FII is back in action — virtually!

FII is back in action — virtually!

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Last week I participated in a Public Investment Fund (PIF) first Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute virtual event. It was eye-opening and insightful, with sessions highlighting the most important lessons being learned from the global COVID-19 crisis.
This event marked the start of the FII Institute’s virtual meetings series with thought leaders from politics, business, banking, and academia discussing and debating the outlook beyond the pandemic. These events will also explore the potential of cutting-edge innovation and technology to help the global economy deal with the crisis.
More than 2,500 people participated online from over 94 countries. They listened to officials and thought leaders, who also make up the board of the FII Institute, including: Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the PIF; Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia; Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US; Matteo Renzi, former prime minister of Italy; Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock; Tony Chan, president of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Peter Diamandis, founder of XPRIZ; Ghada Almutairi, co-director of the Center for Excellence in Nanomedicine and Engineering at the University of California; Tidjane Thiam, African Union special envoy on COVID-19; and Richard Attias, CEO of the FII Institute.
Everyone has learned their own lessons dealing with this crisis. For me, I can say for sure that my personal and business life will be different after it. Speaking of technology, with the availability of different conference meetings apps, my hectic traveling schedule most likely will be cut in half. Like all of us during the past few weeks I ended spending more time working out of home than the office. But what is so unexpected is to find the work quality has been more efficient. Technology has made and will make a big impact on my future business life.
On the financial side many investors are experiencing their first substantial downturn in the market as a result of this crisis since 2009. These days investors are asking if they should move to cash or residential real estate, not office or bonds. Obviously investors, individuals or institutional, have their own risk tolerance, time frame, and investment objectives before deciding where to invest. Choosing investments simply because they’ve done well in the past may not apply this time around. The interview with Larry Fink was an excellent insight from the CEO of the world’s largest asset manager on the dynamics of asset allocation strategies post-crisis.
In my opinion, as someone who has participated in the world’s major annual meetings including the World Bank, IMF and Davos, I must admit that the FII Institute has established itself in a league of its own and is one of the PIF’s most noticeable achievements.

Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.

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