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Banking and Capital Markets, Finance

Global Financial Forum

Unlocking Growth in a Changing World

Dubai |
Speakers include:
H.E. Essa  Kazim

H.E. Essa Kazim

Dubai International Financial Centre

Martin Wolf CBE

Martin Wolf CBE

Financial Times

Christine Novakovic

Christine Novakovic



Bringing 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 08:50:0003/11/2019 18:05:00trueGlobal Financial ForumBringing 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

2017 photos

View photos from the 2017 event here.



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 (13)

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 Chief Economics Commentator and an Associate Editor 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. His book The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis was published by Penguin in 2014.

Mr Wolf is an honorary fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University and King’s College, London. In 2014, he was made a University Global Fellow of Columbia University, New York 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 was joint winner of the Wincott Foundation senior prize for excellence in financial journalism for 1989 and again for 1997. He won the RTZ David Watt memorial prize for 1994 and the “Commentator of the Year” award at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards of 2008. He was placed 15th in Foreign Policy’s list of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” in December 2009 and the “Ludwig Erhard Prize for economic commentary” for 2009. He won “Commentariat of the Year 2009” at the Comment Awards, the 33rd Ischia International Journalism Prize in 2012 and the Overseas Press Club of America’s prize for “best commentary on international news in any medium” for 2013.

Mr Wolf is also the author of Why Globalization Works (Yale University Press, 2004) and Fixing Global Finance (Washington D.C: Johns Hopkins University Press, and London: Yale University Press, 2008 and 2010). China Business News named Fixing Global Finance its “Financial Book of the Year” for 2009.

Mr Wolf was educated at Oxford University.

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.

Cory Johnson

Cory Johnson

Chief Market Strategist

Cory Johnson is the Chief Market Strategist of Ripple. In his current role, he is focused on managing the company’s growth and telling Ripple’s story to regulators, Wall Street and global financial markets. Prior to Ripple, he worked as a hedge fund portfolio manager at Kingsford Capital Management and journalist at Bloomberg and CNBC covering high-growth technology companies. Earlier in his career Mr Johnson ushered in many startups, including, the Industry Standard, SLAM and Vibe magazines.

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.

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.

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.

Vivek Kudva

Vivek Kudva

Managing Director, Head of Europe, Middle East, Africa 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

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, Payment Infrastructure, Financial Services for the Poor (FSP)
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.


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 & Africa News Editor
Financial Times

Andrew England is the Financial Times Middle East & Africa News 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 has edited and launched a variety of titles at the Financial Times group and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Professional Wealth Management global magazine, website and events hub. He moderates panels on financial, business and cultural issues in Europe, the US and Asia, has reported from many developing countries and writes regularly for the FT newspaper on investment issues, including opportunities and challenges in Ukraine.  He studied Investment Management at the London Business School and International Relations at Cambridge University, where he wrote his thesis on the economics of conflict in eastern Ukraine.


Agenda - 11th Mar

  • 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?

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

    Moderator: Roula Khalaf, Deputy Editor, Financial Times 

  • 11:00am
    Morning refreshments
  • 11:30am
    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?

    Atiq Uhr Rehman, Chief Executive Officer, Middle East and Africa, Citi

    Shaikha Al Bahar, Deputy Group CEO, National Bank of Kuwait

    Asif Raza, Head of Corporate Banking MENAT, JP Morgan

    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?

    Vivek Kudva, Managing Director of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, Franklin Templeton Investments

    Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Partner, Private Equity, Gulf Capital 

    Moderator: Andrew England, Middle East Editor, Financial Times

  • 12:30pm
    Discussion: Investing in Real Assets in the region

    MEASA is a region in which there is still a huge shortfall in infrastructure and housing. The funding deficit, estimated at over US$500bn annually, is driving efforts to develop new structures and mechanisms that reduce risk, boost incentives and generally promote private sector participation.  This session looks at how the market is evolving, and considers different funding mechanisms including bank financing, capital markets and blended options. Is China’s Belt and Road Initiative paving the way?

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

  • 1:10pm
    Keynote: 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? 

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

  • 1:30pm
  • 2:30pm
    The View from Sovereign Wealth

    Though the global economy is now performing well, the outlook is tinged with caution.  How are SWFs in the region adapting to the new environment for investment? What dialogues are taking place between the funds and their respective governments as they navigate this uncertain cycle? How are they looking to engage with the global asset management industry?  What areas of the global investment horizon present the best prospects for returns?

  • 2:50pm
    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, Emerging Markets, Member of the Executive Board, Bank Julius Baer

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

    Bahren Shaari, Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Singapore

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

  • 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, Global Philanthropy, UNICEF

    David Lubinski, Senior Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

    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.

    Jonathan Larsen, Chief Innovation Officer, Ping An Insurance

    Cory Johnson, Chief Market Strategist, Ripple

  • 4:30pm
    Closing remarks from the FT and DIFC
  • 4:40pm
    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
Al Sufouh Road
Dubai - United Arab Emirates


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 marks 130 years in 2018 with a record paying readership of more than 940,000, 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)

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.

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Maybank is among Asia's leading banking groups and South East Asia’s fourth largest bank by assets. The Maybank Group has an international network of over 2,200 offices in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, People's Republic of China, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Laos, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, Great Britain and the United States of America.  The Group offers an extensive range of products and services, which includes consumer and corporate banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, stock broking, insurance and takaful and asset management. It has over 43,000 employees worldwide. 

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 Partner (1)

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.

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Rachel Jones
Head of Project Management
Financial Times
Nadine Abdel Khalek
Media Enquries
DIFC Authority
Luke McGreevy
Head of Commercial - Middle East and Africa
Financial Times
Yvonne Hynes
Speaking Opportunities
Financial Times