Lack of transparency must be addressed to progress Middle East Financial Markets

ICA Conference in Dubai to discuss importance of GCC sovereign wealth funds

photo caption: Colin Ellis: “Greater transparency would bolster investor confidence”

Two leading financial analysts have highlighted the vital need for greater transparency in the current Middle East economic climate, particularly in light of the growing importance of GCC Sovereign Wealth Funds.

Colin Ellis, Managing Director and Chief Credit Officer EMEA at Moody’s Investors Service, and Rachel Pether, CFA Charterholder and a Senior Advisor to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, have both earmarked a lack of transparency as one of the main issues impacting the economic industry in the region today.

Speaking ahead of their panel discussion on sovereign wealth funds at the ICA Conference in Dubai, which runs from 22-25 November at the Sofitel The Palm, Colin Ellis said: “Greater transparency around progress made and challenges faced so far, both good and less good news, along with flexibility from policymakers would bolster investor confidence about the long-term outlook for the region.”

The four day 42nd ICA Conference and exhibition is organised by the UAE Financial Markets Association in collaboration with the International Cambist Association (ICA) and strategic partner Emirates NBD. The conference will be inaugurated by Mohammed Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Financial Markets Association and Tamer Khalifa, Chairman of the ICA.

Moderated by Claudia Maedler, Bureau Chief at Bloomberg News, the session ‘Prized Assets: the increasing importance of GCC Sovereign Wealth Funds’ will address the larger role SWFs play in the financial and real economy and the knock-on implications. Joining Colin Ellis and Rachel Pether on the panel will be Dr Celeste Cecilia Moles Lo Turco, Vice President Strategy, Future Holding.

Ellis added: “Transparency, investment strategies and the ‘soft power’ effects from SWFs are all live issues. But the ultimate goals of these funds can be multi-faceted, which raises complex questions about prioritisation and independence.”

Outlining what delegates can expect from the session, Rachel Pether said: “We will be discussing the importance of SWFs for regional development, their role in the global financial markets and how a changing macro-economic environment is impacting investment strategies.


“Geopolitical risk remains a concern in the region, and a lack of transparency still acts as a hindrance to foreign direct investment. Recent moves at government level, however, have shown that poor governance will not be tolerated, and this has a huge impact across the region.”

Led by a key note presentation by Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the United States from 2012 to 2016, the 42nd ICA Conference features an unrivalled panel of experts from the region and around the world, who will speak under the theme ‘Bracing for Change’.

photo caption: Rachel Pether, CFA Charterholder and former Chartered Treasurer at Mubadala Investment Company and a speaker at the upcoming ICA Conference in Dubai


Other experts include Christopher Dembik, head macro analyst at SAXO Bank; Huw Pill, Chief European economist and co-head of the European Economics team at Global Investment Research; Jennifer Hansen, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Sales Strategy and Execution at SAXO Markets; João Pedro Goncalves, Financial Economist, LSE UNDP; Carla Slim, Chief Economist at Standard Chartered Bank; Michael Creed, Senior Manager, Policy and Strategy, Dubai Financial Services Authority; Chelsea Rustrum, author and publisher from San Francisco, among many others.

The 42nd ICA Conference is supported by Strategic Partner Emirates NBD, Gold Sponsors FAB (First Abu Dhabi Bank), ICAP Middle East and Murex, Silver Sponsors ADIB and Tullett Liberty (Bahrain) and Bronze Sponsor SAXO MARKETS. More information on registering to attend is available on

Lindsay Johnston / Hanae Ouakrime, Total Communications Dubai – also photos

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