Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh set to bring together global investment decision-makers and leaders

The summit will focus on creating job opportunities for young Saudis by fostering the development of a skilled and talented workforce for the hospitality sector. (SPA)
The summit will focus on creating job opportunities for young Saudis by fostering the development of a skilled and talented workforce for the hospitality sector. (SPA)
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Updated 07 May 2023
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Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh set to bring together global investment decision-makers and leaders

Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh set to bring together global investment decision-makers and leaders
  • Three-day conference will be The Bench’s sixth industry conference for the Saudi market

RIYADH: Global investment decision-makers and leaders are set to gather at the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh to exchange knowledge and explore new partnerships. The summit will be held at Al Faisaliah Hotel from May 7-9.
This year’s conference theme, “Invest in Change,” will emphasize the importance of the positive change that can be brought about by investing in time, intellect and experience to keep up with changing times and trends in order to better influence the hospitality industry’s future.
The three-day conference will be British business events firm The Bench’s sixth industry conference for the Saudi market. It will highlight how to promote the development of Saudi Arabia’s hospitality industry as a vital contributor to the Kingdom’s economic diversification and encourage investment in the tourism industry by showcasing its potential and prospects.




The summit will focus on creating job opportunities for young Saudis by fostering the development of a skilled and talented workforce for the hospitality sector. (SPA)

Furthermore, the summit will focus on creating job opportunities for young Saudis by fostering the development of a skilled and talented workforce for the hospitality sector. It will also emphasize the importance of establishing relationships between the government, business sector and academics to achieve long-term growth in the hospitality industry.
“The demand for our hospitality events in Saudi Arabia continues to grow and with the Kingdom named as the fastest-expanding tourism industry within the G20 countries in the UN World Tourism Organization Tourism Barometer, there will be so much to share about tourism and hospitality investment and development at FHS Saudi Arabia this year,” said Jonathan Worsley, chairman of The Bench.

FASTFACT

This year’s conference theme, “Invest in Change,” will emphasize the importance of the positive change that can be brought about by investing in time, intellect and experience to keep up with changing times and trends in order to better influence the hospitality industry’s future.

The event, which will also feature in-depth discussions about the Kingdom’s cultural legacy and natural assets in order to market it as a prime tourist and business travel destination, is expected to draw 750 delegates from 40 countries and 300 companies.
The official opening of the 2023 edition of FHS Saudi Arabia will take place on May 8 with welcome remarks by Prince Bandar bin Saud bin Khalid, secretary general of the King Faisal Foundation and chairman of the board of directors of Al Khozama, Saudi Arabia’s leading hospitality, property investment, development, and management company.
“The Future Hospitality Summit is in a unique standing, as it is the only investment conference focusing on the hospitality and tourism sector in Saudi Arabia,” Jana Bader, general manager at The Bench in Riyadh, told Arab News.
She added: “FHS is a platform that brings international opportunities to the Saudi market, and Saudi market opportunities to the whole world. Of significance is also the fact that, unlike other conferences, FHS is specifically aimed at investors with a networking power to connect them with the right opportunities and to build relationships that last.”
The first day will be dedicated to the Global Restaurant Investment Forum, which focuses on food and beverage investment and development in the Kingdom and beyond.

Unlike other conferences, the summit is specifically aimed at investors with a networking power to connect them with the right opportunities and to build relationships that last.

Jana Bader, The Bench general manager

The first plenary session will cover a wide range of topics, including the evolution of the Saudi hospitality sector with a market snapshot in the FHS Intelligence Den, a panel discussion on the reinvention of hospitality space, a discussion on the use of immersive technologies such as artificial intelligence and the metaverse, and the business of luxury and well-being in a changing world.
“The Saudi market is bursting with opportunities within different sectors; be it real estate, aviation, food and beverage or hospitality. All those sectors work together and create a smart city ecosystem to cater to the next generation as well as to diversify the country’s economic revenue streams,” Bader explained.
Among others, the fully Public Investment Fund-owned Rua Al Madinah Holding’s CEO Ahmed bin Wasl Al-Juhani will join a panel discussion at FHS. “The flagship project of Rua Al Madinah Holding is the development of the area east of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah,” the curtain-raiser press release quoted Al-Juhani as saying.
He stated that the project will add 47,000 hotel rooms, ranging from five-star facilities with direct views of the mosque to two-star lodgings that accommodate a wide range of guests with varying needs and preferences.
“The project aims to enrich the experience of expected 30 million visitors by the year 2030 aligned with the Vision 2030 target,” Al-Juhani added.
A panel discussion on the conference’s core theme will also take place during which industry experts will offer their perspectives on how they are investing in transformation.




