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Banking and Capital Markets, Finance

Global Financial Forum

Unlocking Growth in a Changing World

Dubai |
Speakers include:
Nicolas Cary

Nicolas Cary


Mark Mobius

Mark Mobius

Mobius Capital Partners

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar

Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre


If you are interested in attending, speaking or sponsoring the Global Financial Forum 2020 please contact

Global Financial Forum 2019 brought together key stakeholders in the local and international financial ecosystem to map the prospects for investment and expansion in the high growth emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).

fallback Add to my Calendar 03/11/2019 08:00:0003/11/2019 18:05:00trueGlobal Financial ForumIf you are interested in attending, speaking or sponsoring the Global Financial Forum 2020 please contact ftlive@ft.comGlobal Financial Forum 2019 brought together key stakeholders in the local and international financial ecosystem to map the prospects for investment and expansion in the high growth emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).Global-Financial-Forum7e887b19728a0a0e2ca0ecaaff5df2c6MM/DD/YYYY

Madinat Map and Directions

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Full Overview

The financial services industry in MEASA is poised for expansion in the coming years with Dubai, the region’s leading financial hub, playing a pivotal role bringing together investors looking to grow their portfolios, and businesses and entrepreneurs raising capital. The strong outlook for growth, a rising wealth class and increasing intra-regional trade present unique opportunities for institutions to explore new avenues and plan for the future.

The Financial Times, in association with DIFC, will host the Global Financial Forum in Dubai on 11 March 2019.  Connecting all stakeholders in the regional and international financial ecosystem, it will pinpoint the markets and sectors offering the best prospects, focusing on asset and wealth management, corporate and investment banking, Islamic Finance, and FinTech, assessing how Dubai’s location and business environment can be leveraged to realise growth plans.

Major topics for discussion at this high level forum include perspectives from industry leaders on the macro and geo-economic outlook. Infrastructure, real estate, corporate finance, private banking, and more, all earmarked as having huge promise over the next few years, will be examined, evaluating the new business possibilities resulting from the strong regional economic outlook, as well as China’s Belt and Road initiative. Our speakers will also strategise on the future of finance, sharing how they are planning for a new decade shaped by innovation and technological development.


Speakers (28)

Nicolas Cary

Nicolas Cary


Nicolas Cary is a serial entrepreneur and lifelong technologist. His company Blockchain is the world's leading Digital Assets Platform. has over 33 million users, runs the most widely trusted block explorer, and manages the most widely used developer platform in the crypto assets eco-system. Blockchain has raised over $75 million from leading investors including Lakestar, Google Ventures, Lightspeed and Sir Richard Branson. In 2014, Nic made the first charitable Bitcoin donation to a University. In 2015, he was named the European Digital Leader of the year. He is the Founding Commissioner of the Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development and co-authored The Future is Decentralised. Nic has a deep passion for positive digital disruption. He's also the Co-Founder and Chairman of, the leading non-profit youth business accelerator.

Mark Mobius

Mark Mobius

Mobius Capital Partners

Mark Mobius, Partner at Mobius Capital Partners,  is seen by many as the founder of the emerging markets asset class with a reputation as one of the most successful and influential managers over last 30 years. In 2018, with two ex-colleagues, he launched Mobius Capital Partners which uses a highly specialised active investment approach with an emphasis on improving governance standards in emerging and frontier Market companies.  Prior to this, Dr Mobius was employed at Franklin Templeton Investments for more than 30 years, most recently as Executive Chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group. During his tenure, the group expanded AUM from USD 100m to over USD 40bn and launched a number of emerging market and frontier funds focusing on Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Dr Mobius is a member of the Economic Advisory Board of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Since 2010 he has also served as a member of the supervisory board of OMV Petrom in Romania, and was previously a director on the Board of Russian oil company, Lukoil. Dr Mobius is the author of books translated into several languages .  He holds a PhD from MIT and has studied at Boston University, University of Wisconsin, Syracuse University, Kyoto University and the University of New Mexico.

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar

Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar is the CEO of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC). In this capacity, he oversees the Centre's work and collaborates closely with DIEDC’s multiple stakeholders to implement the ‘Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy’ strategy. Prior to his current role, Mr Al Awar was the CEO of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) from 2009 to 2012. He has served as member of several committees and boards in Dubai including the Economic Committee of the Executive Council of Dubai, Dubai Free Zones Council, Bourse Dubai and the Investment Committee of the Emirates NBD Real Estate Fund.  He holds a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA. He is also a graduate of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Program for Leadership Development, an executive education program conducted in affiliation with Cranfield University, UK and with IMD and INSEAD.

H.E. Essa  Kazim

H.E. Essa Kazim

Dubai International Financial Centre

His Excellency Essa Kazim is the Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Chairman of Borse Dubai, Chairman of Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Legislation Committee in Dubai and a member of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee.

His Excellency Kazim began his career as a Senior Analyst in the Research and Statistics Department of the UAE Central Bank in 1988 and then moved to the Dubai Department of Economic Development as Director of Planning and Development in 1993. He was then appointed as Director General of the DFM from 1999 to 2006.

His Excellency Kazim holds an honorary Doctorate from Coe College, a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Iowa, a Master’s Degree in Total Quality Management from the University of Wollongong and a Bachelor degree in Math, Economy and Computer Science from Coe College.

His Excellency Kazim currently sits on a number of official advisory committees and boards; he is Member of the Higher Board of Directors of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors, Chairman of DIFC Investments Board of Directors, Board Member of Nasdaq Dubai, Board Member of Nasdaq Inc., Board Member of Noor Bank, Board Member of Etisalat, Board Member of Free Zones Council, and Member of the Board and Secretary General of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center.

His Excellency Essa Kazim also serves as a board member for a number of educational institutions, both in the region and around the world.

