Presentations and Articles

  • Risk Management and Compliance for Islamic Banks
    This is a briefing that I wrote for the Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions on recent trends in banks’ risk management and compliance practices, with particular reference to how they can be applied in Islamic Banks.
    Click here to read the report
  • Decline of Correspondent Banking
    Here is an article I wrote for the Arab Banker on the decline of correspondent banking relationships and how it is affecting emerging markets.
    Click here to read the article
  • Moroccan banks: More good news
    The Moroccan banking system is not as well known as it should be. It is well regulated, healthy, and interesting things are happening there. Here is an overview of the Moroccan banking system, including statistics for the big banks, that I wrote for the Arab Banker magazine in September 2015.
    Click here to read the article
  • Recent developments in Corporate Governance for banks, and implications for Islamic banks
    Here is a briefing that I wrote for the Council for Islamic Banks Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) on recent developments in corporate governance, and how they might affect Islamic banks
    Click here to read the briefing
  • Preparing for Change in Saudi Finance
    Here is an article on recent developments in Saudi financial markets that I wrote for the Arab Banker magazine (of which I am editor). It appeared in October 2015.
    Read the article
  • The Regulation and Supervision of Large Banks in the Middle East
    Here is a presentation that I prepared for a seminar organised by the Financial Stability Institute and the Arab Monetary Fund for Middle Eastern bank regulators. It contains statistics on Arab banking systems and examples of policy measures that regional regulators are taking.
    Click here to see the presentation
  • Recent Updates to Governance Standards for Boards of Directors
    This is a presentation that I gave to the CIBAFI-World Bank conference on Corporate Governance for Islamic Financial Institutions, held in Amman in September. It focussed on recent changes to international corporate governance standards, particularly as they affect Boards of Directors.
    Click here to see the presentation
  • Understanding the Details of Financial Crime: Typologies in the MENA Region
    Every bank in the Middle East understands the importance of fighting financial crime but what are the signs – apart from the most obvious ones – that a transaction might be part of a criminal action? The MENAFATEF biennial Typologies Report provides case studies and describes patterns of crime that have been detected in the MENA region. Here is an article about that report, with examples of Typologies that it identified.
    Click here to read the article
  • Bank Risk and Regulation in the Middle East
    Here are three short presentations that I delivered to Middle East bank regulators during 2014. They deal with Risk Management and Basel 3, Risk Management for Islamic Banks, and Pillar 2 Implementation in the Middle East. All were presented at seminars organised by the Financial Stability Institute and the Arab Monetary Fund.
    Risk Management and Basel 3: A Regional Perspective
    Risk Management and Islamic Banking
    Risk Management and Implementation of Pillar 2 in the Middle East
  • Islamic Banking: Who are the Standard Setters?
    Here is a description of the organisations that are setting standards for Islamic finance. The article appeared in the Arab Banker Magazine (of which I am editor) in October 2014.
    Read the article
  • Prospects for the Arab Economies in the Light of the Arab Spring
    Here is the presentation that I gave to the Union of Arab Banks’ Annual Conference in Beirut on 14 November 2014. It was very well received, largely, I think, because I used robust statistics to address the issue of how far the Arab economy as a whole has been, and is likely to be, affected by the events of the Arab Spring.
    If anyone would like a copy of my speech, please send me an email.
    Click here to see the slide presentation
  • Analysing the Longevity of Middle Eastern Rules
    Here is an analysis of the longevity of Arab rulers. Four long-standing Arab rulers were toppled during the “Arab Spring” but many others, who have ruled for decades, remain in power. Sultan Qaboos currently holds the record.
    Read more
  • Priorities for EU-GCC Financial and Investment Cooperation
    The Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) invited me to take part in a round-table they held on 17 December 2012 to consider areas for further cooperation between the EU and GCC on matters of banking and finance, and investment. My presentation summarised key joint strategic interests, and contains some banking and financial statistics.
    Click here to read the presentation
  • Reassessing the Arab-European Relationship
    Here is my presentation to the French Arab Banking Forum, organised by the Union of Arab Banks and the Fédération Bancaire Française in Paris on 19 October 2012. My main theme was that the Arab spring has left centres of economic and banking power unchanged in the Middle East, whereas in Europe, big changes to regional banking are afoot.
    Click here to read more and to see the presentation
  • The need for Regional Financial Regulation in the Gulf
    Does the Eurozone crisis have any lessons for bankers and policy-makers in the Gulf? Perhaps not for bankers, but certainly for policymakers: the lesson is that institutions need to keep pace with the financial markets they oversee. Here is an article on the Eurozone crisis and financial policy-making in the Gulf which I published in the Financial Times in October 2011.
