The Financial Sector Conference
Last week I was honored to moderate a panel titled “Optimizing the Kingdom’s Capital Market Potential through Infrastructure Development & Product Diversification,” at Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Financial Sector Conference (FSC) organized by the Ministry of Finance, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority and the Capital Market Authority.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you my experience, shed some light on how such conferences and events impact our financial sector and economy as a whole, and finally express how proud I am to have taken part in such a pioneering financial forum.
Aimed at becoming the pre-eminent financial sector event in the region, I truly believe that this conference, which is part of the Financial Sector Development Program (and part of the Saudi Vision 2030), will succeed in increasing our financial sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) by helping to build a diversified and stable financial sector. It will also aid developing a sophisticated financial market, through enabling different sectors within the financial services industry to meet and communicate under one roof, exchange experiences and discuss challenges and best practices.
The FSC hosted over 4,000 participants from 80 countries, with 21 main sessions. An additional 179 bilateral meetings were held, with 22 agreements signed. The Ministry of Finance, meanwhile, took the opportunity to announce 2019’s first quarter (Q1) results, which showed a surplus of $7.42 billion, demonstrating the feasibility of the economic reforms undertaken by Saudi Arabia in light of Vision 2030.
Revenues achieved a new growth rate during Q1, at about 48 percent, and expenditure levels increased 8 percent compared with the same period in 2018. Many finance elites have expressed their confidence in our economy and the “great opportunities” our country still has to offer.
Creating a platform for financial industry leaders to meet is incredibly powerful. I should know — we at BMG Financial Group have been organizing financial forums for the past 15 years, “BMG Summer Retreat,” to serve as a platform for Saudi and international experts to interact, share experiences, and tackle the investment opportunities available in the Kingdom. Since ours take place in London in association with the London Stock Exchange, we have been using the forum as a platform to promote the giga projects, which were introduced by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, to international financiers and investors.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the organizers of the FSC on their outstanding preparations and efforts to launch such a world-class event. Moving forward, I believe that the conference will become the largest financial platform in the Middle East, through its role in supporting innovation, forging partnerships and building relationships between financial institutions and investors.
• Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.