Martin Wolf CBE

Martin Wolf CBE

Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator
Financial Times

Martin Wolf is Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2000 “for services to financial journalism”. He was a member of the UK government’s Independent Commission on Banking between June 2010 and September 2011. Mr Wolf is an honorary fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University and King’s College, London. He is also an honorary professor at the University of Nottingham. In 2014, he was made a University Global Fellow of Columbia University, and a Senior Fellow in Global Economic Policy at its School of International Public Affairs. He is a member of the International Media Council of the World Economic Forum.
Mr Wolf has been included in Foreign Policy’s list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. He has won the Wincott Foundation senior prize for excellence in financial journalism, the RTZ David Watt memorial prize, the Journalism Prize of the Fundacio Catalunya Oberta (Open Catalonia Foundation), Commentator of the Year at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards, the “Ludwig-Erhard Preis für Wirtschaftspublizistik” (“Ludwig Erhard Prize for economic commentary”), and “Commentariat of the Year” at the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards. The Society of American Business Editors and Writers recognised Mr Wolf in its Best in Business Journalism competition. He has also won the Ischia International Journalism Prize and the Overseas Press Club of America’s prize for “best commentary on international news in any medium”.
His most recent publications are Fixing Global Finance (Washington D.C: Johns Hopkins University Press, and London: Yale University Press, 2008 and 2010) and The Shifts and The Shocks: What we’ve learned – and have still to learn – from the financial crisis (London and New York: Allen Lane, 2014). Mr Wolf was educated at Oxford University. He has honorary doctorates from Nottingham University, Kingston University, Macquarie University, the London School of Economics, Warwick University and KU Leuven.

Christine Novakovic

Christine Novakovic

Head of Wealth Management, Europe, Middle East and Africa


Christine Novakovic is currently Head of UBS Wealth Management Europe, Middle East & Africa and a member of the Wealth Management Executive Committee. Having already worked for UBS between 1992 and 1996, she re-joined UBS in 2011 as Head of Corporate & Institutional Clients and while maintaining this role, took over as Head of Investment Bank Switzerland in 2014. Before joining UBS in 2011, she founded CNB AG, Art Dealer and Business Consultant in 2007. From 2006 to 2007, she worked as an Art Dealer with Barr & Ochsner GmbH in Zurich and New York. In 2005, she was a member of the Group Executive Committee of Hypo Vereinsbank AG in Munich, acting as Head of Private Banking, Retail Banking and Asset Management. During the same period, she was also Chairman of DAB AG.  Prior to this, Ms Novakovic spent over 8 years with Citibank where she held diverse regional and global roles within its Corporate and Investment Bank in Frankfurt and Hong Kong. In 2001, she took over as CEO of Citibank's Consumer and Retail Bank in Germany. She has served on the boards of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, DEAG AG and Flender AG. Ms Novakovic holds a superior degree IIEF from the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg and an MBA from the University Luigi Bocconi in Milan.

Yuanzheng Cao

Yuanzheng Cao

BOCI Research Company

Yuanzheng Cao is Chairman of BOCI Research Company.  He has been with the BOC Group since 1998, serving as Director and Chief Economist of BOC International (China) and as Chief Economist of BOC. He was formerly Head of the Bureau of Chinese Economic System Reform, SCRE (now known as the State Commission for Economic System Restructuring). In addition to his roles at BOCI, Dr Cao is also the Vice-Chairman of the China Society of Macroeconomics with National Development and Reform Commission, Vice President of the Latin American Association of China,Vice-Chairman of ILAS CASS, a member of the Chinese Economists 50 Forum and the China Finance 40 Forum, a board member of the Boyuan Foundation,former director of BOC International Holdings Ltd. and Executive Vice President and Chief Economist at Bank of China. He also serves in academic positions as doctoral supervisor at the Renmin University of China, Visiting Professor at the University of Southern California, Professor at Tsinghua University and Beijing University, and Deputy General Secretary at the China Society of Macroeconomics. Additionally he is Vice Chairman of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Commission.

Dr Cao has in depth experience and expertise on China’s economic reform. He has been an expert for the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and with the United Nations Development Programme, and has been a governmental economic adviser for transition countries such as Vietnam, Mongolia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. He is now the economic adviser for several domestic provinces.

Dr. Cao holds post-doctoral qualifications in Technical Economics from Darmstadt University in Germany and Phd in Economics from Renmin University of China. He also holds a Masters in Economics from Wuhan University and a BA from Xi’an Foreign Language Institute.

Christophe Charlier

Christophe Charlier

Renaissance Capital

Christophe Charlier rejoined Renaissance Capital as Chairman of the Board of Directors in April 2017. He co-ordinates the work of the Firm’s board of directors, and oversees the strategic development of the bank globally and its relationships with key clients and stakeholders in the firm’s markets. He is a highly experienced financier, who has served in executive positions and on the board of directors of some of Russia's largest companies, including RUSAL, Polyus Gold and Norilsk Nickel, and on the boards of other companies internationally in the financial services, mining, sports and entertainment industries. He served on the board of directors of Renaissance Capital from 2009 to 2014, and prior to that worked in the Firm’s Investment Banking department from 1997 to 1998.

Rémy Bersier

Rémy Bersier

Head of Emerging Markets, Member of the Executive Board
Bank Julius Baer & Co Limited

Rémy Bersier is a Member of the Executive Board of Bank Julius Baer & Co Limited. and Head of  Emerging Markets with responsibility for the Middle East, Turkey & Africa, India Onshore as well as the Indian Subcontinent and Non-Resident Indians, Russia, Central & Eastern Europe, and Monaco.  He is also the Head of the Ultra-High Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWI) division. Mr Bersier is additionally a Member of the Board of Directors for Bank Julius Baer (Monaco) SAM and Chairman of the Board of Julius Baer Wealth Management (Monaco) SAM.  He joined the Bank in 2006 and was CEO of Private Banking for the Middle East, France, Belgium, Monaco, Africa and French-speaking Switzerland, as well as having charge of the External Asset Managers Division. He started his career in banking with Credit Suisse in 1978 and spent two years in New York in their Private Banking Division. He was promoted in 1991 and became a Member of the Executive Board in 1993. Between 1993 and 2006 he held responsibility for the International Private Banking Divisions of Credit Suisse.  Mr Bersier holds a Bachelor's Degree in Banking and a Diploma from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce in Lausanne. He also studied at the IMD in Lausanne, and in 1998 graduated from the Senior Executive Program at Stanford University.

Bahren Shaari

Bahren Shaari

Chief Executive Officer
Bank of Singapore

Bahren Shaari was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Singapore in 2015. He was previously the Senior Managing Director and Global Market Head of South East Asia.  He has more than 30 years of banking experience and is an executive committee member of Singapore’s Private Banking Industry Group which shapes the private banking competency standards of the wealth management sector.  In 2016, he was conferred the Singapore Institute of Banking and Finance Distinguished Fellow award, in recognition of his significant contribution to the financial industry and outstanding leadership capabilities. Prior to joining Bank of Singapore, Mr Shaari served as the Managing Director at UBS Wealth Management, responsible for the South East Asian and Australian Markets.  He is an alternate member of the Council of Presidential Advisers. He has been a non-executive and independent director of Singapore Press Holdings since 2012. From 2000 to 2012, he served on the board of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. In 2008, Mr Shaari was conferred the Public Service Medal, and in 2018, he received the Public Service Star Medal. He holds an accountancy degree from the National University of Singapore.

