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The international asset and wealth management industry faces unparalleled change in the years ahead. A combination of macro factors and disruptive forces have set the stage for the transformation of the industry on a global and regional scale.

The asset management industry stands on the verge of a number of significant changes that will re-shape the market for years to come. A recent report by KPMG titled “Investing in the Future” explores the potential changes of the next decade and a half and their likely impact on the investment industry. The analysis concludes that a major transformation will be driven by megatrends in demographics, technology, the environment, and society at large.

To assess these dynamic changes the Middle East Asset Management Forum (MEAMF 2016) is being launched under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain and with the support of the Bahrain Asset Managers Association. Combining a highly innovative and interactive format with world-class speakers and more than 200 international delegates, MEAMF 2016 will tackle the most pressing questions that will drive the ongoing progress of the asset management industry across the dynamic markets in this region. MEAMF 2016 will take place on the 30th & 31st of May 2016 at the Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain, under the theme “The Road Ahead in the MENA Investment Industry.

Dr. Ahmed Al Jawhary, Chief Executive Officer of J Equity Partners; and Chairman of the Bahrain Asset Managers Association (BAMA), speaking ahead of his participation in the Forum noted that: “The Asset Management sector is a growing sector within the fabric of Bahrain’s banking offering as a regional hub with a noticeable steady upward trend over the past few years. The challenges to this promising sector might be more of awareness about the significance of asset management and wealth management regionally. It is time to differentiate between asset management and other parts of banking activities and to have a progressive and a dynamic approach towards this unique element of banking and finance.”

Dr. Ahmed continued by saying, “It is a collective responsibility of financial institutions, practitioners, service providers, regulators, and all other concerned stakeholders in Bahrain to tell the target clientele why professional Asset Managers are important and why their discipline can make the client’s life and/or businesses better or different and thus illustrate how this differentiation can be achieved. The culture element is very important, you have to overcome cultural barriers to enter any new activity, industry or line of business. Asset management is a key element of any international financial hub such as New York, London or Zurich. It was not given enough or distinct attention by the financial institutions in the region. Even when you had investors investing with a handful of regional investment firms in their random financial offerings and investment products, they were still doing their full-fledged asset management somewhere else in Europe or North America.

Through BAMA and this upcoming specialized Forum, we’re campaigning, creating awareness and showing potential clients that the same level and quality of asset management services can be delivered regionally on top of whatever they get out of international managers. That is the key to overcoming these barriers.”

MEAMF 2016 has confirmed an outstanding line-up of expert speakers. The opening address will be delivered by Abdul Rahman M. Al-Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain; and Dr. Ahmed Al Jawhary will also deliver an address on behalf of The Bahrain Asset Managers Association (BAMA). This will be followed by a keynote session featuring Farah Foustok, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Lazard Gulf Ltd.; Nabil Hamadeh, Chief Executive Officer, Capital Growth Management WLL; and Shakeel Sarwar, Head of Asset Management, Securities & Investment Company (SICO).

MEAMF 2016 is an essential platform for asset and wealth management professionals to connect on the issues that are driving change in the industry and will be attended by delegates from key investment centres across the world.