Global Investor Middle East Asset Management Forum

The Gulf Hotel, Manama, Bahrain

15 May 2017

Event Overview

Hosted by ISF and the Central Bank of Bahrain, the Middle East Asset Management Forum brings together senior level delegates from the asset management industry. The day will comprise of panel discussions and presentations featuring industry leading experts, regulators and analysts.

The event will be held at the Gulf Hotel. Upon receiving your confirmation email and delegate pass,  you will be eligible to apply for a discounted room rate. To do so, please complete the Delegate Reservation Form and email a completed copy, as well as a copy of your delegate pass, to:


Agenda Overview

9am Keynote speech:

Central Bank of Bahrain – speaker TBC


9.30am Panel 1: Asset management market development

The first panel will examine recent trends and discuss the outlook for the local and regional (GCC/ MENA) asset management sector – where are new opportunities emerging?

  • How have Bahrain and other GCC financial centres progressed in the past year? What plans are in place for 2017/8?
  • What are the trends in terms of asset flows and competition for domiciling funds in the region?
  • In what areas could the region’s financial centres establish new niches?
  • What are the most recent developments in the booming infrastructure asset class?


10.10: Panel 2: regulatory update

A panel of local and international legal experts will discuss the interaction of global legal and regulatory developments on the MENA market. How will international initiatives impact the local market and how can they be harmonized with local rules?

  • Basel III: How are capital rules changing the services banks are prepared to offer asset managers?
  • Dodd-Frank: The US mega-law is largely complete. Will the new administration seek to dismantle it?
  • EU regulation: Which measures will bite in 2017 and beyond?
  • Local regulation: Which initiatives will have greatest effect in 2017?


10.50: Coffee break


11.20 Panel 3: GCC’s introduction of VAT from 2018

The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) aim to introduce a 5% value added tax (VAT) on goods and services from January 2018, eroding the region’s tax-free reputation. The move, long advocated by the IMF, will help diversify state income during a prolonged period of low oil and gas prices.

  • Gulf economies slowed following the oil price slump and consequent austerity measures that reduced consumer spending power. What will be the effect of VAT?
  • Will GCC economies be impacted equally? What about sectors and companies?
  • Are businesses ready for VAT? How will preparing impact companies’ bottom line?
  • What are the pros and cons of expanding government’s tax raising powers?


12.00 Panel 4: Western political turmoil – the out-look for asset management

The once seemingly inevitable EU transnational integration project is in trouble, with recessions, Brexit and the rise of nationalism. US President Donald Trump has vowed to rip up any trade agreement that does not put America first and has put elements of Dodd-Frank in doubt.

  • Brexit: The world’s leading financial centre could be outside of the EU by the end of the decade. What are the implications for global asset managers?
  • Foreign policy: US foreign policy in the Middle East may undergo a radical overhaul – how will Trump approach the Middle East? The EU’s rift with Turkey is growing rapidly – what are the implications for its neighbours?
  • US economy: Trump has vowed to renegotiate trade deals, review financial regulation and pump money into infrastructure products - what is the outlook for the US economy and markets?
  • Currency: How much stronger will the US dollar become? Will the euro survive its structural imbalances?


12.40 Panel 5: Outlook for emerging markets in the strong dollar era

Global growth is expected to accelerate this year, pushing up inflation and encouraging investors to take greater credit risk. The US dollar, already considered as overvalued by many, will likely strengthen further against emerging market currencies if US interest rates rise as predicted.

  • How should fixed income investors approach emerging markets?
  • Emerging market equity indices have made steady gains this year to reach levels not seen since mid-2015. Can the rally continue and which sectors and markets will under- and over-perform to year-end?
  • What does the strong dollar era mean for emerging market currencies and fund flows?
  • How do robust commodity prices play into the emerging market outlook?


13.20 Networking lunch


14.40 Panel 6: Asset managers and service providers

Across the globe, asset managers are taking more control of pro-cesses from the front to the back office. This opens up opportuni-ties but also presents challenges for firms. This panel examines the evolving relationship between asset managers and service providers.

  • How will asset managers meet all of the regulatory requirements and what can service providers do to ease the burden?
  • How can asset managers boost returns using tools such as securi-ties lending and derivatives?
  • How is pressure on bank balance sheets impacting the services they are willing to provide?
  • How can local market liquidity be enhanced?


15.20 Panel 7: Blockchain and fintech

Fintech is becoming ever more important and distributed ledger technology, or blockchain, has the potential to revolutionise financial systems. This panel will discuss developments globally as well as projects underway in the GCC.

  • Which businesses and process will be most impacted by blockchain?
  • What projects are financial centres, banks and startups working on in the region?
  • How well are the differing approaches of the DIFC and ADGM working to build fintech ecosystems?
  • What lessons can be learned from other fintech centres such as London and Singapore?


16.00pm Conference concludes




Event Speakers Overview

A full list of speakers will be released closer to the event.



Event Sponsors

For general sponsorship enquiries contact:
Zara Mahmud
MENA & Emerging Markets Director
Tel: +44 20 7779 8478


Event Partners 

 Central Bank of Bahrain

Central Bank of Bahrain

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is a public corporate entity established by the 2006 CBB and Financial Institutions Law. It succeeded the Bahrain Monetary Agency, which had previously carried out central banking and regulatory functions since its establishment in 1973. 

The CBB inherits the BMA's 33-year track record and wide range of responsibilities, including the implementation of the Kingdom's monetary and foreign exchange policies. The CBB also manages the government's reserves and debt issuance, issues the national currency and oversees the country's payments and settlement systems. It is the
sole regulator of Bahrain's financial sector, covering the full range of banking, insurance, investment business and capital markets activities.

The CBB's wide scope of responsibilities allows a consistent policy approach to be undertaken across the whole of the Kingdom's financial sector. It also provides a straightforward and efficient regulatory framework for financial services firms operating in Bahrain.

The Gulf Hotel Bahrain

The Gulf Hotel Bahrain

Al Fateh Avenue, Bldg 11

Road 3801

Block 337 Al Fateh Highway