    Read More
  • Priorities for financial regulation in the Middle East: presentation to IIF CEOs’ roundtable
    Here’s a presentation which I gave to the Institute of International Finance’s CEOs’ Roundtable meeting in Dubai last October. I explain how, following the financial crisis, the Middle East has different priorities for financial regulation from the West. Slide 14, comparing the asset size of large Middle East banks and large western banks to their home country GDP attracted particular comment.
    Click here to see the presentation
  • Middle East GDP: 1970 – 2005
    Economic power in the Arab Middle East has been transformed by the rise of oil and gas exports, but Turkey and Iran continue to account for a large share of economic activity in the region as a whole. Statistics tell the story.
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  • Prospects for Islamic banking in Egypt
    Egypt has always “under-achieved” when it comes to Islamic banking. Despite being the home of one of the most respected centers of Islamic learning — Al Azhar University –, Egypt has not taken a leadership role in shaping Islamic finance, and the market share of Islamic banks in Egypt remains tiny. With free elections, in which Islamically-orientated parties stand to win a large number of votes, this will change. Here is an article which I wrote for the Bahrain-based magazine, The Gulf, in May.
    An Islamic banking revolution?
  • International Initiatives on Liquidity Risk Management
    Here is a  presentation I gave in Abu Dhabi to the High Level meeting organized by the Financial Stability Institute and the Arab Monetary Fund. It summarises recent initiatives by the FSA, U.S. regulators, CEBS and others to strengthen the way banks manage their liquidity. The link contains additional comment and further links to documents mentioned in the presentation.
    Read More
  • Modernising the Role of Shari’ah Boards
    Thinking on the role of Shari’ah boards has not kept pace with the huge expansion of Islamic finance over the last ten years. Shari’ah-compliance is the defining feature of Islamic banks and financial institutions. The role of Shari’ah scholars needs to move beyond one of ensuring compliance to one which is at the centre of an institution’s strategy and operations. Here’s a link to the article, which was published in the Financial Times on 22 April 2010
    Role of Sharia Boards Needs Modernisation
  • Rethinking Corporate Governance after the Financial Crisis
    The last ten years have seen unprecedented attention given to corporate governance, yet we’ve just experienced the worst financial crisis since the 1930s: and some of the causes of the crisis resulted from practices that good governance was supposed to eliminate. What has the crisis taught us about the limits of corporate governance, and about the governance issues that we should prioritise in the years ahead?
    Read the article
  • Gulf Monetary Union: Facing the Uncomfortable Facts
    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates account for about two thirds of all money (M2), bank credit and GDP in the GCC. If Gulf monetary union occurs, it is the monetary objectives of these two countries which will determine the policy of union as a whole. As I said while giving this presentation to the GCC Banking Conference in Bahrain in March 2009, “You can put the headquarters of the Gulf Central Bank in any country you like, but recognize that the decisions will be taken in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.” Here is a copy of the presentation.
    Read the Presentation
  • Financial Reform: Defining Objectives and Measuring Results
    When Queen Victoria suggested to her Prime Minister that a solution to Britain’s economic problems might lie in reform, the Prime Minister recoiled in horror. “Reform, Ma’am?” he asked, “But aren’t things bad enough already?!” Everyone in the Middle East (and beyond) supports economic reform, but “reform” means different things to different people. In this article, published by Middle East Economic Survey in 2007, I tried to define some generally-accepted objectives of financial reform in the Middle East, and suggested some ways of measuring results.
    Financial Reform, Defining Objectives and Measuring Results
  • How should Islamic Banks “Smooth” Returns to investment account holders?
    The way in which Islamic banks “smooth” the returns they give to investment account holders is complex and lacks transparency. The Islamic Financial Services Board does a good job of summarizing existing practices and making recommendations for how to improve them.Read More
  • UN Resolutions Mark Further Normalisation of Iraqi Finances
    Three UN resolutions, adopted on 15 December 2010, set a date to end international oversight of Iraq’s oil revenues, lift Iraqi obligations on weapons of mass destruction, and terminate the Oil-for-food program.Read More
  • Moroccan Banking: A Good News Story
    Moroccan banks are becoming stronger and are playing a larger role in the local economy. Excellent reports by the Bank Al-Maghrib’s supervision department tell the story.Read More
  • Time for Egypt to Take a Lead on Islamic Finance
    Plans by Egypt’s financial regulator to permit the issuance of sukuk in Egypt should be welcomed and encouraged. A bigger role for Egypt in the Islamic finance industry will bring benefits to the industry and to Egypt.Read more
  • Just for Fun: Middle East Politics 1948 – 2007
    This is an article which I circulated privately to friends in April 2007 posing the question, “Is the war in Iraq the most significant event in the Middle East since the creation of the state of Israel?” In answering the question I identified and ranked what I thought have been the most important events in the Middle East since 1948. Do you agree with my ranking?
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