The Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX), the Middle East and North Africa’s first ever multi-asset exchange, officially launched its operations today, February 1st, with an official launch ceremony in Bahrain hosted by HE Mr. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain deputizing for His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
A 400-strong contingent of senior figures from ministries, government institutions, leading financial institutions, business houses, and exchanges were also present for the launch ceremony. In attendance from India representing the BFX in his capacity as Chairman was Mr. Jignesh Shah, Group CEO & Chairman of Financial Technologies Group, BFX’s parent company, who was India’s youngest dollar billionaire in 2008. Bahrain based Managing Director & CEO of the BFX and the BCDC, Mr Arshad Khan, was also present at the ceremony. During his time in Bahrain, Mr. Shah is scheduled to meet key ministers, senior government officials, finance professionals and businessmen to discuss business and investment opportunities in the region.
H.E. Rasheed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, commented: “The Central Bank of Bahrain welcomes the Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX) to the Kingdom of Bahrain and is proud that the CBB’s long track record and reputation as a transparent and effective regulator was a major factor in its location decision. I wish the BFX, its members and participants every success in establishing multi-asset markets within the Middle East financial services sector.”
H.E. Tawfiq Al Alawi, Personal Secretary to HRH the Prime Minister, Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, and Board Director of the BFX, commented: “The establishment of the BFX will result in additional business and employment opportunities in the Kingdom of Bahrain and the region, and I am pleased to be associated with the BFX as its first independent director”.
Scheduled to commence live operations on 7th February 2011, the BFX will see two phases to its roll out. In the first phase, its Islamic division Bait Al Bursa will launch its e-Tayseer platform for general use on the 7th of February 2011, followed one month later by its conventional division on the 7th of March, 2011. The phased approach has been purposely designed to allow market traders adequate time to develop their business on the BFX’s Islamic division ahead of the conventional market launch.
Mr. Jignesh Shah, commented: “The launch ceremony marked the culmination of two years of concentrated work, during which time our teams have been working to ensure a seamless launch of operations. We are particularly proud of Bait Al Bursa (House of Exchanges), the first dedicated Islamic transaction platform in the region, and I am happy to say we have received interest from key Islamic financial institutions, a considerable milestone which demonstrates the appetite for our services, as well as serving as proof to Bahrain’s strong status as a financial centre. As well as our distinguished guests from across the Middle East, I would like to thank our patron, His Highness Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, for recognising the contribution the BFX will make to the region’s economy.”
Being the first exchange of its kind, the BFX has been lauded by experts in the financial industry as revolutionary in the region with its multi-asset approach, and its platforms are expected to transform the concept of trading across the MENA region. The BFX’s specialised teams have spent two years developing the sophisticated trading platform to ensure its robustness and transparency, while adhering to the strict regulatory standards of the Central Bank of Bahrain.
The unique Exchange allows users to trade a wide range of multi-asset class instruments through a single exchange environment which will be internationally accessible to trade securities, structured products, Shariah-compliant financial instruments and derivatives.
In its initial stage, 10 tradable products will be available on the BFX’s conventional platform, including commodities, currencies and equity indices, as well as e-Tayseer on its Islamic platform, which offers traders and investors real portfolio diversification from day one. The BFX also provides a unique opportunity for the MENA financial services sector to link-in with established markets and take a step forward on the global financial services stage.
The BFX was set up in a purpose-built exchange building outfitted with state-of-the-art technology and facilities such as a fully integrated electronic trading platform and a plug-and-trade trading floor. These are supported by a global business and sales development programme, which includes the BFX Training Institute (BFX-TI), a dedicated and fully-accredited financial training institute.