Jana Bader, The Bench general manager

Wrapping up the first day there will be a networking reception by The Radisson Hotel Group at Mansard Riyadh, which is a Radisson Collection hotel.
Future hotel development and investment will be the main topic of discussion on the last day of FHS Saudi Arabia.
Among the topics to be discussed are attracting investment in the hospitality industry to accelerate expansion and fuel a sustainable future; destination and hotel development in Saudi Arabia; the evolution of investing in holistic hospitality and activating innovation; and acceleration and investment and urbanization as well as the development of new cities.
Ian Wilson, regional director of hospitality for The Line at NEOM, will take part in a panel discussion about how the hotel, retail and F&B industries are combining to provide customers more value.
Furthermore, Aseel Bondagjy, development lead at NEOM, and Mae Al-Mozaini, founder and CEO of The Arab Institute for Women’s Empowerment, Nusf, which is a Saudi-based institute focusing on empowering women in executive positions, will be on a panel discussing how to inspire the following generation of workers, where to educate them, and where to find talent.
Additionally, two-stage case studies will be covered, underlining the Kingdom’s lifestyle funds and how the public and private sectors are cooperating to make Vision 2030 a reality.
The final stop on FHS Saudi Arabia will be Diriyah Gate, a 7 sq. km mixed-use historic, cultural and lifestyle attraction that is slated to become the historical and cultural hub of the Kingdom.
New at FHS Saudi Arabia this year is the ‘Battle of the Brands.’ A platform for innovative and sustainable hotel concepts, the event will be assessed by a distinguished team of judges, offering a special chance for hoteliers and business owners to introduce their new brands to the Saudi market.
“Research indicates that Saudi hotel owners and developers are seeking fresh brand concepts to complement existing brands that are already in the market. This will be the ultimate platform for innovative and sustainable hotel concepts to showcase their brands that have yet to launch in the exciting hospitality landscape of Saudi Arabia,” according to a curtain-raiser press release.
In 2022, the FHS drew over 500 attendees from more than 20 countries, 110 speakers, and 46 sponsors and partners. The Kingdom hosted the first FHS in October 2020, which was organized by the Ministry of Tourism and the G20 Saudi Secretariat, and attended by more than 6,000 people from around the world.

 


UAE removed from Financial Action Task Force watchlist

UAE removed from Financial Action Task Force watchlist
Updated 24 February 2024
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UAE removed from Financial Action Task Force watchlist

UAE removed from Financial Action Task Force watchlist
  • Barbados, Gibraltar and Uganda are also out of the monitoring list

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international organization in charge of combatting money laundering and terrorism financing has announced the UAE’s completion of all 15 recommendations of its action plan, state news agency WAM has reported.

The announcement was made following task force’s plenary meetings in Paris earlier this week.

The UAE, as well as Barbados, Gibraltar and Uganda, reported ‘significant progress in addressing the strategic AML/CFT (anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism) deficiencies previously identified during their mutual evaluations, FATF said.

“These jurisdictions had committed to implement an Action Plan to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes. These countries will no longer be subject to the FATF’s increased monitoring process,” it added.

“This success is the outcome of significant and distinguished efforts by relevant ministries, the federal government and local entities. These collective endeavors serve to expedite the national strategy and action plan, achieve the directives and aspirations of the UAE’s leadership… The country is committed to consolidate its unwavering approach and position within the world’s financial system, by fully enforcing and adhering to, all relevant international laws and conventions that serve to safeguard the integrity of the global financial system,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chairman of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism, said in a statement.