Sir Gerry Grimstone

Sir Gerry Grimstone

Past Chairman
Barclays Bank and Standard Life Aberdeen

Sir Gerry Grimstone is the immediate past Chairman of Barclays Bank plc which oversees Barclays’ Corporate and Investment Bank and International Cards and Payments businesses and also of Standard Life Aberdeen, the UK’s largest savings and investments business.  Gerry sits at the heart of UK-China and UK-India relations and participates regularly in Prime Ministerial visits and the annual Economic and Financial Dialogues between the countries’ respective Finance Ministers. He chairs the TheCityUK-CBBC China Market Advisory Group which helps coordinate financial and related professional services activity between the UK and China.  He chairs Standard Life Aberdeen’s insurance business in China, Heng An Standard Life, a joint venture with TEDA headquartered in Tianjin with branches in over 80 cities throughout China. He is a Hong Kong Permanent Resident. In India, he sits on the Board of HDFC Life, which is one of India’s largest life assurance companies. He Is the UK chairman of the India-UK Financial Partnership and also of the UK-India CEO Forum both of which have been set up by the Indian and British Governments.  In the Gulf, Gerry is the Board Adviser to the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and chairs a newly established joint venture between Investcorp and Aberdeen Standard Investments which will invest in social and core infrastructure projects in Gulf Corporation Council countries. He is an Independent Non-Executive Board Member of Deloitte North West Europe, a member of Deloitte’s Global Independent Non Executive Advisory Committee, and also of their UK Oversight Board. Within the UK, he is the Lead Non-Executive on the Board of the Ministry of Defence, and is a member of HM Treasury's Financial Services Trade and Investment Board. He conducted  the Cabinet Office’s Triennial Review of the Civil Service Commission, the Cabinet Office’s Review of Public Appointments in the UK which led to the new Public Appointments Code, and led the Cabinet Office – HM Treasury Task Force to establish the new Centre for Public Services Leadership. From 2012-2015, Gerry served as the Chairman of TheCityUK, the representative body for the financial and professional services industry in the UK. Gerry has held a number of Board appointments in the public and private sectors and has served as one of the UK’s Business Ambassadors. He was previously a senior investment banker at Schroders and ran businesses in London, New York and Asia Pacific. He specialised in mergers and acquisitions and capital-raising for major companies worldwide. Prior to that, he was an official in HM Treasury where he was responsible for privatisation and policy towards state-owned enterprises.

Karim El Solh

Karim El Solh

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Gulf Capital

Karim El Solh is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital, investing across several asset classes including Private Equity, Credit and Mezzanine and Real Estate. Under his leadership, Gulf Capital has been associated with some of the region’s most prominent private equity and credit and mezzanine transactions and has won numerous awards, The Firm currently manages over US$4 billion of assets across 10 funds and investment vehicles.   Prior to founding Gulf Capital, Dr El Solh was the CEO of the Abu Dhabi investment bank, The National Investor. Under his leadership, the Firm was involved in a number of groundbreaking private equity transactions and was ranked the number one IPO underwriter in the Gulf. He holds a BS degree in civil engineering from Cornell University, an MBA from Georgetown University and a Doctorate in Economics from the Institute D’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Science Po).

David Evans

David Evans

Chief of Global Philanthropy

David Evans is Chief, Global Philanthropy at UNICEF and leads the organisation’s work with foundations and major private donors globally. He has established the UNICEF Financial Innovation Lab to create new partnerships and funding vehicles with the financial sector. Previously, he acted as Head, Philanthropy and Values Based Investing, Asia-Pacific for UBS Wealth Management, advising UHWNI clients across Asia on their philanthropy. He also served as Head, Private Sector at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world’s largest health financing agency supported by the Gates Foundation and many others. Previously he was also responsible for public-private partnerships for major public diplomacy campaigns launched by the British Prime Minister in China and India, and worked at the Paley Centre for Media in New York. He has contributed to a number of studies on philanthropy and social enterprise in Asia including: the “UBS-INSEAD Study of Family Philanthropy in Asia”; “Revealing Indian Philanthropy” published by the London School of Economics; the “China Social Enterprise and Social Investment Report” published by Shanghai Finance University; and “From Charity to Change: Social Investment in Southeast Asia”, published by Singapore Management University. David holds graduate degrees from Oxford University, Columbia University and INSEAD business school.

Navin Gupta

Navin Gupta

Managing Director South Asia, Middle East and North Africa

Navin Gupta is Managing Director South Asia, Middle East and North Africa at Ripple.  He has extensive experience in global transaction banking, payments and cash management, and strategy planning following nearly two decades working for HSBC and Citigroup across the U.S., Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, and India. During his tenure as Head of Payments and Cash Management for HSBC Japan, the business was transformed and voted the number one Cash Management Bank in Japan by Euromoney. He was also a chief architect of HSBC’s global initiative on Working Capital and Liquidity Management and in 2008 was recognized as one of The 50 Most Promising Young Leaders in Asia-Pacific by The Asian Banker. Prior to joining HSBC, Navin worked at Citigroup in San Francisco as a global relationship manager for technology, media and telecommunications clients. He joined Citigroup as a management associate shortly after graduating from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona. Navin is a former board member of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Nik Joharris Bin Nik Ahmad

Nik Joharris Bin Nik Ahmad

Executive Vice President, Advisory, Innovation and Centre of Excellence
Maybank Islamic Berhad

Nik Joharris is the Executive Vice President, Advisory, Innovation and Centre of Excellence at Maybank Islamic Berhad. In his current position, he is responsible for developing business strategy and managing the centre of excellence platform of the bank. Prior to joining Maybank Islamic, Nik Joharris served in Malaysian Government related entities, namely TaHa Alam Sdn Bhd (a joint venture company between Lembaga Tabung Haji and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector) to provide Hajj and Umrah services outside Malaysia, and the National Waqf Board Malaysia as an independent consultant. He has more than 20 years experience in the financial industry. He was the Chief Executive Officer of the first Islamic bank in Mauritius, Century Banking Corporation Ltd, from 2010 to 2013 and worked with investment banks in Malaysia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in Islamic corporate debt financing. At the beginning of his career, he worked at the Bursa Malaysia and Securities Commission of Malaysia. He holds an LLB in Business Law from  Coventry University in the United Kingdom and an MBA in Islamic Banking and Finance from the International Islamic University of Malaysia.

