Paris EUROPLACE International Financial Forum 2010 / DIFC – Dubai



«The Dubai-Paris Partnership: Facing a Multi-polar World » Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Paris EUROPLACE, the association representing the global finance, investment and related business community of Paris, France and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the UAE-based financial and business centre and gateway between the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region (MEASA) and the world, have jointly organized today their first International Paris EUROPLACE Financial Forum in Dubai. This event is being held following a Memorandum of Understanding signed between DIFC and Paris EUROPLACE in January 2009 to strengthen the links between the two financial market places.

In the context of the French presidency of G20 in 2011, this one-day event titled "The Dubai-Paris Partnership: Facing a Multi-polar World" has seen senior representatives of both Dubai and Paris financial centres participate in a meaningful debate and discussion.

Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist and Head of External Relations, DIFC Authority, and Arnaud de BRESSON, Managing Director, Paris EUROPLACE have jointly opened the Forum.

Arnaud de BRESSON has highlighted the dynamic role played by Paris EUROPLACE in the European and international discussions to set up a new post-crisis international financial architecture.

More specifically, in the current context, he has stressed the strong political will amongst the European Union Member States to preserve and reinforce European monetary union. He has underlined that European governments are committed to reduce budget deficits with penalties in case of failure, to increase the European stability fund and to create new mechanism for sovereign debt restructuring. "As the Paris marketplace has proved more resilient in the financial crisis than many other financial centers, it is well positioned to facilitate the access to GCC (investors and issuers) to all the opportunities offered by the Euro markets" said Arnaud de Bresson, Managing Director of Paris EUROPLACE.

Paris financial center benefits from diversified portfolio of activities:

    • a booming stock market with the presence of NYSE Euronext (the leading stock exchange in the world in terms of market capitalization and trading volumes),
    • a leading position in Europe for corporate bonds (with 35% of total issuance)
    • the strength of its asset management pool: with €2,610 billion under management, Paris ranks n°2 in the world in investment funds
    • a strong presence of international investors (40% hold Paris equity markets)

Furthermore, Paris financial center offers new promising post-crisis opportunities in:

  • covered bonds which offer high return and low volatility to institutional investors,.
  • long-term savings, to attract long-term investors, including Sovereign Funds,
  • commodities and environmental finance,
  • Islamic finance: Paris EUROPLACE has played a leading role in developing the positioning of Paris in Islamic finance with development of Sharia compliant investment funds, the organization of favorable regulatory environment to issue Sukuk and the welcoming of Islamic banks in Paris. Thierry DISSAUX, Special adviser for financial affairs at the French Treasury, has announced the approval during the AAOIFI annual Sharia board meeting, of Sukuk structures governed by French law which will soon be available on the marketplace

Last, Mr. de BRESSON has focused on the benefits driven from the MoU signed between Paris EUROPLACE and DIFC which aims to reinforce cooperation between the two marketplaces. "The MoU that we signed end at developing exchanges of information on financial regulation, enhancing links in financial education for market professionals, developing cross initiatives in Islamic finance as well as joint financial forums in Dubai and Paris".

Malachy McALLISTER, Head of Global Banking, HSBC France, has underlined the assets of the Paris financial marketplace to attract Islamic Finance:

  • Important players in key sectors: energy, communications, transportation and a good quality of corporate debt
  • Good reservoir of very clever and competent skills as HSBC which is an important player in Paris has testified
  • Recognized expertise in real assets which is key for Islamic finance
  • French government has a very important approach to organize Islamic finance and French legal system can provide a robust framework
  • France has a very ethical approach to regulation

Dr Nasser Saidi emphasized the increasing importance of emerging markets as they have become the main engine of world growth during the last two years while advanced economies experienced a deep contraction, unseen since the Great Depression. He explained that the tectonic shift of the world economy towards the East is highlighted by the new role of emerging markets which contributed for more than two-thirds to global economic growth since 2002, as well as a similar share of both the growth in world trade and foreign direct investment. He also pointed out that most foreign direct investments (FDI) are now South-South, with the Middle East being the second fastest growing region in the world for FDI. He further underscored that emerging economies have developed an endogenous capacity to grow decoupling from mature economies.

Dr Saidi has then stressed the need of emerging financial centres to cooperate and build a stronger and more sustainable network across the world for the benefit of all stakeholders, especially after the recent global financial crisis gave rise to a multipolar world. He said that the crisis will contribute to the demise of the hub-spoke financial markets model centered on London and New York and give impetus to a transition to a decentralized model, which will prevent the enormous accumulation of savings in just one or two financial centres. He explained that the world now needs a new international financial architecture of networked financial markets which provides a more stable and sustainable 'spider web' structure based on the new economic geography. He highlighted that the emerging 'spider-web' nodes all have names ending in 'ai': Dubai, Mumbai and Shanghai.

Dr Saidi illustrated the latest IMF GDP figures for the GCC, showing how the region continues to grow even during the last two years. He also gave an example of how the DIFC with its state of the art regulatory framework, judicial system, and modern physical infrastructure, was able to contribute positively Dubai's economy resilience and how it enables the Gulf region to manage and control its natural and financial wealth.

Dr Saidi then confirmed the deep commitment of both the DIFC and Paris Europlace to developing economic co-operation between and initiating a continuous dialogue to share knowledge and expertise. He pointed out that the DIFC would like to work with Europlace to set up the legal and regulatory framework for Shariah compliant products and services in France and continental Europe, and gave an example where the DIFC would be able to facilitate the issue and listing of Sukuk and other Shariah compliant securities by French companies and by the Government of France.

Dr. Saidi emphasized that the DIFC has a lot to offer the French business community and was confident in the success of the partnership. He explained that the DIFC is located in the heart of the United Arab Emirates, which has a safe, secure, economically, politically and socially stable environment with superb infrastructure and a highly skilled, educated and multi-cultural workforce.With its deep pool of wealth, the region offers an exciting opportunity for French companies seeking to grow, with the DIFC constituting their ideal launch platform.

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