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Bahrain set to become SPV hub

Bahrain Business
Fri, 01 Apr 2016
By Avinash Saxena

Manama: A white paper with recommendations on benefits of special purpose vehicles (SPVs) for Bahrain will be circulated to industry and authorities, it has emerged.

This follows a high level panel discussion on SPVs and corporate entities component in investment banking and asset management, organised by Bahrain Asset Managers Association (BAMA) in co-operation with Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and Economic Development Board (EDB).

Key panellists at the discussion were EDB chief executive Khalid Al Rumaihi, CBB executive director of financial institutions supervision Abdulrahman Al Baker and BAMA chairman Dr Ahmed Al Jawhary, who is also chief executive J Equity Partners. 

Together, panellists deliberated the significance of promoting and positioning Bahrain as a regional and international hub for the SPV business and the economic benefits and the spillover effects of SPV related activities on the local economy.

The discussion also addressed who should spearhead the introduction of the SPV business in the kingdom, the regulatory framework for SPVs, secrecy and privacy laws, regional competition and the prerequisites for making Bahrain an attractive SPV hub.

It is the first of a series of events to be hosted by BAMA in support of further growth and innovation of Bahrain’s asset management industry.

Mr Al Rumaihi said Bahrain has been a leading asset management centre in the region for more than four decades.

“Asset managers now distribute more funds from our shores than from anywhere else in the Middle East. The sector benefits from our core strengths, including the diverse pool of quality talent, our strong regional connectivity and the cost-competitive environment,” he added.

“The CBB and the kingdom’s government are also taking important regulatory initiatives that will further strengthen our offering. We look forward to working with BAMA to develop and expand the asset management sector, positioning Bahrain as a leading regional and global hub for the industry.”

Dr Al Jawhary said the session was an important first step in addressing the opportunity for the SPV business in Bahrain and emphasised the significance of dialogue between all stakeholders in the financial sector.

“Professional channels of communication and introduction of a think-tank comprising practitioners, investment firms and asset managers licensed under the CBB from one side and the regulator, law and decision makers from another side are critical in perfecting the legislative and technical framework for such a critical industry,” he added.