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.


Japan, EU sign landmark trade deal

Updated 17 July 2018
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Japan, EU sign landmark trade deal

  • Both sides are heralding the deal, which covers a third of the global economy and more than 600 million people
  • Besides the latest deal with the EU, Japan is working on other trade agreements, including a far-reaching trans-Pacific deal
The EU and Japan signed a sweeping free trade deal Tuesday that officials called a “clear message” against protectionism, as Washington imposes controversial tariffs and threatens a trade war.
The deal signed in Tokyo by the EU’s top officials and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the biggest ever negotiated by the EU and creates a free trade zone covering nearly a third of the world’s GDP.
“We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism,” EU Council President Donald Tusk said.
“Together we are making — by signing this agreement — a statement about free and fair trade, we are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together,” added Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.
The huge deal was signed as President Donald Trump unsettles allies and provokes rivals with his aggressive “America First” trade policy.
Both the EU and Japan have been hit with new US tariffs despite their longstanding alliances with Washington.
Juncker said the deal sent a message that “trade is about more than tariffs and barriers, it is about values.”
“There is no protection in protectionism,” he said.
Abe, standing alongside the two EU officials, said the agreement, “shows the world the unshaken political will of Japan and the EU to lead the world as the champions of free trade at a time when protectionism has spread.”