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Title: Capital Markets Authority Concludes its Fourth Annual Conference
Date Publish 23 January 2019

Kuwait City 23 January 2019-  "Capital Market Reforms Through Regional Initiatives" was the title of the 4th Annual Conference of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), which was held on Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at the Jumeirah Messilah Hotel & Spa, for one day in the presence of several officials and economic figures, who had the opportunity to participate. Invitations were sent to many including ministers, governors, directors-general of associations, unions and companies, as well as members of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee at the National Assembly, as well as former Commissioners and representatives of committees and councils related to CMA activities, and many academics and deans of universities and various colleges.

The conference was attended by a number of local, regional and international experts. The most prominent of these were: Dr. Nawaf Al-Abduljader - Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Administrative Sciences at Kuwait University, Mr. Ibrahim Al Kandari - Director General at Kuwait National Fund for SME Enterprise Development, Ms. Noura Abdulkareem - Director of Product Development at Kuwait Boursa Company. The regional participation was represented by Dr. Bander Alsajjan - Strategy and International Affairs Deputy at CMA Saudi Arabia, of Saudi, Mr. Mohammed Alrumaih - Chief of Markets at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul)  And MR. Phillippe Richard - Director at Abu Dhabi Global Markets FSRA. On the international level, Mr. Paul Andrews - IOSCO Secretary General, and Mr. Joe McHale, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, Bloomberg, Mr. Keith Kalyegira -  CEO, CMA Uganda, and Mr. Paul Muthaura, Chief Executive, (CMA Kenya).

The conference also witnessed the presence of senior officials of Kuwait CMA represented by Mr. Othman I. Alissa, Vice Chairman of CMA Board of Commissioners, the Commissioners and heads of sectors and directors of the CMA.

Mr. Al Issa, Vice Chairman of Kuwait CMA Board of Commissioners opened the conference with a speech in which he pointed to the importance of "securing and developing financial markets" and enabling them to possess the necessary elements to cope with the rapid changes in capital markets and keep pace with the latest developments in the field of securities activities. He emphasized that it is important not to stop at the limits of previous achievements.

With regards to the annual conference, Mr. Al Issa stressed the importance of its three topics as  they represent some of the current trends in the development of capital markets, starting with the "Incentives and Initiatives to Promote Listings across the Africa and Middle East Region", and the most important recommendations and what has been achieved locally in this area, and secondly the subject of “SME Financing", its mechanisms and methods, the limitations and challenges facing it, and the role that this financing can play in the national economy. The last topic "Regional Responses to Emerging FinTech Risks” and the limitations and challenges facing the it locally, regionally and globally.

In a related context, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Commissioners referred to the most important strategic approaches of the CMA for the development of the capital market currently being implemented, which is the privatization of the securities exchange, the Market Development Project and other initiatives related to the development of the capital market infrastructure such as clearance and settlement, as well as initiatives to stimulate qualitative listing and long-term financing mechanisms, establish effective Sukuk and bond trading platforms, diversify investment instruments, improve the level of risk management of licensed persons, as well as the the disclosure system by adopting a modern project in the field of disclosure using the language of XBRL.

Following the opening remarks of the Vice Chairman of the CMA, Mr. Paul Andrews - IOSCO Secretary General, addressed the conference. The three panels focused on three main issues. The first panel was on “Incentives and Initiatives to Promote Listings across the Africa and Middle East Region”, where the subject of the questionnaire prepared by the task force of (AMERC) at IOSCO and the recommendations of improving the number of listings that were the outcome of the questionnaire, and what has been achieved locally. Additionally, the implications of such recommendations were discussed and their impacts, along with other recommendations. The panel was chaired by Mr. Keith Kalyegira, CEO, CMA Uganda , with the participation of  Ms. Noura Abdulkareem, Director of Product Development at Kuwait Boursa Company and Mr. Mohammed Alrumaih, Chief of Markets, The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).

The second panel of the conference was held after a short break. Dr. Nawaf Al-Abduljader, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Administrative Sciences, Kuwait University, headed the panel discussion, with the participation of Mr. Ibrahim Al Kandari, Director General Kuwait National Fund for SME Enterprise Development, and Mr. Daniel Tetteh, Director General, SEC Ghana who reviewed the mechanisms and means by which the financing of the SME sector could be supported, as well as the experience of the National Fund for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises in Kuwait, and its role in national economy. The panel also highlighted the challenges faced. The Director General, SEC Ghana reviewed his country's experience in improving support for small and large enterprises and the most important actions taken in this framework.

