Significant developments are set to occur in the approach of governments in the Middle East and North Africa to their financial sectors as they adopt new standards and new corporate regulation proposed by the G-20, Basel Committee, IASB, other global regulators and policy leaders.
These changes will focus on two priorities for public policy, namely ensuring financial stability and maintaining a healthy banking sector, said Ernst & Young as it launched its Financial Services for Government practice for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Governments to play a more active role and commit support
Philip Middleton, EMEIA Head of Financial Services for Government, Ernst & Young, says: “We see the MENA region as a major contributor to global growth over the next few years as other regions, Europe in particular, look to tighten their belts, deal with debt, and reconfigure the banking sector. In the wake of the downturn’s dust settling on the global economy, we are now working closely with governments to shape the new regulatory landscape and support ministries, central banks and regulators in meeting their complex agendas.”
The continued exposure of governments to the costs of financial instability has reversed the ‘markets know best’ approach and prompted national and international drives to re-regulate. Inhibitions about incorporating public policy objectives into the business environment have gone. The pressure is on to lend to small businesses, keep people in their homes and moderate bank pay. New taxes and levies to cover the cost of rescues are being imposed.
Ernst & Young invests in Financial Services for Governments
Tariq Sadiq, MENA Markets Leader, Ernst & Young, says: “Governments and their agents –regulators and central banks – are back in every corner of financial services: as lender, investor and market-maker of last resort, as guarantor and insurer. We aim to work with governments in setting up new systems and processes to regulate and monitor markets, corporations and other economic entities. Financial stability tensions arise from risks inherent in public lending, investing and trading. This highlights the essential role played by the banking industry in funding the real economy.”
Gordon Bennie, MENA Financial Services Leader, Ernst & Young adds: “The Financial Services for Government team aims to work in collaboration with MENA governments and bring unparalleled insights from the workings of central banks and regulators from the G-20 countries to the region.”
Led by Riyadh-based Mehryar Ghazali, the new practice will provide specialized and tailored offerings for Government Ministries and Authorities across the region. These services include Basel III implementation, stress testing of financial sectors and government organizations, restructurings including debt restructurings, human capital advisory, information technology and organizational transformation and infrastructure services.
Mehryar Ghazali, Financial Services for Government Leader in the MENA region has over 12 years of international banking and capital markets experience and has moved to Riyadh from the London office of Ernst & Young to help build the financial services advisory services for ministries, central banks and regulators across the region. Over the last three years, he has been working with central banks and regulators throughout the world to help them deal with the fallout of the credit crisis.