Global Investor Middle East Asset Management Forum

The Gulf Hotel, Manama, Bahrain

14 May 2018

Event Overview

The 3rd Middle East Asset Management Forum will be held in May 2018. The conference is jointly organised by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and Global Investor. The event brings together around 200 delegates primarily drawn from the local and regional and international asset management community.

For any events queries please contact Valerija Slavina on

To discuss sponsorship options please contact Zara Mahmud on

Agenda Overview

 *This draft of the agenda is subject to slight amendments


8:15 Registration and Networking
Luke Jeffs,
Managing Editor, Global Investor Group

9:00 Global Investor Welcome Address

9:05 Keynote Address
Central Bank of Bahrain


9:30  Asset management market dynamics and outlook to 2020
Low liquidity has pushed MENA asset managers to look beyond their local markets to find new clients, while the lack of regional pension funds and insurance companies means the asset management industry relies more on individual investors, rather than an institutional client base.

• What does this mean for asset managers in terms of their investment strategies?
• How can the institutional investor base expand?
• Where can Gulf investors find the best value in terms of regional markets and sectors?
• To what extent is geopolitical risk a factor in regional investors’ thinking?
• What is the role of oil in shaping regional equity markets’ performance?
• What is the outlook for AUM growth in GCC asset management?


10:10 The role of regulation and mega new equity listings in supporting regional markets
Bahrain is reputed to have the best Asset Management regulations in the Gulf, helping the island claim an outsized share of the regional industry, while all plan to float their state-owned oil businesses, which if listed locally will boost their domestic bourses.

• How significant an impact could these listings have on their host exchanges and their investor base?
• Exchanges have long talked of convincing more family-owned conglomerates to go public, could we see finally see an influx of IPOs to help diversify regional markets?
• What impact has MSCI emerging market status had on some GCC countries and what could it mean to achieve the same status?
• What are the strengths of Bahrain’s asset management regulations and how do these differ from other Gulf jurisdictions?
• Gulf-wide, what key improvements to market regulations should be made?


10:50 Coffee and Networking


11:30  Diversification and alternative revenue for asset managers
Gulf equity markets are retail-driven, what is the appetite among investors, brokerages and fund managers to introduce new financial products to help move away from being solely long-only investments?

• What new financial products would best suit the Gulf?
• How can Fintech better meet the needs of investors?
• Blockchain entered the mainstream in 2017 as Bitcoin made incredible price gains/losses. What opportunities does blockchain offer the regional investment industry?
• How well are REITs performing in the GCC and what is take-up like among investors?
• What are the prospects for securities lending going mainstream? Can it potentially be transformative for the GCC pension fund industry?
• What is expected in terms of pension fund regulation, and how will it impact that industry?


12:10 Presentation - Ethical Investment


12:30  How technology is changing the brokerage industry
Historically, Gulf bourses and brokerages were a place for local citizens to meet, trade and socialise, but as exchanges became more internationalised and the easy gains of the early-mid noughties faded, trading has become a more remote, focused activity.

• How well have brokers adapted to the changing needs of their clients?
• What technological innovations will shape the regional industry to 2020?
• The likes of Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are pouring resources into building Fintech hubs, can these start-up ecosystems create industry-changing innovations?
• What impact has technology had on broker revenues and what further effects will it have going forward?


13:10 Lunch and Networking


14:15 Keynote presentation


14:35  Fixed income outlook
MENA international bond and sukuk issuances set a new record high in 2017 as investors sought the relative safety of fixed income. With GCC bond spreads inexpensive compared with Asia, regional fixed income should withstand further rate hikes.
• What is driving the increase in fixed income issuance and can this growth be maintained in the long term?
• How important is it for the region to achieve a critical mass of sovereign debt issues to create a yield curve against which corporates can price their own bonds and sukuk?
• Who are the main buyers of GCC debt and what factors could influence their appetite for such investments going forward?

15:00 Event close and Networking Drinks Reception


Event Partner


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.




Media Partner



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Gulf Hotel Bahrain

Building 11 Road No 3801