The conference events were continued with a panel headed by MR. Phillippe Richard, Director Abu Dhabi Global Markets FSRA, with the participation  Mr. Paul Muthaura, Chief Executive (CMA Kenya) , Mr. Joe McHale, Regulatory Affairs Specialist at Bloomberg, in addition to Dr. Bander Alsajjan, Strategy & International Affairs Deputy, (CMA Saudi Arabia). The panel was on "Regional Responses to Emerging FinTech Risks” with the emergence of encrypted assets, automated learning and artificial intelligence, and the efforts of regulators to keep with such developments. The Bloomberg representative presented a clear vision of the trends, growth and development prospects of financial technology, while the representatives of Abu Dhabi International Market, the Saudi Capital Market Authority and the Capital Market Authority of Kenya presented what was accomplished in their countries in keeping pace with the development of financial technology either through the issuance of new legislation or the development of innovation hubs or sandboxes, or other initiatives that have been implemented within this framework.

It is worth mentioning that the fourth annual conference of the Authority has received special importance for several considerations. On the one hand, it follows an exceptional event which takes place in Kuwait for the first time, which is hosting the meetings of one of IOSCO’s committees . This is considered a major milestone in the course of local securities activities, in which exceptional achievements have been made and the work of strategic initiatives on the other hand has begun.

The Capital Market Authority hopes that the success of its annual conference will help in shedding light on the multi-faceted issues. On this occasion, the CMA would like to pay tribute to the efforts of the participants, both speakers and the public, as well as praising the efforts of all parties, that took part in the success of this annual event as well as the success of the annual meeting of the (AMERC), which was held a day before.

In a related context, specifically at the 42nd annual meeting of (AMERC), which took place on Tuesday, January 22, the meeting was the first of its kind in Kuwait. The meeting was attended by Mr. Othman I. Alissa, CMA Vice Chairman and Acting Managing Director, who welcomed the guests of Kuwait and stressed Kuwait's keenness to activate its role in the various committees of (IOSCO) after obtaining membership in AMERC. Currently, in addition to AMERC, the CMA is a member of the GEMC, C2 and C3 committees. He also gave a brief overview of Kuwait's history and economic activity, including securities activities. He concluded by saying that joining IOSCO in May 2017 came as a result of meeting all the principles of the international organization and keeping up with the best international standards. He stressed the importance of continuous cooperation between the members of IOSCO to achieve continuous development and reach the desired goals.

Mr. Paul Muthaura, AMERC Chairman welcomed in his opening remarks the members of the Committee and thanked Kuwait for hosting this important meeting. He also congratulated Mr. Khaled Alhomoud, Commissioner of CMA Saudi Arabia for his election as Vice Chairman of AMERC, and congratulated Dr. Obaid Al Zaabi who was elected unopposed as the new Chairman of the Growth and Emerging Markets Committee in December.

On the main topics of the meeting, the deliberations and discussions on the subject of sustainability financing, the opportunities and risks arising from fintech, supporting economic growth through long term finance were highlighted by Mr. Paul Muthaura in his opening remarks. Such topics “not only cut across the priorities of the Region, Growth and Emerging Markets but also the priorities of the whole organization under the leadership of the Board”.

Mr. Muthaura also pointed to the importance of the effective participation of AMERC members and other committees, before turning to the outcomes of the 41st AMERC Meeting in Budapest, in particular the ones relevant to “investor education and financial literacy, capacity building, financial innovation and challenges relating to low listings and capital raising within the region”. He also noted that “AMERC stands to provide key contributions to Committee 8 on Retail Investors especially on the application of behavioral insights to financial literacy and investor education programmes as well as on work related to Regulatory Technology (RegTech) and Supervisory Technology (SupTech)”.

The meeting was successfully concluded after reviewing the topics of its full agenda, discussing them and examining the resulted recommendations.

 Notes to Editors:
The Capital Markets Authority was established pursuant to Law No. 7/2010, approved by the Kuwaiti Parliament in February 2010. Pursuant to the Law, the CMA shall regulate and supervise the securities activities, achieve transparency and fairness, observe listed companies’ execution of Corporate Governance regulations, and protect investors from unfair practices which violate the CMA's Law.
Furthermore, the Law's provisions stipulate the supervision of mergers, acquisitions, and disclosure operations. The CMA also aims to provide awareness programs related to securities activities.
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