Arab nations urged to adopt global regulatory standards

MANAMA - Global market watchdog group IOSCO called on oil-rich Gulf Arab states on Tuesday to adopt to international regulatory standards to help attract more foreign investment and cut financial crime.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 2 Dec 2004, 12:50 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:46 AM

"In this region they plan big projects like having a single currency by 2010, and to do that you need to comply with international standards," said Philippe Richard, secretary general of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions. "If you can convince the international community that you are very strict in terms of security regulations, and in terms of fighting money laundering, then this will have a positive impact on the foreign direct investment," Richard told Reuters.

"We at the IOSCO think that if you want to have a good, operative capital market, you need to comply with our 30 principles," he said on the sidelines of a seminar of heads of regional and African bourses in Bahrain's capital Manama.

The Spain-based IOSCO, which is made up of market watchdogs from across the world, endorses principles calling for an independent role of regulators of capital markets, protection of investors and ensuring fair transparency. Of the six Gulf states, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates have already joined IOSCO. The three others are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. "Joining the IOSCO adds a lot to the members, and we hope all Arab countries join this organisation," said Khalid Al-Bassam, deputy governor of Bahrain Monetary Agency.

A recent UN report said that foreign investment in the oil-rich Mideast and N. Africa region fell in 2003 to $4.6 billion from $5.8 billion in 2002. It attributed this mainly to political risks as well as bureaucracy and state-dominated economies. Fourteen Arab countries established a body based in Bahrain on Tuesday to coordinate their fight against money laundering.

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