Naveed Kamal

Naveed Kamal

Head Corporate Banking Middle East and North Africa

Naveed Kamal is the Corporate Bank Head for Middle East and North Africa at Citi. He is a seasoned banker, with extensive experience in corporate banking, corporate finance and Mergers & Acquisitions. He provides senior client coverage and drives business growth, working closely with product partners. He is a Senior Credit Officer. Naveed joined Citi in 1994, moving in 2004 to the UAE as the Corporate Finance IB head for GCC and in 2018 he took over as Corporate Bank head for MENA. Naveed has been involved in various capacities in transactions including acquisition finance, loan syndications and debt capital markets. His M&A experience includes privatization of banking and refining assets. Naveed has also advised investors on acquisition opportunities in sectors such as telecom, energy and chemicals. Naveed holds an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi.

Sammy Kayello

Sammy Kayello

Chairman and CEO, Middle East and North Africa
Morgan Stanley

Sammy Kayello is Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley Middle East and North Africa since 2013.  He has has been part of the MENA leadership team since the Dubai office opened in 2006 and is also a Board Member of Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia.  He relocated to Dubai in 2007 to build and manage Morgan Stanley’s MENA Sales and Trading franchise whose team is now located in the firm’s London, Riyadh, and Dubai offices.  He joined Morgan Stanley in New York in 1986 and subsequently moved to London where he was involved in the coverage and management of a broad group of clients in Europe and the MENA region.  Mr Kayello graduated from London University and the University of South Carolina. He holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School in North Carolina and is a PhD candidate in Structured Mechanics at Duke University’s School of Engineering.

Sunil Kaushal

Sunil Kaushal

Regional Chief Executive Officer, Africa and Middle East
Standard Chartered

Sunil Kaushal was appointed Regional Chief Executive Officer, Africa & Middle East in October 2015. Prior to this, he was regional CEO for South Asia. He has 27 years of banking experience in diverse markets, holding senior roles across the wholesale and consumer bank segments. He has rich experience across the Group’s footprint, having served as the head of Corporate Banking in the UAE, Head of Originations and Client Coverage in Singapore, Global Head Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and New Ventures in Singapore, and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (Taiwan) Ltd. Before joining Standard Chartered in 1998, Sunil held various banking positions at a number of leading international financial institutions.

Vivek Kudva

Vivek Kudva

Managing Director, Head of EMEA and India
Franklin Templeton Investments

Vivek Kudva is Managing Director for EMEA & India at Franklin Templeton Investments.  In this capacity, he is responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership to the firm's businesses in EMEA & India. He is currently based in Mumbai. Mr Kudva has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry.  He has been with Franklin Templeton for over 10 years, most recently as the Managing Director for CEEMEA and India. Under his leadership, the region’s AUM more than tripled over the last 10 years. Prior to joining Franklin Templeton, he was General Manager of Banking with National Bank of Oman, Muscat. Before that, he was with Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) for over 18 years in India. He has extensive commercial banking experience and was Head of Personal Financial Services, India, in his last assignment with HSBC. He was instrumental in successfully developing and executing the bank's retail growth strategy in India.  Mr Kudva is an engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, India, and has a post graduate diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), India.

Jonathan Larsen

Jonathan Larsen

Chief Innovation Officer
Ping An Group and Chief Executive Officer, Ping An Global Voyager Fund

Jonathan Larsen is Chief Innovation Officer, Ping An Group, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ping An Global Voyager Fund. He has been at the leading edge of the financial-services industry for the past 29 years across the Asia-Pacific and globally. Mr Larsen previously spent 18 years at Citigroup, where he was most recently Global Head of the firm’s Retail Banking and Mortgage businesses. Prior to Citi, he was a Principal in the Financial Services Practice of Booz Allen & Hamilton, a global management consulting firm, where he spent eight years advising large banks and other financial institutions in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in the US and Europe. Mr Larsen is a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Banking and Finance, Singapore, and was named Retail Banker of the Year in 2011 by Asian Banker magazine. He has been widely quoted in major media outlets, including the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist, as well as in local media throughout the Asia-Pacific. Mr Larsen holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree from the University of Melbourne.

David Lubinski

David Lubinski

Senior Program Officer for Payment Infrastructure
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

David Lubinski is Senior Programme Officer for Payment Infrastructure at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He leads the foundations work on technology platforms to help the poorest two billion people access and use financial services. This work involves direct engagement with national government regulators, global and local leaders in telecommunications, financial services and information and communication technologies.  Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation he held senior positions at the World Health Organization and the Program for Appropriate Technologies in Health (PATH) leading the design and implementation of management systems in health finance, supply chain and health services. David held senior executive positions manager in the commercial ICT industry at Microsoft and Digital Equipment Corporation where he led global P&L teams focused on health and life sciences markets. He is a frequent speaker and facilitator involving the convergence of information systems and business strategy to reduce global inequity. 

Dato' Mohamed Rafique Merican

Dato' Mohamed Rafique Merican

Group Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Banking

Dato’ Mohamed Rafique is Group Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Banking at Maybank, and CEO of Maybank Islamic Berhand.  He assumed his current role in July 2016 having previously served, since 2012, as the Group Chief Financial Officer. In his current position Dato’ Rafique plays a leading role in managing and overseeing the overall Islamic banking franchise of Maybank and ensures that it operates on a parallel platform, leveraging on the Group's resources.  His responsibilities include formulating business strategy for the Group’s Islamic Banking business including Maybank Islamic’s products development and delivery, marketing support, risk and Shariah-compliance management as well as spearheading the expansion of Group Islamic Banking within ASEAN and globally. Dato’ Mohamed Rafique has more than 25 years of experience in the corporate sector, including 5 years as CEO of Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Malakoff Berhad. Prior to joining TNB in 2009, he served at Radicare (M) Sdn Bhd, the facilities management concessionaire for hospitals as its Chief Operating Officer and subsequently as its CEO.   He is a fellow of the UK Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), a chartered accountant with the Malaysian Institute of Accountants, and an alumni of the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School.

