Moody's Investors Service Monday announced its intention to establish an office in Dubai, subject to receiving applicable regulatory and legal approvals. The appointment of a representative director will be announced at a later date. "Middle Eastern market participants are increasingly turning to the global capital markets to serve their financing needs," stated Chester V.A. Murray, Executive Vice President for Moody's international business. "Our new Dubai office will further enable Moody's to address the growing demand for in-depth, globally comparable credit analysis and ratings as well as ensure high-quality service to our Middle Eastern clientele.""Our intention to establish an office in Dubai underscores our commitment to the region's capital markets," stated Frederic Drevon, Senior Managing Director of Moody's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
"These markets are characterized by strong growth trends in a variety of sectors, including banking, insurance, structured finance and sukuk finance. Moody's looks forward to augmenting our participation in the local infrastructure of these important markets."
In conjunction with today's announcement, Moody's also said it is holding a conference on "Understanding Credit Risk in the Middle East" at the Mina A'Salam Hotel in Dubai on Wednesday, 26 April, offering attendees the opportunity to hear presentations given by senior Moody's analysts from a broad range of rating groups. The conference will focus on the role of ratings in the Middle East, in particular in terms of the growing phenomenon of Islamic finance, the changes in the region's sovereign ratings, and the rating outlook for banks in the Middle East, among other topics.
A major theme of the conference will be the rapid development of Islamic finance, which has resulted in very complex transactions. "In this context, Moody's can play a valuable role in providing international investors with a clearer understanding of the nature of Islamic banking and the credit risks relating to 'Sukuk' securities," says Khalid Howladar, Vice President -- Senior Analyst in Moody's EMEA Structured Finance Group, who will speak on this issue at the conference.
On a related topic, Mardig Haladjian, a senior member of Moody's banking group and General Manager of Moody's Limassol office, will present a comparison of the risks in Islamic and conventional banking, highlighting the differences between the two systems from Moody's perspective. In addition, Adel Satel, a Managing Director for Moody's EMEA Financial Institutions Group, will give a presentation of Moody's rating outlook for banks in the Middle East as well as an overview of the rating agency's key innovations.
Moody's conference will also focus on sovereign ratings across the Middle East, which will be discussed by Pierre Cailleteau, a Senior Vice President in Moody's Sovereign Group. Moody's has implemented a number of positive sovereign rating actions in the Gulf region in response to the strong economic and financial performance, which has generally strengthened the Gulf countries' ability to absorb potential shocks that are an inevitable occurrence in the course of the global or regional business cycle," says Mr Cailleteau.
In addition to the issues mentioned above, the conference will also cover the following topics:
- Corporate Ratings: Conglomerates and Investment Holding Companies
- Financial Institution Ratings: Outlook for Banks in the Middle East
- Insurance Ratings: Insurance Rating Approach and Views on Takaful
- Asset-Backed Finance: An Introduction and Middle East Potential
- Project Finance: Understanding the Risks
- Funds: Assessing Manager Quality
The closing session of the conference will be an Industry Panel on credit risk in the Middle East, featuring key industry experts on the Middle Eastern markets.