GCC financial sector growth continues
Manama, March 7, 2012
GCC's financial sector continues to grow with an increase in the number of financial institutions in the region's all main centres, recent reports said.
The Gulf Financial Centres statistical survey carried out by Euromoney Conferences shows that the number of institutions increased in Bahrain, Qatar Financial Centre and Dubai International Financial Centre during 2011, said a statement.
In gross numbers, Bahrain led the way with 412 institutions at the end of 2011 (a figure which had risen to 415 by the end of February 2012) and the kingdom also employs the largest number of people in financial services, it said.
Qatar Financial Centre leads on percentage growth and Dubai International Financial Centre continues its strong performance in absolute growth numbers. Dubai is also particularly strong in support and retail outlets in the city's financial centre, it said.
On the gross assets side UAE is the clear leader - but, interestingly, foreign assets in Bahrain's banking sector are more than double that of UAE and five times that of Qatar, highlighting its position as the region’s offshore centre, said the report.
A second report, the Euromoney Global Private Banking review published by Euromoney Magazine in London, shows the industry slowing globally but the Middle East posting the strongest growth numbers of any region.
In revenue terms the Middle East private banking market grew at 48 per cent last year - against a global average of 25 per cent.
Both of these reports have been released in advance of The Euromoney GCC private banking forum which was held in Bahrain today (March 7).
At the opening of the forum, Central Bank of Bahrain Governor Rasheed Al Maraj stated: “The CBB has a proud regulatory history. Our framework has been moulded over many years, and it has served our stakeholders well in times of local, regional, and international turbulence. It provides clear leadership and direction to licensees, and it is designed to provide investors with a detailed understanding of the way in which the CBB expects banks and financial institutions to discharge their responsibilities.”
He said: “Five major international regulatory initiatives would be our focus for 2012 onward. These are the implementation of revised capital adequacy standards, the new liquidity requirements and the further enhancement in the corporate governance framework including remuneration policy, the implementation of IFSB standards and the regulatory enhancement needed on the capital market. “
Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: “The strong growth that the financial sector in the Gulf has shown over the course of 2011 is very encouraging, particularly in such challenging macroeconomic conditions. We are delighted to be hosting this conference in Bahrain at a time when demand for private banking in the Middle East is expanding so rapidly as people look for more sophisticated ways of looking after their money.” – TradeArabia News Service