Mouayed Makhlouf

Mouayed Makhlouf

Director, Middle East and North Africa
International Finance Corporation

Mouayed Makhlouf is the Director of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with International Finance Corporation (IFC). He is responsible for the institution's investments and advisory programs from Morocco to Pakistan. Since Mr Makhlouf assumed his position in 2011, IFC has invested almost U$10 billion, including mobilization in long- term financing across MENA, supporting large equity transactions in sectors such as infrastructure, manufacturing and financial services. Despite a challenging environment in the region, IFC's portfolio in MENA stands at around $6 billion and includes equity investments, long and short-term debt, and mezzanine financing and syndications.  Prior to this appointment, Mr Makhlouf was IFC Manager, Financial Markets for the Middle East and North Africa. During that time, he helped implement regional industry strategies for IFC’s investment and advisory services arms managing a portfolio of about U$1.7 billion. He joined the organisation in 1998 in the Central Asia, Middle East and Northern Africa department based in Washington DC, and worked on multiple large transactions including major restructuring of the cement sector in Pakistan as well as supervising projects across the region. During the last 18 years at IFC, Mr Makhlouf worked on multiple geographies in Emerging Markets spanning from Central Asia, to Eastern Europe as well as Latin America and Asia and including MENA.  He holds MSc in Finance from George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Shayne Nelson

Shayne Nelson

Group CEO
Emirates NBD

Shayne Nelson, Group Chief Executive Officer at Emirates NBD, has had an extensive banking career with experience in various roles. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Emirates NBD Capital and Emirates Financial Services. Prior to joining Emirates NBD he had a long and distinguished career with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) where he served in Singapore as the Chief Executive Officer for the Private Bank, was Chairman of the Standard Chartered Saadiq Islamic Advisory Board, and a Board member for SCB (China) Ltd.  Other high profile positions have included being Regional CEO of SCB Middle East and North Africa, Chairman of Standard Chartered (Pakistan) Limited, and Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of SCB, Malaysia Berhad. His earlier career at SCB included serving as Chief Risk Officer for Wholesale Banking, Regional Head of Corporate and Institutional Banking Audit in the Asia Pacific region and India, as well as Regional Head of Credit in Hong Kong, China and North East Asia. Mr Nelson was formerly Chairman of the Banking Advisory Council to the Board of the Dubai International Financial Centre, and has previously served as the Head of Corporate and Institutional Banking for Westpac Banking Corporation in Western Australia.   He is a Founding Member of the Higher Colleges of Technology Industry Advisory Council, a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers.

Asif Raza

Asif Raza

Head of Corporate Banking MENA, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia and CIS
J.P. Morgan

Asif Raza is the Head of Corporate Banking – MENA, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia and CIS at J.P. Morgan. He has worked in three of the world’s major financial centers, New York, London, Singapore, where he managed businesses covering North America, Europe, Middle East, Turkey, CIS, North Africa and Asia Pacific before moving to the Middle East as the Head of Treasury & Securities Services for Middle East & North Africa. Mr Raza provides a single point of leadership for the Corporate Banking business. Prior to his current role, Asif was the Head of Treasury & Securities Services for Middle East & North Africa. Mr Raza was previously based in Singapore as Head of Trade & Logistics Management – Asia Pacific Treasury Services.   He has also served as the Head of Trade Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa as well as for the firm's global network trade business out of London. Before his appointment in London, he was with J.P. Morgan in New York for seven years and managed various Treasury Services teams. Mr Raza is a regular speaker at industry conferences and has authored articles on transaction banking, Structured Trade Finance and logistics management. He is the ex-Chairman and Asian Committee member of the International Energy Credit Association (IECA), and a member of the Advisory Council of Banker’s Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT). In addition, Mr Raza is an editorial board member for The Exporta Group (publisher of Global Trade Review).

Harsha Rodrigues

Harsha Rodrigues

Chief Strategy Officer
Women's World Banking

Harsha Rodrigues is the Executive Vice President for Strategy at Women’s World Banking, the global nonprofit devoted to giving more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources they require to achieve security and prosperity. She is responsible for leading all of Women’s World Banking’s strategic initiatives including the development and monitoring of the organization’s strategic plan, identifying new business initiatives and managing the growth of the network. With expertise in the areas of strategy development and implementation, over more than a decade, her work has resulted in increasing Women’s World Banking’s global footprint and furthering the vision toward women’s financial inclusion.  Prior to joining Women’s World Banking in 2001, Harsha worked as a Management Consultant with Deloitte and was responsible for leading teams in the Health Care Practice in analyzing and implementing performance improvement strategies for multi-facility healthcare systems nationwide. Harsha leverages both her corporate and not-for-profit experience to gain a thorough understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the organization to design strategies that best deliver on achieving the mission and vision and continuing to make a difference in the lives of low-income women around the world. Harsha holds a BA in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and an MBA in International Business from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She is Indian and is fluent in English and Hindi.

Pawel Stefanski

Pawel Stefanski

Financial Services Sector Leader, Middle East and Africa

Pawel Stefanski currently leads IBM’s Financial Services industry in the Middle East and Africa, serving major retail and commercial banks, Central Banks, insurers and other financial institutions – from Turkey to South Africa.  In this role he and his team are responsible for shaping and successfully executing IBM’s strategy for the Financial Sector. He has over 30 years of professional and executive experience in information technology, software development, business consulting and management, with focus on technology applications in banking and insurance.  He regularly advises IBM customers on topics such as innovation, strategy and business models, digital reinvention, Blockchain and artificial intelligence. Pawel joined IBM in 1995 and has worked in a variety of roles encompassing software development, consulting, solution design, partner management and business development. During his professional career he has worked in over 20 countries.  Mr. Stefanski holds an MSc in Computer Science from Warsaw University in Poland. Subsequently he completed post-graduate education in Machine Learning and Genetic Algorithms at George Mason University, and earned executive certifications from George Washington University and Harvard Business School. At various stages of his career he was certified as an IBM Executive Architect, Project Management Professional (PMP), Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Strategic Alliances Professional (ASAP) and Design Thinking Practitioner, among others.  Together with his IBM colleagues he is working on his second patent disclosure on the applications of cognitive technology to financial regulation. 

Hong Yin

Hong Yin

Deputy Head of Urban Finance Research Institute

Hong Yin is Deputy Director at the Urban Finance Research Institute of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).  She is also Deputy General Secretary of Green Finance Committee in China Society for Finance and Banking. In her role at ICBC Dr Yin has responsibility for research on financial theory and practice of commercial banks, green finance, economic circulation as well as development, credit risk, social and environmental risks and more.  She holds more than 16 years of experience in credit and investment management and is a recognised expert on credit policy, process design and risk management, particularly in the areas of personal consumption credit, real estate credit and SME credit. In recent years, Dr Yin has focused her work on green finance, stress testing the effect of environmental factors on the credit risk of commercial banks and in developing world leading ESG ratings and green indices. She is lead author on publications including The Case Study of Chinese Green Finance Development and Case Study of International Green Finance Development.  Dr Yin is a key figure working on the UK-China Climate and Environmental Disclosure pilot, a government supported initiative which supports enhanced information disclosure practice in both countries. Dr Yin holds a Phd in Economics.


