Arab News partners with BMG Financial for high-level Saudi investment forum

Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News, left, and Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group, Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini.
Updated 10 July 2018
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Arab News partners with BMG Financial for high-level Saudi investment forum

  • International investors and global private equity fund managers will also attend the 12th BMG Economic Forum
  • The theme of the forum is ‘Invest In Saudi’

DUBAI: Investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia will top the agenda at a high-level meeting in Britain next week of government officials, regulators, and industry chiefs.

International investors and global private equity fund managers will also attend the 12th BMG Economic Forum, held in partnership with Arab News, on July 11 at the London Stock Exchange. The BMG Summer Retreat will conclude the following day with the BMG Foundation Polo Cup at Cambridge County Polo Club, where Arab News will host the participants’ lunch traditionally attended by British and Saudi royalty and other dignitaries. 

This year’s theme for the annual forum is “Invest in the Saudi Vision 2030 — opportunities for UK and European companies.”  It is a unique gathering to discuss Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future and the status of issues such as the Kingdom’s “giga projects,” the Aramco IPO, and geopolitics.

The chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group, Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini, who will make the opening remarks at the forum, said: “At the event this year, we are expecting many business leaders, senior officials, very high-profile delegates, those from emerging markets and several fund managers to attend.

“The theme of the forum is “Invest In Saudi,” as under Vision 2030 we have seen the launch of several 'giga projects’ by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, aimed at diversifying the Kingdom’s economy. At this event visitors can expect to hear updates of what is happening in Saudi Arabia from professionals from different business sectors in the country.”

Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s blueprint for its future, was announced in April 2016 and aims not only to diversify the economy and address the challenges brought by low global energy prices, but also to implement far-reaching social and lifestyle changes. 

Vision 2030 will underpin discussions at the forum, which will be given extra gravitas by its location — the London Stock Exchange. "It will be an excellent platform to promote Saudi Arabia in such a professional setting,” Al-Ghalayini said. “Any platform to promote Saudi Arabia is value-added.”

The event follows news that the Saudi stock market will join FTSE Russell’s emerging market index in March 2019, a move expected to attract billions of dollars of fresh foreign portfolio investment to the Kingdom. 

“We expect a lot of Saudi and Gulf investors,” said Al-Ghalayini. “It is a timely opportunity to have this platform to promote the country.”

Senior Saudi officials, international sovereign fund officials, emerging fund managers, CEOs, investment bankers, and lawyers are among the speakers at the forum.

Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News, who will also address the forum, said: “With the massive transformation happening in Saudi Arabia as Vision 2030 attempts to diversify the economy away from oil, we are very happy to be partnering with BMG capital to host this business conference at the London Stock Exchange to shed light on challenges and the emerging opportunities currently available in the Kingdom."

Other key speakers are Donald Brydon, chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group; Yaser Alshareef, CEO of the Jabal Omar Development Company; and Carmen Haddad, CEO of Citigroup Saudi Arabia.


Britain unveils “short and sharper” code for companies

Updated 38 min 18 sec ago
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Britain unveils “short and sharper” code for companies

  • The new code emphasises the need for boards to refresh themselves, become diverse and plan properly for replacing top jobs
  • Company remuneration committees should also take into account workforce pay when setting director pay

LONDON: Companies in Britain must strive to rein in excessive executive pay and make boards more diverse under a new “short and sharper” corporate code, published on Monday.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has updated its code of corporate standards for publicly listed companies, which must comply with it or explain to shareholders if they do not.
The new code comes as the watchdog, which oversees company governance standards and accountants, faces a review to see if it can uphold high corporate standards to maintain Britain’s attractions as a place to invest after Brexit.
British lawmakers have called for tougher corporate govenance standards following a row between food retailer Tesco and its suppliers and the collapse of retailer BHS and outsourcer Carillion. And shareholders have become much more active in terms of rejecting some executive pay deals.
“To make sure the UK moves with the times, the new code considers economic and social issues and will help to guide the long-term success of UK businesses,” FRC Chairman Win Bischoff said.
“This new code, in its short and sharper form, and with its overarching theme of trust, is paramount in promoting transparency and integrity in business for society as a whole.”
There is a new provision for greater board engagement with the workforce to understand their views — aimed at reinforcing an existing provision in law since 2006 which has had a patchy impact.
This, along with a requiremnent to have “whistleblowing” mechanisms that allow directors and staff to raise concerns for effective investigation, mark the biggest broadening of corporate standards in many years, the FRC said.
“The new code is much stronger on abilities to raise concerns in confidence,” said David Styles, FRC director of corporate governance.
It also emphasises the need for boards to refresh themselves, become diverse and plan properly for replacing top jobs.
It introduces a requirement for companies to explain publicly if a board chair has remain unchanged for more than nine years.
Company remuneration committees should also take into account workforce pay when setting director pay.
“To address public concern over executive remuneration... formulaic calculations of performance-related pay should be rejected,” the watchdog said.