Khalid Al Zayani, Chairman of the BBBF
On Sunday, Robeco sponsored a BBBF “Question Time” panel discussion on the topic of “Perception is reality – how can we influence both to improve the message?”
Held at the Capital Club, Bahraini and British leaders discussed the challenge of re-engaging with the international financial community and voted unanimously to project a common voice for financial members of the BBBF.
The event was hosted by Robeco Asset Management and the topic was introduced by Douglas Hansen-Luke, CEO of Robeco Middle East who highlighted the seniority and commitment to Bahrain of the panel.
The discussion itself was hosted by Mr. Khalid Al Zayani, Chairman of the BBBF, and the panel comprised HE Jamie Bowden, the British Ambassador to Bahrain; Khalid Hamad, Executive Director Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain; Jonty Crosse, Resident Director of Merrill Lynch ME; Patrick Gallagher, CEO of HSBC Bahrain; and Steve Harrison, International Advisor to the CEO, EDB.
During the discussion, panelists and audience agreed that Bahrain’s future prosperity depended on successfully projecting the message that openness, transparency and the rule of law are respected within the Kingdom. Panelists stated that Bahrain is strong enough to accept self-criticism and that the Kingdom is now moving in the right direction to re-engage with the international financial community.
Mr. Al Zayani commented: “Bahrain has the chance to rebuild its reputation for being a place that welcomes hard working, talented business people from all over the world. We need to move quickly and in a coherent way in order to communicate a clear message, and it is the responsibility of the whole private sector to assist the Government in this process. The BBBF is in a good position to offer a united front to the UK in encouraging more business to Bahrain, and we shall continue to actively promote trade between the two countries.”
Members and guests of the BBBF were asked to encourage international colleagues to visit the Kingdom and see the stability of Bahrain’s business situation, in order to transfer the positive message to the global business community.
The group called for the easing of travel restrictions for Lebanese and other nationalities allowing business as usual. Highlighted was also the importance of transparent and consistent communications from the Government and within the business community, and with the lifting of the State of National Safety on June 1st, the importance of the return of a balance between the needs of national security and a stable marketplace.
Robeco is a world class investment house with an 80 year pedigree and 10 years presence in the Middle East. Robeco is the dedicated investment arm of Rabobank and manages approximately USD200bn of client assets. The world’s leading agribusiness bank, Rabo is ranked as one of the most secure banks in the world and is rated AAA by S&P and Moodys. Rabobank International is headquartered in the City of London.