Chair and Moderators (5)

Roula  Khalaf

Roula Khalaf

Deputy Editor
Financial Times

Roula Khalaf is the Deputy Editor of the Financial Times. In this role she provides strategic direction for the FT’s editorial coverage and its large global network of foreign correspondents. An award-winning journalist, she also writes a weekly column on international affairs. Prior to this role, she served as the FT’s Foreign Editor and Assistant Editor, responsible for overseeing the FT’s editorial coverage of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and the management of the FT’s international network. Her promotion to Foreign Editor came after she served for more than a decade as the FT's Middle East Editor, overseeing the launch of the FT's Middle East edition and leading coverage of the financial crisis in the Gulf and later the Arab spring. Ms Khalaf joined the FT in 1995 as North Africa correspondent and before that she was a staff writer for Forbes magazine in New York, where she focused on corporate reporting accounting. She holds a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University. Ms Khalaf's series on Qatar won the Foreign Press Association’s Feature story of the year in 2013 and she was named foreign commentator of the year at the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards in 2016. She appears regularly on national and international TV and radio.

Andrew England

Andrew England

Middle East Editor
Financial Times

Andrew England is the Financial Times Middle East Editor. He was previously Southern Africa bureau chief from 2011 to 2016, and prior to this he held other positions including Abu Dhabi bureau chief and Middle East and North Africa correspondent. He joined the Financial Times in 2004 as East Africa correspondent.

Before joining the FT, England was East Africa correspondent for the Associated Press, and before that he was a freelance journalist in Nairobi. He started his journalism career as a reporter on Investment Week Magazine.

England has a BA hons in politics and history from the University of the West of England, and a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism from City University.

In 1998 he won the Autif Trade Journalist of the Year Award.

Hadley Gamble

Hadley Gamble


Hadley Gamble anchors Capital Connection from CNBC’s Middle East Headquarters based within Abu Dhabi Global Markets. In addition, she also fronts CNBC’s popular documentary franchise, Access: Middle East with recent guests including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and HRH Princess Reema bin Bandar Al-Saud.   She has profiled some of the biggest names in business including Emaar Chairman Mohammed Alabbar, bitcoin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and the only Western investor to hold a telecom license in North Korea, billionaire Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris.  Hadley regularly reports for CNBC from the World Economic Forum in Davos, moderating panels on topics ranging from the geostrategic outlook for the Middle East to the future of education and infrastructure. She is a passionate advocate for women in the workplace and their advancement across the Arab world. She moderated the first ever women's business forum in Saudi Arabia and provided exclusive content to CNBC as the Kingdom lifted its decades-old driving ban.  An experienced journalist, Hadley has also worked for ABC News and Fox News in Washington, DC producing news programmes and covering national and international political events, including the 2008 Presidential Debates, Election Night 2008 and the Inauguration of US President Barack Obama.

James  King

James King

Africa and Middle East Editor
The Banker

James King is the Africa and Middle East Editor of The Banker. Prior to joining the magazine he worked for the economic research and consulting firm Oxford Business Group, in the United Arab Emirates and Thailand. He has also covered the global energy sector with The Oil & Gas Year, living and working in the US, Brazil, Canada and Peru. Mr King has a BA in International Relations from the University of Exeter and an MA from King’s College London.

Yuri Bender

Yuri Bender

PWM (Professional Wealth Management)

Yuri Bender is a journalist covering banking, asset management and capital markets. He has launched and edited several magazines and websites at the Financial Times group and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Professional Wealth Management global magazine, website and events hub. He moderates panel discussions on financial, business and cultural issues in Europe, the US, Middle East and Asia.  He has reported from Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine for the FT Wealth magazine and writes regularly for FTfm, the fund management section of the FT newspaper. He studied Investment Management at the London Business School and International Relations at Cambridge University, writing his thesis on the economics of armed conflict.


Agenda - 11th Mar

  • 8:00am
  • 8:50am
    Opening remarks

    Roula Khalaf, Deputy Editor, Financial Times

  • 9:00am
    Welcome from the DIFC

    His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor, Dubai International Financial Centre

  • 9:10am
    Economist Insight: Redefining growth for the 21st century

    As the global economic recovery finds its feet again, attention is now turning to the future.  Where are the opportunities and challenges in a world adapting to rapid technological advances, demographic shifts, evolving consumer behaviours and a greater focus on sustainability?  With technology continuing to radically change the way firms do business, is there any limit to how innovation can deliver competitive advantage? How important is it to find the balance between achieving productivity gains through technology vs. old school consumerism and infrastructure investment?

    Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times 

  • 10:10am
    Leaders’ View: Repositioning today for tomorrow’s opportunities

    Complacency is not an option for CEOs on the hunt for growth and new business. What will differentiate the leaders from the laggards in a world still in recovery mode, being buffeted by diverging monetary policies and changing trade dynamics?  Which markets and regions offer the greatest potential in the next 5 to 10 years?  How are business models evolving as new forces in technology, competition and regulation emerge to redefine the future of finance? How is digital innovation being employed to build market share in new and emerging markets?

    Yuanzheng Cao, Chairman, BOCI Research Company

    Sir Gerry Grimstone, Past Chairman, Barclays Bank and Standard Life Aberdeen

    Sammy Kayello, Chairman and CEO, Middle East and North Africa, Morgan Stanley

    Sunil Kaushal, Regional Chief Executive Officer, Africa and Middle East, Standard Chartered

    Shayne Nelson, Group CEO, Emirates NBD

    Moderator: Roula Khalaf, Deputy Editor, Financial Times 

  • 10:50am
    Morning refreshments
  • 11:20am
    Dialogue: Realising the Potential of Corporate Banking in the Region

    With solid growth returning to the UAE and the broader region, the outlook is positive for the business of corporate banking.  Which sectors and markets are showing the greatest potential from the view point of corporates and bankers? Are investment plans being advanced or is caution still the watchword as economic recovery gains momentum? Are banks seeing a rise in demand for debt, and to what extent is the promise of Belt and Road Initiative a driver?  As businesses starts to plan again for the future, what do they need from their bank and how are new entrants, technological advances and shifting regulation changing the relationship dynamic?

