Markaz Official Conference Sponsor of The 1st Kuwait Global Forum, Brussels

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Markaz Official Conference Sponsor of The 1st Kuwait Global Forum, Brussels 31 - Dec - 2007

Markaz announced that it was the official conference sponsor for the 1st Kuwait Global Forum that was held in Brussels on December 18th. His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al Sabah, the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, supported the event which aimed to raise the international profile of Kuwait. Mr. Diraar Y. Alghanim, Chairman and Managing Director of Markaz said, “We are pleased to have Markaz associated with an event that helped grow Kuwait’s international profile. The event was a huge success and achieved the objective of bringing in important opinion leaders in Kuwait together with senior figures in the world to explore the developments within Kuwait.” Mr. Manaf Alhajeri, General Manager of Markaz, presented a speech to the audience of two hundred invited business and political leaders, Mr. Alhajeri said that “Global institutional investors are increasingly looking for markets beyond the traditional markets with prospects of higher risk adjusted returns, Kuwait and the rest of the GCC countries enjoy a set of fundamentals that make them suitable candidates for being on the frontier for emerging markets.” Kuwait and the GCC have shown strong economic performances and increasingly non-correlated returns of their capital markets due to a host of unique fundamentals and traits making them “global Markaz announced that it was the official conference sponsor for the 1st Kuwait Global Forum that was held in Brussels on December 18th. His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al Sabah, the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, supported the event which aimed to raise the international profile of Kuwait. Mr. Diraar Y. Alghanim, Chairman and Managing Director of Markaz said, “We are pleased to have Markaz associated with an event that helped grow Kuwait’s international profile. The event was a huge success and achieved the objective of bringing in important opinion leaders in Kuwait together with senior figures in the world to explore the developments within Kuwait.” Mr. Manaf Alhajeri, General Manager of Markaz, presented a speech to the audience of two hundred invited business and political leaders, Mr. Alhajeri said that “Global institutional investors are increasingly looking for markets beyond the traditional markets with prospects of higher risk adjusted returns, Kuwait and the rest of the GCC countries enjoy a set of fundamentals that make them suitable candidates for being on the frontier for emerging markets.” Kuwait and the GCC have shown strong economic performances and increasingly non-correlated returns of their capital markets due to a host of unique fundamentals and traits making them “global diversifiers” to other international markets. The credit market in the gulf and Kuwait is an area where market fundamentals diverge from the global industrialized scene as exemplified by the recent subprime crisis. On the equity front, the fiscal surpluses Kuwait and other gulf states have enabled their sovereign wealth funds and other institutional investors to show an increased appetite to invest in global direct investments. The falling US dollar has also sparked a substantial change where GCC wealth funds are manifesting more appetite towards higher yielding non US dollar assets. Central banks, lead by the central bank of Kuwait are also manifesting a strong will to de-peg their currencies away from the US dollar. The banking and financial sectors in Kuwait and the rest of the GCC are poised to be key beneficiaries of the current boom; banking is highly organized with strong capital adequacy, and asset intermediation in the form of surge of alternative instruments of financing is proliferating in a very dynamic way to funds, sukuks, and bonds. Mr. Alhajeri added, “The institutional fund industry in Kuwait for instance is expected to double to $ 140 billion in 5 years, enjoying the interesting status of the most mature in the gulf. To many, Kuwait is increasingly perceived as a gateway to the region on the back of both the strong equity culture and a deep pool of regional talent.” Key issues will however be the fragmentation of the industry, the tax law, the disclosures, all being issues widely debated across the various institutions. The Forum was addressed by a very senior line-up of international speakers including the Prime Minister and senior members of his cabinet, and President of the European Commission, Charles McCreevy, Commissioner for Financial Services and Lord Cunningham of Felling, a former minister in UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s cabinet. Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over KD1.4 billion as of September 30, 2007, was established in 1974 has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region. Markaz was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997; and was recently awarded a BBB+ corporate rating by Capital Intelligence Ltd. -Ends- Photo Caption: Diraar Y. Alghanim, Chairman and Managing Director of Kuwait Financial Centre “Markaz” For further information, please contact: Farah Sabeeh Al-Essa Assistant Vice President - Media & Communications Kuwait Financial Centre ‘Markaz’ T: +965 224 8071 E: fessa@markaz.com