S&P to open office in Dubai to support development of Gulf capital markets
Standard & Poor's, the leading provider of financial market intelligence to the Middle East, today announced plans to open an office in Dubai, its first in the Middle East. The move will support Standard & Poor's strategy to provide Gulf investors, issuers and intermediaries with independent research, information and benchmarks, which aim to enhance transparency and help accelerate the development of deep and efficient capital markets across the region.
The office, which will begin operations by the end of 2007, will offer Gulf financial market participants Standard & Poor's full range of research, ratings, information and index services. Standard & Poor's global reputation, network and capabilities across debt and equity markets serve as a window through which Middle East companies can access the international capital markets, and through which international investors can gain insight into investment risk and opportunities throughout the region.
Already the largest provider of credit ratings in the Gulf - publicly rating nearly 90 issuers - Standard & Poor's is well positioned to support the region's growth as a financial centre and expand its role as a hub for investment. Standard & Poor's expects the number of ratings across the Middle East to treble within the next 5 years as more firms seek access to international capital markets and the worldwide exposure that Standard & Poor's globally-recognised credit ratings can provide.
Standard & Poor's is also stepping up its activities in the Gulf's rapidly developing asset management and banking markets. Shariah-compliant versions of Standard & Poor's widely used global indices - S&P 500, S&P Europe 350 and S&P Japan 500 - are creating new opportunities for Islamic investors to benchmark their international investments, and for asset managers to create new investment products serving the Islamic community. And Standard & Poor's Risk Solutions, which provides data and models that support banks' risk management, is assisting Gulf financial institutions to better monitor, measure and evaluate their credit risks and to comply with the Basel II capital adequacy accord.
"Despite a massive investment program that is diversifying Gulf economies and aligning the region's legal and regulatory framework with international best practice, there is still a pressing need for many of the basic features necessary for the creation of dynamic and sustainable capital markets," said Torsten Hinrichs, Standard & Poor's Managing Director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. "We believe that we can further aid the development of the capital markets in the Gulf by providing objective and accurate information that increases market transparency and comparability across asset classes. Deep, liquid and efficient capital markets will be essential if the GCC is to fully realise its ambition of becoming a leading regional financial centre," said Mr. Hinrichs.
Standard & Poor's will host issuers and investors at its inaugural conference in Dubai on April 24, 2007. The event will feature a keynote speech by Dr Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist of the Dubai International Financial Centre, and presentations by senior Standard & Poor's executives and analysts on a range of activities, issues and challenges critical to the future of markets, investors and issuers in the region.
© 2007 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)