“Preventing illegitimate financial flows, and supporting the efficiency of our national plan for combating money laundering and terrorism financing, are the foundations for strengthening the UAE’s position as a global hub for trade and investment,” Abdullah bin Touq Al-Marri, Minister of Economy, meanwhile said in a statement.
“The UAE has made considerable progress during the past few years, in combating global money laundering and terrorism financing through outlining robust and flexible frameworks. The UAE is committed to taking further significant advances in our future endeavors.”


Brazil sends largest ever delegation to Gulfood

Animal protein was one of Brazil’s highlights at Gulfood 2024. (Twitter @Gulfood)
Animal protein was one of Brazil’s highlights at Gulfood 2024. (Twitter @Gulfood)
Updated 24 February 2024
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Brazil sends largest ever delegation to Gulfood

Animal protein was one of Brazil’s highlights at Gulfood 2024. (Twitter @Gulfood)
  • 117 Brazilian companies attend Mideast’s largest food, beverage trade fair in Dubai
  • ‘Our expectation is to surpass $2.5bn in business deals,’ trade agency manager tells Arab News

SAO PAULO: Brazil sent its biggest ever delegation to the Middle East’s largest food and beverage trade fair this year.

From Feb. 19-23, 117 Brazilian companies conducted business with buyers from all over the world at the 29th edition of Gulfood in Dubai.

Andre Muller, agribusiness manager at the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, told Arab News: “This year we had record participation, the largest ever for Brazil at this fair, with 117 companies. Our expectation is to surpass $2.5 billion in business deals.”

The mission of the agency, which is linked to the Foreign Ministry, is to promote Brazilian exports and attract investments to the country. It has been responsible for the Brazilian delegation at Gulfood since 2009.

Showcasing their products to some 150,000 visitors from around the world, the Brazilian companies were organized in six pavilions: a multisector pavilion; a beverage pavilion; a spices, grains and cereals pavilion; and three animal protein pavilions.

The delegation represented small, medium and large companies, a third of which are led by women.

“This fair is one of the most important in the world because in addition to covering the entire Middle East, we also noticed this year many buyers from Europe, Africa, India and some from Asia, mainly China,” said Muller.

“So it’s a fair that in addition to having this important market in the Arab region, ends up being almost a global fair.

“This is very important for Brazilian companies because they can, in just one event, access and connect with clients from different regions and continents.”

He added: “We have a waiting list to participate in the fair. We’ve been asking for more space from the fair organizers for a few years now, but unfortunately there’s none. This shows that Brazilian companies are really very interested.”

Ricardo Santin, president of the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein, told Arab News: “Gulfood is a strategic event for the Brazilian poultry industry. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of chicken meat and nearly half of its shipments are halal products, making our sector the largest exporter of poultry products to Islamic nations.”

He added: “In this edition of the fair, we promoted tastings, held meetings with clients and potential importers, and consolidated advances in business prospects between Brazilian exporters and partners from Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia, which is one of the main destinations for our products.”

Muller highlighted the relevance of the Arab world for Brazilian food and beverage exports.

For the poultry meat sector, for example, the Middle East is the destination for more than a third of the total exported. “It’s a very important region for Brazilian agribusiness exports,” said Muller.

The pavilion’s opening ceremony was attended by the business director of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, Ana Paula Repezza; the director of the Department of Trade Promotion, Investments and Agriculture at the Foreign Ministry, Alex Giacomelli; and the deputy secretary of international relations at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Julio Cesar Ramos.

The Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce also participated with a pavilion, bringing 11 companies to Gulfood.

Halal market

Animal protein was one of Brazil’s highlights at Gulfood 2024. The country is recognized for its reliable and high-quality halal meat production, and has been gaining ground in this rapidly expanding market.

“In food and beverages alone, the halal market represents $1.6 trillion, and Brazil has a growing share,” said Muller.