    Naveed Kamal, Head Corporate Banking Middle East and North Africa, Citi

    Asif Raza, Head of Corporate Banking MENA, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia and CIS, J.P. Morgan

    Hong Yin, Deputy Head of Urban Finance Research Institute, ICBC

    Moderator: James King, Africa and Middle East Editor, The Banker

  • 12:00pm
    Investor Insight: Finding Opportunity in MEASA

    The MEASA region, home to a population of about 3 billion, is growing evermore compelling for investors as it continues to deliver strong growth and investment prospects.  How should investors navigate this high potential market, and what are the best routes to access it – listed or unlisted, direct or indirect? Where will the best value be found in the year ahead, against a background of wider fragility in emerging markets?  How does the MEASA region differ from other emerging/frontier investment opportunities?

    Christophe Charlier, Chairman, Renaissance Capital

    Vivek Kudva, Managing Director, Head of EMEA and India, Franklin Templeton Investments

    Karim El Solh, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Capital 

    Mouayed Makhlouf, Director, Middle East and North Africa, IFC, World Bank Group

    Moderator: Andrew England, Middle East Editor, Financial Times

  • 12:45pm
  • 2:00pm
    Fireside Chat

    Mark Mobius, Partner, Mobius Capital Partners

    in conversation with Yuri Bender, Editor-in-Chief, PWM (Private Wealth Management), Financial Times

  • 2:20pm
    Wealth Leaders Discussion: New Customers, Markets, Technologies

    Led by the DIFC, Dubai’s wealth managers continue to lead in the provision of financial services to High Net Worth Individuals around the region.  Opportunities abound for wealth and asset managers in this market, but how can they capitalise on the potential and reap the benefits? How important is it to be agile in product development and service provision?  To what extent can digital tools, from robo-advice to AI, be combined with the human touch to deliver a more personalised, transparent and collaborative proposition, and particularly in complex investing situations? 

    Rémy Bersier, Head of Emerging Markets, Member of Executive Board, Bank Julius Baer & Co Ltd

    Christine Novakovic, Head of Wealth Management, Europe, Middle East and Africa, UBS

    Nik Joharris Bin Nik Ahmad, Executive Vice President; Head, Advisory, Innovation & Centre of Excellence, Maybank Islamic Berhad

    Bahren Shaari, Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Singapore

    Moderator: Yuri Bender, Editor-in-Chief, PWM (Private Wealth Management), Financial Times

  • 3:00pm
    Islamic Finance – navigating the next phase of growth

    Appetite for Islamic finance is growing, outpacing its conventional counterparts in its home markets.  This is a sector ripe with potential, as new Shari’ah compliant products and structures emerge, and penetration across developing and developed economies increases.  The sector, however, faces a number of challenges to meet the growing demand, and effectively compete against traditional banks.  What steps are being taken to harmonise and standardise regulatory approach to provide a level playing field for Islamic financial services?  How can Islamic finance providers effectively leverage fintech and digital transformation to enhance their offering and streamline operations? 

    Presentation by:

    Dato’ Mohamed Rafique Merican,  Group Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Banking, Maybank; Chief Executive Officer, Maybank Islamic Berhad

    Followed by fireside chat:

    Dato’ Mohamed Rafique Merican,  Group Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Banking, Maybank

    H.E. Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC)

    Moderator: James King, Africa and Middle East Editor, The Banker

  • 3:30pm
    Opinion: Reaching Out – Unlocking rewards from financial inclusion

    A third of the world’s population don’t have a bank account – 2.5 billion people, and many are based in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.  This is an opportunity too great to be missed, and a corporate social responsibility that can no longer be ignored.  Technology and the rise of bank and non-bank competitors, who recognise this unprecedented opportunity, are already moving to capture this vast market.  On top of this there is growing pressure from investors, pension funds and insurers to close this CSR gap, for the greater global good.  Doing nothing could mean lost market share, foregone revenue, missed opportunity and reputational risk.  This session will explore the steps financial institutions need to take to unlock the rewards, both social and business, from greater financial inclusion. 

    David Evans, Chief of Global Philanthropy, UNICEF

    David Lubinski, Senior Program Officer for Payment Infrastructure, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

    Harsha Rodrigues, Chief Strategy Officer, Women’s World Banking

    Moderator: Hadley Gamble, Anchor, CNBC

  • 4:00pm
    Tomorrow’s Innovation Today: Top 10 FinTech Predictions for 2019 and Beyond

    As technology revolutionises the finance industry, this session will forecast the next wave of innovation in this fast moving and exciting field – looking at the rise and rise of RegTech and InsurTech, the evolution of digital currencies, developments in AI and payments, and more.

    Keynote introduction: Nicolas Cary, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman, Blockchain

    Followed by panel discussion featuring:

    Navin Gupta, Managing Director South Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Ripple

    Jonathan Larsen, Chief Innovation Officer, Ping An Group

    Pawel Stefanski, Financial Services Sector Leader, Middle East and Africa, IBM

    Moderator: Yuri Bender, Editor-in-Chief, PWM (Private Wealth Management), Financial Times

  • 4:45pm
    Closing remarks

    Roula Khalaf, Deputy Editor, Financial Times

  • 4:50pm
    Networking Reception for Speakers and Delegates
  • 6:00pm
    Close of event

Why Attend

Join us at this comprehensive forum and benefit from:

  • Perspectives from finance industry leaders on driving growth in today's global economy
  • Strategies to successfully expand into the high potential markets of the MEASA region
  • Insights on growth opportunities in corporate banking, wealth and asset management, real estate and infrastructure, FinTech and more
  • Debate on the factors shaping the future of finance, including competition, innovative technologies and regulation

Who Attends

The event will bring together senior regulators and policy makers, economists, c-suite executives and sector heads from major international and regional financial institutions including banks, asset and wealth management firms, private equity funds, FinTech, advisory firms and more.

Attendance is complimentary, subject to meeting the above criteria and approval from the publisher.



Madinat Jumeirah
Conferences and Events Centre
Al Sufouh Road
Dubai - United Arab Emirates



In order to view live availability for nearby accommodation please click here.


Presented By (1)

The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT has a record paying readership of one million, three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community.

Organised By (1)

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s top financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. The Centre provides a world-class platform connecting the region’s markets with the economies of Europe, Asia and the Americas and facilitates growth in South-South trade and investment. An onshore, international financial centre, DIFC offers a stable, mature and secure base for financial institutions to develop their wholesale businesses.

The Centre offers all the elements found in the world’s most successful financial industry ecosystems, including an independent regulator and judicial system with a common-law framework, a global financial exchange, inspiring architecture, powerful, enabling support services and a vibrant business community. The infrastructure within the district features ultra-modern office space, retail outlets, cafes and restaurants, art galleries, residential apartments, public green areas and hotels.

