Financial Forum, co-hosted by Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) kicked off today on a high note at Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa, Kingdom of Bahrain, with an interactive format to encourage delegate participation. The inaugural speeches were delivered by Dr. Jarmo Kotilaine, Chief Economist, EDB and Richard Banks, Euromoney Director of Emerging Markets.
More than 500 leading international and regional financial experts from finance, investment, government, regulatory organisations, businesses and members of the media from 22 countries attended the event to discuss oil price, regulatory issues and corporate governance.
Governor of Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), Rasheed Mohammed Al-Maraj, participated in an open Town Hall session where questions were posed by the audience and live on Twitter. He addressed the issues of bonus regulation for senior bankers, the policy of the CBB towards systemic risk and the impact of digitisation on banking.
Chief Economist of Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Dr. Jarmo Kotilaine, commented in his keynote address: "The long term reforms that Bahrain has put in place over the preceding decades have put the Kingdom in a strong place to address the challenges that the region faces today.
"This is because of the growing strength of the non-oil sector growth drivers which include: Robust population growth; the changing makeup of the economy; the greater integration of the GCC in global trade and tourism flows; and, the development of the regional financial services sector."
James Rickards, leading Chief Global Strategist, West Shore Funds and acclaimed author, commented: "I have been visiting the Gulf region for over 35 years and the Euromoney GCC conference is the largest, most diverse group of financial experts I have yet encountered. It is the right mix of central bankers, development officials, investment bankers, portfolio managers and business professionals. The best conferences are the ones that don’t just include speeches but also make news. This conference is truly newsworthy with provocative comments about rethinking the role of the GCC peg to the dollar and the volatile price of oil. I’m honoured to be part of such a high profile group."
Keynote interviewees on Day 1 also included CEO of NBB, Abdul Razak Al-Qassim; CEO of BBK, Abdulkarim Bucheery, and GFH Chairman, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mutawa. There we also three further Panel sessions on the Macro-Mini Regional Picture, Private Capital and Public Projects, and Regional Finance in the Global Marketplace.
This year the forum was supported by the National Bank of Bahrain (NBB), Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) and The Oil and Gas Holding Company (nogaholding), Gulf Finance House, as Islamic Banking Partner, Mumtalakat, Bahrain Bourse and Bahrain Development Bank as co-sponsors, Tamkeen as the strategic Partner; Baker & McKenzie and CITI as exhibitors; BNP Paribas and Sico Investment Bank and Standard Chartered as supporting organisations.
The media partners include: Arab Banking and Finance.com, Bahrain Association of Banks, Daily News Egypt, Gulf States News (GSN), Sovereign Wealth Centre and The Gulf magazine.