Corporate governance, market discipline, transparency - key to development of regional financial services



Banking in the region is not achieving its real potential due to low level of corporate governance, said Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Director General of Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, in a keynote speech delivered at the Annual Arab Banking Conference 2005 “Banking in a Risky World” in Lebanon.
The conference, which was held in association with the DIFC was inaugurated by His Excellency Mr. Fuad Siniora, the Lebanese Prime Minister. The event witnessed a high level gathering of ministers, central bank governors and a number of very senior banking professionals. Those attending the conference included, His Excellency Dr Mohamed Khalfan bin Kharbash, UAE Minister of State for Finance and Industry along with numerous other dignitaries.
Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, speaking about “Changing Risks into Opportunities”, commented:
“The latest oil boom along with capital flow into the region post 9/11 has increased liquidity. Regional banks have to take an aggressive role in channelling the money into the region and funding investments However, in order to succeed in this, it is critical to build investor confidence. Greater emphasis is needed on corporate governance, market discipline, transparency and disclosure.
“Increase transparency through development of reporting tools and investors’ awareness; develop sound IT infrastructure to facilitate globalisation of regional banks; attract required skilled labour; and establish proper anti-money laundering regulations in order to compete and integrate with global banks.”
The conference included a mix of speeches and panel discussions. Mr Nasser Al Shaali, Chief Operating Officer of Dubai International Financial Exchange presented a paper at a panel discussion moderated by His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Khalfan Bin Kharbash and titled “The Risks of Investment and Financing in the Arab World” .
The paper presented by Mr Al Shaali, “Education and awareness for traders and investors in the new financial environment” sought to raise issues, challenges and solutions in the development of the financial sector in the region.
Mr Nasser Al Shaali said:
“Awareness and knowledge of the investment and financial options available in the region is lacking along with trust in the capabilities of money managers. Enhancing investor awareness and trust will increase demand for customised financial products and services. This will ultimately lead to the development of the entire financial sector in the region.”

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