“We’re talking about more than 2.2 billion people who have this consumption habit, and Brazil is positioning itself very well in this segment.”

 


Regional startups raise funding rounds amid activity flurry

Regional startups raise funding rounds amid activity flurry
Updated 24 February 2024
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Regional startups raise funding rounds amid activity flurry

Regional startups raise funding rounds amid activity flurry
  • Venture capital ecosystem experiences heightened activity with startups securing large investments

CAIRO: Startups across the Middle East and North Africa region have garnered substantial support through significant funding rounds over the last seven days.

The regional venture capital ecosystem experienced heightened activity, with startups securing large investments, with Saudi Arabia at the forefront.
The Kingdom’s logistics startup PIESHIP successfully closed an undisclosed pre-seed investment round from SEEDRA Ventures, Nama Ventures, and various angel investors.
Established in 2023 by founders Nasser Al-Harthi, Musaed Al-Amri, and Mohammed Mohsen, PIESHIP offers a comprehensive suite of logistics solutions.  
These include warehouse management, a dedicated app for shipment deliveries, and a range of technical services aimed at enhancing logistics operations.  
“PIESHIP provides innovative solutions in the logistics sector to improve the last-mile delivery companies’ experience, aiming to deliver shipments faster with practical communication tools with customers. PIESHIP has also enabled delivery companies to increase the efficiency of delivery representatives by creating an effective competitive environment among employees,” Al-Harthi said.
The company has announced plans to allocate the new funds towards its business expansion, as well as the research and development of innovative products and services aimed at enriching customer experience and operational efficiency.

Established in 2023 by founders Nasser Al-Harthi, Musaed Al-Amri, and Mohammed Mohsen, PIESHIP offers a comprehensive suite of logistics solutions. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia’s PhysioHome secures seed round
Saudi Arabian healthtech startup PhysioHome has successfully closed a seed funding round, securing an undisclosed amount from a group of private angel investors.  
Established in 2021 by Ahmed Sidam, PhysioHome is dedicated to providing comprehensive rehabilitation services directly to patients’ homes or in dedicated rehabilitation centers.  
Currently, their services span across nine cities within the Kingdom, including both medical and behavioral rehabilitation for children.
This recent capital injection follows PhysioHome’s pre-seed funding round in 2022, which was spearheaded by Sanabel 500 and the Saudi Venture Capital Co., alongside contributions from angel investors associated with Oqal.  

Established in 2021 by Ahmed Sidam, PhysioHome is dedicated to providing comprehensive rehabilitation services. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia’s Basserah merges with UAE’s nybl
Saudi-based data automation company Basserah and UAE’s artificial intelligence innovator nybl have announced a merger that will expand their footprint in the regional market.  
Nybl, established in 2018 by Noor Al-Nahhas, specializes in making AI technology accessible, offering solutions for real-time failure prediction, prescription, prevention, and optimization in critical industries to enhance productivity and reduce expenses.  

Saudi-based data automation company Basserah and UAE’s artificial intelligence innovator nybl have announced a merger aimed at expanding their footprint in the regional market. (Supplied)


On the other hand, Basserah, also founded in 2018 as a part of NOMD Holding, provides services to sectors such as telecommunications, oil and gas, and government, focusing on leveraging data to improve efficiency through robotic process automation.
The merger will retain the nybl brand and team, with Basserah being fully integrated into the combined entity.  
This strategic move is set to bolster their capabilities in delivering advanced AI and data automation solutions across a broad range of industries.

UAE’s Exverse secures $3m in funding
Exverse, a UAE-based Web3 gaming platform known for blending traditional AAA-quality first-person shooter gaming with the Web3 space, has successfully secured $3 million in a private funding round. This significant financial boost was led by prominent investors including Cogitent Ventures, Cointelligence, and Moonrock Capital, with additional support from KuCoin Labs, Epic Games, Seedify, and ChainGPT.
Founded in 2020 by Nikita Uriupin, Exverse aims to set a new standard in the gaming world by ensuring that the quality of its first-person shooter games matches or exceeds that of traditional AAA titles.
The freshly acquired funds are earmarked for several key areas of development and expansion. Primarily, the investment will accelerate the launch of Exverse’s eagerly anticipated products.
Additionally, it will enable the company to forge strategic partnerships and bolster its marketing efforts, particularly across the Asia-Pacific region.

