KIA and Morgan Stanley present a seminar on "Global Investments" 

The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and Morgan Stanley have jointly presented a seminar on “Global Investments”. The seminar was held on Monday April 30th in Arraya Ballroom at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. 

The speakers at the seminar were Mr. Abdul-latif Al-Hamad – Director General/ Chairman of the board of directors of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and Dr. Steven Roach – Managing Director and Chief Economist of Morgan Stanley. 

Mr. Fahad Al-Salem – Director of the Strategy and Planning Department of Kuwait Investment Authority welcomed the attendees and the speakers. Mr. Al-Salem said in his speech that “The Strategy and Planning Department of KIA periodically arranges for seminars and presentations on issues and topical subjects which are relevant for the financial sector in Kuwait. The KIA considers this aspect of its function to be as important as the assets which it manages.” 

Mr. Al-Salem also acknowledged the speakers as “distinguished members of the global financial community who are highly recognized for their deep insight in finance, investments, economic development as well as for their contributions towards increasing economic prosperity and promoting social equity in the region as well as globally.” 

In his speech, Dr. Roach talked about the existence of signs “that a benign global rebalancing could well be at hand.” He continued to say that “Global growth is shifting away from the US towards Europe and Japan, while the dollar has resumed it’s five-year downward trajectory.” 

Mr. Roach also discussed the subtle change that is now emerging in the mix of global growth. “This shift has been concentrated in the three main economies of the developed world. The US growth engine is, indeed, slowing.” 

Mr. Al-Hamad talked about the required economic reforms in the Arab financial markets. “Over the last several years, financial markets in Arab countries have undergone significant structural and operational changes that have created a new environment but was not followed by a parallel evolution of the legal system. Not being fully responsive to financial market changes, the legal system constitutes a significant barrier to the development of those markets. What is needed in the Arab countries is to establish a legal system that better protects property rights, and is comprehensive and flexible enough to address all the issues related to the current state of these markets.” 

He continued to say that “equity markets in Arab countries are generally perceived as still lacking transparency and adequate disclosure of information to investors. These defects have prevented foreign investors from entering those markets in a more significant way. Firms listed on Arab stock markets should all adopt internationally acceptable accounting standards in order to raise confidence in reported information. Furthermore, for these markets to operate efficiently, it is imperative that they strengthen their institutional framework by establishing independent regulatory agencies. Some Arab markets already have such institutions in place, while lacking in others.” 

Mr. Al-Hamad also stressed the fact that restrictions present in Arab countries on foreign ownership of financial are slowly being removed. “This development will help bring to the region new management standards and services. This will constitute strong competition for local financial institutions that must adapt or lose their customer base. This will encourage small banks to merge to remain competitive.”