Flight to Stability

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Peter Hughes, Owner of Apex Group says, “I wrote a while ago that the issues Egypt faced were different to those in most MENA countries as most countries were more affluent. How wrong I was!

Bahrain is suffering over tribal inequality in power. The EDB in Bahrain has been very proactive in helping businesses in the region and very few expat workers have left. In the medium term change will be very positive for Bahrain and other countries with similar issues. It is the short term business that is uncertain.

It is clear that there may well be opportunities where the more stable countries in the region that have not been affected will benefit in the short-term at least.

There is a good opportunity for Dubai and also Abu Dhabi to attract financial services business. Abu Dhabi’s investment fund regulator (ESCA) is bringing out a comprehensive set of laws that follow international best practise for investment management, custody and fund administration.

This may be well timed with the uncertainty in the regions oldest financial centre – Bahrain. As a fund administrator we are opening a fully staffed office in Abu Dhabi to lent substance to asset managers there while also continuing to operate from Bahrain and Dubai.

The MENA region is full of opportunity but its location within it may be changing.”

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