Located midway between the global financial centres of New York, London in the West and Singapore, Hong Kong in the East, DIFC (GMT +4) fills a vital time-zone gap with a workday that bridges the market and business hours of financial centres in both Asia and North America.

In 2015, DIFC launched its 2024 growth strategy, a blueprint for the next decade of growth of the financial hub. This strategy aims to stimulate trade and investment flows along the South-South economic corridor encompassing the Middle East, Africa, Southern Asia and Latin America.

Currently, 2,003 active registered companies operate from the Centre, with a combined workforce of 22,768 professionals.

DIFC continues to pursue expansion into new services and sectors within the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, an area comprising over 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and nominal GDP of US$7.7 trillion.

For further information, please visit our website:, or follow us on Twitter @DIFC.

Platinum Sponsors (2)

Maybank Islamic Berhad, a subsidiary of the Malaysia-based Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank) is the largest Islamic banking player in the Asia Pacific region and one of the top 5 in the world, in terms of asset size. Established on 1 January 2008, it aims to meet the challenging developments in the Islamic Banking world and Islamic financial needs with its wide range of products and services, now available through 8 dedicated branches and co-located across all 454 Maybank branches in Malaysia, 388 branches in Indonesia, 21 branches in Singapore as well more than 50 touchpoints in Hong Kong and London.

In Malaysia, it holds a market share of 34% of Islamic financing and 30% of deposit and investment account of deposit as at Financial Year ended December 2017. For the same period, its total assets stood at USD50 billion, a growth of 11% year-on-year. As an entity operating on a dual-banking platform, Maybank Islamic is regarded as the most successful Islamic subsidiary bank leveraging on its parent bank’s infrastructure and resources. In 2017, the bank contributed to 56.9% of the Group’s financing assets.

Moving forward, the Bank will continue to leverage on its position as the leading bank in ASEAN to further intensify cross-border linkages within the region, the Middle East and key financial centres across the world. 

Standard Chartered

We are a leading international banking group, with a presence in more than 60 of the world’s most dynamic markets. Our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity through our unique diversity, and our heritage and values are expressed in our brand promise, Here for good.

Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.

For more stories and expert opinions please visit Insights at Follow Standard Chartered on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook

Gold Sponsors (2)

IBM has been operating in the Middle East since 1947, when it installed the first computer in the region over 70 years ago. It has been playing a vital role in shaping the region’s information technology landscape. 
Today, IBM is a leading cloud platform and AI solutions company and is continuously transforming its business to address the emerging needs of businesses and societies and help customers and partners accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

IG is a world-leading1 online trading provider, giving clients access to thousands of financial markets through intuitive platforms and apps. Clients can trade the markets on leverage, through CFDs. These products allow you to find opportunity in both rising and falling markets and aren’t confined to one asset class – you can choose to trade CFDs on indices, forex, shares, commodities and more.

Founded in 1974 as the first company of its kind and has been at the forefront of its industry ever since, IG is a member of the FTSE 250, with offices across Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and the US. More than 195,000 traders across the globe trust us to handle their trades and IG processes a total of almost 8 million transactions per month2

1Largest retail CFD provider by revenue (excluding FX). Source: Published financial statements, February 2018

2Average for FY17

IG is a trading name of IG limited a company registered at 2702 & 2703 level 27, Tower 2, Al Fattan Currency House, DIFC, United Arab Emirates. IG is authorised and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority under firm’s reference No. (F001780).

Partner Publications (3)

The Banker provides economic and financial intelligence for the world's financial sector and has built a reputation for objective and incisive reporting. It leads the debate on all the issues surrounding the global banking industry, providing in-depth news and analysis, exclusive interviews with senior industry figures and definitive regional bank listings, including the internationally acclaimed Top 1000 World Banks.

fDi Magazine is firmly established as the leading title for the business of globalisation. Published bi-monthly with an ABC audited circulation of active corporate readers, fDi Magazine provides senior decision-makers with an up-to-date image of the ever-changing global investment map. Register for a free one-year print subscription to fDi Magazine.

Published by the Financial Times, Professional Wealth Management (PWM) specialises in analysing the growth strategies of private banks and the regional financial centres in which they operate.PWM carries the latest analysis of private banks, wealth managers and regional financial centres, along with in-depth reporting on asset allocation, the fast moving regulatory agenda, digital operations and technology, with input from a broad range of thought leaders.PWM is devoted to analysing the delivery of wealth solutions to private clients and entrepreneurial families. This can be through traditional banks, private investment or family offices and increasingly robo-advisers. PWM is also helping financial institutions to set up relevant distribution and advice models in developing markets such as the Middle East and parts of Asia and Latin America. Register for a free print subscription to receive PWM bi-monthly.

Supporting Partners (4)

The Kuwait Banking Association (KBA) was declared on May 16, 2001 based on Ministerial Resolution No. 82 for the year 2001, to replace the Kuwait Banking Committee established on December 12, 1981, pursuant to an agreement among the Chairmen of local banks, to strengthen their cooperation, facilitate coordination in addressing their common issues, enable them to keep abreast with developments in banking systems, and raise their employees standards.  

The African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association is the pan-African industry body which promotes and enables private investment in Africa.

AVCA plays a significant role as a champion and effective change agent for the industry, educating, equipping and connecting members and stakeholders with independent industry research, best practice training programmes, and exceptional networking opportunities.

With a global and growing member base, AVCA members span private equity and venture capital firms, institutional investors, foundations and endowments, pension funds, international development finance institutions, professional service firms, academia, and other associations.

This diverse membership is united by a common purpose: to be part of the Africa growth story.


The Business Year (TBY) is a global media group specializing in economic news, research on national economies, and business intelligence across emerging markets. With operations in over 35 countries, we bring first-hand insights to investors, businesses, and governments worldwide.

Dubai Business Events is the official convention bureau for Dubai. As a division of Dubai Tourism our main goal is to establish Dubai as a premier business event destination by promoting the destination and attracting international meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions that can help grow economic development, jobs and knowledge creation in the Emirate.

With in-depth knowledge of Dubai, its unique culture, world-class convention venues and the specific requirements of the business event industry, we offer free and impartial advice, guidance and support to international business event organisers in planning international meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. And as a member of the BestCities Global Alliance, we guarantee the highest level of service.

Contact Us

Rachel Jones
Head of Project Management
Financial Times
Brunswick [Dubai]
Media Enquries
Luke McGreevy
Head of Commercial - Middle East and Africa
Financial Times
Yvonne Hynes
Speaking Opportunities
Financial Times