UAE’s GameCentric secures $1.5m
The UAE’s emerging gaming platform GameCentric has successfully raised $1.5 million in a funding round from angel investor Bilal Merchant.  
Launched in 2023 by Saad Khan, GameCentric will cater to a diverse community of gamers, ranging from competitive to casual players, by creating a unified gaming ecosystem.
This financial boost is set to empower the company with the means to expand its operational reach beyond the Gulf Cooperation Council and MENA regions.  
Moreover, the investment will facilitate the enhancement of the platform’s features and  elevate the overall gaming experience for its user base.

UAE’s The Cloud raises $12m
The Cloud, a UAE-based cloud kitchen startup, has secured $12 million in funding from MENA Moonshots, part of its ongoing effort to raise a $30 million series B round, which also includes debt financing from Aluna Partners.  
Founded in 2019 by Kamil Rogalinski and Georges Karam, The Cloud operates within the business-to-business-to-consumer food technology space, providing restaurant owners the opportunity to optimize kitchen utilization by hosting external food delivery services.

“Looking forward, we continue to actively eye more strategic acquisitions while also seeking to raise further capital” — Georges Karam, CEO of The Cloud


This recent financial infusion will support The Cloud’s ambitious plans to penetrate new markets in Lithuania, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK.  
As part of its expansion strategy, The Cloud has also completed the acquisition of KBOX, a UK-based food tech company, extending its global footprint to over 200 locations.
Previously, in September 2022, The Cloud successfully raised a $10 million series A round led by Middle East Venture Partners and Olayan Financing Co., with additional backing from Rua Growth Fund.  
To date, The Cloud has amassed a total investment of $22 million, positioning it for further growth and innovation in the global food tech landscape.

DFDF participates in Partech’s $300m fund
The Dubai Future District Fund has joined the second closing of Partech Africa II, a pan-African fund managed by global investment firm Partech, contributing to a total raise of $300 million.
This investment round also attracted participation from Africa Re, Orange, AXIAN Investment, and the African Development Bank Group, signaling robust confidence in Africa’s tech ecosystem.  
Partech Africa II, which celebrated its first closing a year prior, is set on bolstering its investment strategy across the continent.  
The fund aims to support African startups from seed to series C stages, offering initial investments ranging from $1 million to $15 million, a move that underscores the growing interest and potential in Africa’s innovative sectors.


Saudi Arabia ahead of US, EU and UK when it comes to Basel IV compliance

Saudi Arabia ahead of US, EU and UK when it comes to Basel IV compliance
Updated 23 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia ahead of US, EU and UK when it comes to Basel IV compliance

Saudi Arabia ahead of US, EU and UK when it comes to Basel IV compliance
  • Basel IV regulations mandate that banks maintain specific leverage ratios and designated reserve capital

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s dedication to financial stability has been underlined by figures from the Kingdom’s central bank showing its capital adequacy ratio stands at 19.5 percent – far above the 8 percent minimum requirement introduced in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.

