DIFC Workshops launched to support development of financial markets in MENA region

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) today launched the DIFC Workshops – a series of capacity building workshops that will support the development of financial markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by upgrading technical financial skills among market participants.

Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist of the DIFC, said: “The DIFC Workshops aim to support the development of economic and financial markets in the MENA region by strengthening market participants knowledge of the technical aspects of financial products and services. This is especially important as the DIFC’s regional reach expands and demand for specialist financial services increases”.

The first DIFC Workshop, ‘Accounting and Equity Valuation’, will be held on 7 November in association with Citigroup. Led by Kenneth Lee, Director, Valuation and Accounting (Europe) for Citigroup Investment Research, the workshop will enable participants to accurately value listed equities and properly examine balance sheet data. The workshop will include actual company case studies and focus on examples of analysis, accounting and financial markets from the GCC region.

Mr. Mohammed Al-Shroogi, Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking Head for the Middle East, said: “We are delighted to be part of this unique initiative and to contribute speakers to the workshop series.  As many of the region’s hubs transform into global financial centres, it is crucial to share global best-practice case studies with the region’s financial players in order to continuously raise the bar and stay at the cutting edge of the financial industry”.

Supported by strong economic conditions, capital markets in the MENA region have grown significantly over the past five years. Syndicated loan issuance in the MENA region has grown strongly over the past five years, driven in part by over USD1 trillion of infrastructure projects, according to MEED. Despite recent corrections, the value of equity markets in the region remain high at USD875 billion, while the regional securitisation and asset backed securities (ABS) market is beginning to grow.

This primary market growth is being matched by an increase in secondary market volumes and demand for qualified financial services professionals. The DIFC Workshops have been established to help broaden the range of technical skills and talent available to support this demand.

“Improving the skill sets available to the market is especially important for new growth areas, such as the region’s securitisation and ABS markets”, said Dr. Saidi.

Each workshop will be held in association with a leading financial institution based at the DIFC. They will initially cover topics such as: accounting and equity valuation; derivatives and options pricing; risk management; securitisation; Islamic finance; valuation risk analysis; mutual fund management; hedge funds; investment management techniques, equity and fixed income analysis and investments; asset allocation; technical and quantitative analysis; yield curves and structured finance, among others.

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