Financial centers will shape the political agenda in globalized world, says Al Shaali

DIFC CEO: Good clean business practices will drive economic stability across emerging and developed markets

Financial centres can succeed where politics has failed, with economics driving the agenda in an increasingly globalised world according to Nasser Al Shaali, CEO of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Al Shaali said: “Emerging market players are going on shopping sprees in developed markets, and country borders are proving to be no barriers to structuring deals. The tides are changing and investment flows are determining the political agenda.”

He pointed to China as an example, saying: “The unifying forces of fluid but well-regulated cross-border financial transactions are the most effective way to level out the global playing field, whether in terms of alleviating poverty or eradicating corruption.”

The changing face of financial centres and emerging markets will be debated during DIFCweek, a week of headline conferences, lectures and seminars to be held at The Gate district in DIFC, November 17 – 23.

“Financial services are focused on results, which ultimately serve the public’s interest better. The business sector focuses on similarities and common interests - not differences - between all parties.

“This is where DIFC continues to achieve success: this focus on business enables us to embrace diversity while maintaining stability through the supply and demand chain.”

Lack of transparency , even in the world’s most sophisticated financial markets, remains a persistent concern affecting economic and social wellbeing across borders, said Al Shaali.

He said: "The subprime mortgage crisis, as witnessed in the United States at present, has left the world's leading economies open to a level of instability that could be prevented by effective application of the principles of financial soundness.

"DIFC's strategic plan includes building global financial infrastructure that promotes best-in-class practices. We will achieve this via our strong legal system, an efficient and robust regulatory environment and promotion of corporate governance, shariah and conventional ethical systems."

Ethics in finance will form the principal themes of two conferences during DIFCweek - Islamic and Ethical Finance, held in association with The Wall Street Journal, and Hawkamah Conference on Corporate Governance.

The timetable of events is as follows:

Saturday November 17:

  • DIFC Economic Forum on emerging markets, developed with the support of Economist Intelligence Unit.
  • DIFC Lecture presented by Steven Levitt, the bestselling author of Freakonomics.

Sunday November 18:

  • Islamic and Ethical Finance, in association with The Wall Street Journal
  • DIFC Boutique Event on Contemporary Art Investment, presented by Michael Moses, co-creator of the Mei Moses Index, the industry benchmark for measuring art as an asset.

Monday November 19:

  • The FT/DIFC World Financial Centres Summit (day 1)
  • DIFC Boutique Event on Carbon Trading, presented by Rod Beckstrom, a board member of Environmental Defense.

Tuesday November 20:

  • The FT/DIFC World Financial Centres Summit (day 2)
  • The Gate Lecture presented by Jeffrey Sachs, economic advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Wednesday November 21:

  • Hawkamah Conference on corporate governance
  • DIFC Boutique Event on Human Capital, presented by Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice at London Business School.

Thursday November 22:

  • Middle East Capital Markets Forum, in association with Institutional Investor.

DIFC week, the first event of its kind in the world, will focus on Financial Opportunities for the Third Millennium. The week of conferences will address every principal topic in the international financial arena.

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