‘Bright future’ for fund management in Bahrain
Manama, October 6, 2010
The Gulf’s trillion dollar market provides outstanding and compelling opportunities for the fund management industry and Bahrain’s strengths make it the perfect gateway to access them, said an expert.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), was speaking at the fourth annual Fund Forum Middle East 2010 conference, which concludes tomorrow (October 7) in Manama.
Shaikh Mohammed highlighted Bahrain’s long and impressive track record within financial services, particularly in fund management, and to the structural growth drivers of a rapidly expanding domestic population, and growing prosperity within the region, which is underpinning long term demand for financial products and services.
Shaikh Mohammed highlighted Bahrain as having the widest range of funds in the Gulf, the country’s high quality regulation and its importance to companies seeking safety for their money and reputation, and also Bahrain’s status as an international hub of Islamic finance.
“Fund management has been an important part of our financial sector since the 1980s. As well as a reassuring past, fund management in Bahrain has a bright future ahead,” Shaikh Mohammed said.
“Our population that is expanding rapidly and the region’s growing prosperity means there’s a real demand for the products and services that the fund management industry provides.”
Shaikh Mohammed added that whilst the global financial crisis had tested many countries, the Gulf region had coped better than most and is collectively, firmly back on the road to growth.
He also cited Bahrain’s long term investment in diversification of its economy and its more risk-averse approach which made the country less vulnerable to shocks and contributed to an increase in domestic GDP, in 2009, of over 3 per cent and anticipated GDP growth of 4.5 per cent in 2010.
Shaikh Mohammed said: “We hear a lot of about the BRIC economies – the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China. I offer you as an alternative driver of future growth the CHIME economies - that’s China, India and the Middle East. The six countries of the GCC together have a GDP as big as India’s.”
“As we grow bigger, we grow closer together. And while we still have some way to go, you can already think of us as being like the European Union in its early days. The Gulf has the world's largest concentration of millionaires. Our collective GDP is forecast to expand to two trillion dollars in the next decade.”
“The fact that we are well established also means that we now have the widest range of funds in the Gulf- over 2,700. Of those, 137 are Bahrain domiciled and 59 are part of the growing market in Islamic finance. Moreover, in the Central Bank of Bahrain, we have the region’s most respected regulator,” Shaikh Mohammed continued.
He highlighted the Central Bank of Bahrain's authorization of the formulation and marketing of the Hyperion Australian Equity Islamic Fund.
“Jobs in financial services are high-skilled and rewarding, exactly the sorts of jobs we want to create for our citizens,” he added.
“And through our long term commitment to education and training, we have made sure that our people have the skills to do these jobs. In fact, two thirds of the people who work in our financial services sector are Bahrainis- and nearly 40 per cent of them are women. These people aren’t employed by the international companies that come to Bahrain because they are Bahraini- they are chosen because they are the best people for the job,” Shaikh Mohammed concluded. – TradeArabia News Service