This position comes as Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries to be fully compliant with Basel IV regulations, which mandate that banks maintain specific leverage ratios and designated reserve capital.
This adherence to global standards contrasts with the varied timelines seen worldwide for Basel IV implementation.
While the EU, the UK, and Switzerland are navigating finalization processes, the US is yet to commence consultations on these critical reforms, which remain a top priority for regulatory bodies amidst recent bank failures.
Although Saudi Arabia’s ratio falls slightly below the 20 percent recorded in the same period in 2023, it still comfortably exceeds the Basel III minimum requirement of 8 percent, encompassing both Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital.
Basel III is a set of international banking regulations developed by the Bank for International Settlements to promote stability in the international financial system. It was introduced following the 2008 global financial crisis to improve the banks’ ability to handle any shocks from financial stress and strengthen both their transparency and their disclosure.
Basel III builds on the previous accords, Basel I and Basel II, and is part of a process to improve regulation in the banking industry. Basel IV, or 3.1, was introduced in 2017 and is the final reform of Basel III. It focuses on strengthening the banking sector for increased resilience against future crises. The target timelines for implementation of the final reforms vary significantly worldwide.
Originally scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022, the implementation of Basel IV was postponed by 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with transitional dates being revised and varies among countries.
The Basel IV proposals seek to restore credibility in the calculation of risk-weighted assets and improve the comparability of banks’ capital ratios.
One of the most significant risks faced by traditional banks is credit risk, which involves the uncertainty that loans, the primary assets of a bank, may not be repaid, leading to unexpected losses.
To mitigate this risk, regulators impose a regulatory capital intended to absorb losses in times of credit default. The absence of sufficient capital can lead to a bank collapse, posing not only a threat to the individual bank but also to the broader financial system.

In a February 2023 report, Fitch Ratings highlighted that Saudi Arabia, along with Australia, Canada, Indonesia, and South Korea, was among the few jurisdictions that successfully met
the globally agreed official Basel IV implementation date in
January 2023. The report also emphasized Saudi Arabia’s status as one of the most sophisticated and conservative regulators in the Middle East and Africa.
Under these regulations, banks are required to measure their risk-weighted assets in a calculation that involves assigning different risk weights to various categories of assets based on their perceived riskiness. The goal is to reflect the varying degrees of credit risk associated with different types of assets in a bank’s portfolio.
Banks are then required to assign regulatory capital to ensure they have a sufficient buffer to absorb potential losses, particularly during economic downturns or financial crises. The capital requirements are usually expressed as a percentage of a bank’s risk-weighted assets.

The key capital types that are allowed under Basel III are divided into two main tiers: Tier 1 which is the highest quality capital and includes common equity, retained earnings and other comprehensive income, in addition to Tier 2, other instruments with specific loss-absorption features.
Within the banks’ capital adequacy calculations under the Basel III framework, another significant ratio that banks need to comply with is the regulatory Tier 1 capital, which should be maintained at a minimum 6 percent of RWA to safeguard their financial strength.
In the context of Saudi banks, this regulatory Tier 1 capital reached 16 percent of their RWA, indicating a robust position that comfortably surpasses the Basel III requirement for a minimum Tier 1 capital of 6 percent.
Furthermore, this capital encompasses the capital conservation buffer – a supplementary measure under Basel III intended to absorb losses during economic stress, fixed at 2.5 percent of total risk-weighted assets.
The primary purpose of the capital conservation buffer is to build an additional layer of capital that banks can draw upon in times of financial difficulty.
It aims to promote the conservation of capital and prevent banks from depleting their capital levels to a point where they may be at risk of financial distress.
Importantly, this buffer must be fulfilled using Common Equity Tier 1 exclusively, and it is positioned above the regulatory minimum capital requirement of 8 percent. This elevates the overall required minimum ratio to 10.5 percent.

FASTFACT

In a February 2023 report, Fitch Ratings highlighted that Saudi Arabia, along with Australia, Canada, Indonesia, and South Korea, was among the few jurisdictions that successfully met the globally agreed official Basel IV implementation date in January 2023.

If the minimum buffer requirements are breached, capital distribution constraints will be imposed on the bank.
Tier 1 capital is categorized as going concern, signifying its immediate capacity to absorb losses as soon as they arise. On the other hand, Tier 2, the second type of capital considered in calculating the bank’s capital adequacy ratio, encompasses supplementary capital and operates as a gone concern, absorbing losses before affecting depositors and general creditors.
Total available regulatory capital is the sum of these two elements - Tier 1 and Tier 2. Both categories have distinct criteria that capital instruments must meet before being considered. Banks must adhere to specified minimum levels of Common Equity Tier 1, Tier 1, and total capital, with each level expressed as a percentage of risk-weighted assets.
The Basel IV proposals seek to restore credibility in the calculation of risk-weighted assets and improve the comparability of banks’ capital ratios.
Fitch Ratings said this move is expected to benefit banks with significant exposures to residential and commercial mortgage loans, as well as high-quality project finance in Saudi Arabia. The capital ratios of these banks are expected to improve, thanks to more detailed risk-weightings that are generally lower than those observed under the previous regime.
However, according to the agency, banks involved in land acquisition, construction, development, financial guarantees and equities will face increased capital requirements.
Retail-focused banks are set to benefit from improved capital ratios with lower risk-weightings, particularly in residential mortgage loans. SAMA’s cap on the loan-to-value ratio at 90 percent will lead to reduced risk-weights, ranging from 20 percent to 40 percent, from 50 percent previously.
The overall capital ratio for the Saudi banking sector will remain mostly unchanged as indicated by a parallel run conducted by SAMA in 2022.


FII Priority: Leaders in Miami and the Kingdom are fostering environments for growth and talent

FII Priority: Leaders in Miami and the Kingdom are fostering environments for growth and talent
Updated 23 February 2024
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FII Priority: Leaders in Miami and the Kingdom are fostering environments for growth and talent

FII Priority: Leaders in Miami and the Kingdom are fostering environments for growth and talent
  • Diversity, inclusivity are key ingredients to make a place attractive, panelist said
  • Kingdom has made great improvements to rebrand itself as global talent hub

MIAMI: Leaders in Saudi Arabia and Miami share common ground in their efforts to foster environments conducive to growth and talent, experts highlighted at the FII Priority conference in Miami on Friday.

Over the past few years, both have prioritized initiatives aimed at improving living standards for their residents, focusing on socio-economic policies that promote diversity and inclusivity.

“There are so many parallels between what’s going on here (in Miami) and what’s going on there (Saudi Arabia),” said Jeff Zalaznick, restaurateur and managing partner of hospitality company Major Food Group.

During a session titled “The special sauce: what is the recipe for a vibrant city?” he added: “Both are fostering environments where people can grow (and) excel in their fields. They want to attract talent.”

Zalaznick noted that both regions strike a balance between cultivating diversity and talent locally while also attracting the best from around the world, fostering their potential across various domains such as sports, music, and culinary arts.

Aligned with its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has undertaken significant policy reforms, placing diversity and inclusion at the forefront of its development agenda.

This shift has been especially pivotal for the Kingdom’s youthful demographic, as they aspire to leverage this momentum and carve out their niches in various industries.

“(When you make) young people feel optimistic about what they can do, you basically are writing the future,” said Steve Stoute, CEO of marketing agency Translation and music label UnitedMasters.

“I do believe that this idea of multiculturalism, of embracing emerging subcultures and helping enforce that, are (fundamental) ingredients that this city gets and (only) a couple other cities get really well.”

He emphasised that places lacking diversity and inclusive support systems miss out on attracting the brightest young talent, as they fail to cultivate the dynamic and vibrant environments necessary for growth and innovation.

Renowned as a haven for retirees, Miami has undergone a transformation in recent years, enticing a younger demographic with a blend of job prospects and reduced tax obligations.

Similarly, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a campaign to redefine itself as not just a regional hub, but a global magnet for young talent.

With its population surpassing 32 million, as per a 2022 census by the General Authority for Statistics, Saudi Arabia boasts a youthful majority, with those under the age of 30 constituting 63 percent of the total.

Drawing parallels between these two “renaissances,” Zalaznick noted the evolving criteria for vibrant cities and the changing preferences of city dwellers.

He highlighted the growing importance of cultural dynamism and multiculturalism in city selection, particularly for companies seeking diverse talent pools and innovative environments.

“It’s about young people,” said Tom Garfinkel, vice chairman, president and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium and managing partner of the Formula One Miami Grand Prix.

“We have to attract young people, we have to have cultural dynamics where young people can afford to live, where business opportunities exist, where it’s easy to start businesses and to create.

“The talent goes to the city that attracts, that has the culture that attracts young talent, and the companies go there and not the other way around,” he concluded.