Mo­men­tum gains for Takaud’s MENA pen­sions con­fer­ence

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS -

TAKAUD, the spe­cial­ist provider of sav­ings and pen­sion so­lu­tions for the MENA re­gion, an­nounced yes­ter­day that, with al­most 250 reg­is­tered del­e­gates to date, mo­men­tum is build­ing for the Mid­dle East and North Africa “MENA” Pen­sions Con­fer­ence. The Con­fer­ence will bring to­gether, for the first time, pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor rep­re­sen­ta­tives, re­gional and global in­sti­tu­tions and lead­ing em­ployee ben­e­fits con­sul­tants to dis­cuss how the re­gion can re­flect global prac­tices in pen­sion schemes for cit­i­zens and ex­pat work­ers. The Con­fer­ence is be­ing held un­der the pa­tron­age of the Cen­tral Bank of Bahrain and will take place at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel in Manama, Bahrain on Oc­to­ber 18, 2016.

“The sup­port we have re­ceived has been over­whelm­ing,” said Ebrahim K Ebrahim, TAKAUD’s Chief Gov­ern­ment Busi­ness and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer, and the leader of the Con­fer­ence ini­tia­tive. “We are most grate­ful for the high level com­mit­ment demon­strated for the Con­fer­ence and its im­por­tant goals.”The Con­fer­ence has drawn prom­i­nent speak­ers, in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the World Bank, the OECD (Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment) and the World Pen­sion Coun­cil. Pub­lic pen­sion en­ti­ties from Bahrain, the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia, Egypt and Morocco will pro­vide their per­spec­tive to the au­di­ence of dis­tin­guished and ex­pert del­e­gates. Del­e­gates from across the re­gion will be joined by in­ter­na­tional del­e­gates from the coun­tries of Al­ba­nia, Mon­go­lia, Nige­ria and Namibia.

Of­fi­cial Con­fer­ence part­ners in­clude the Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Board, No­ga­hold­ing, Bahrain Bourse and the SIO (So­cial In­sur­ance Or­gan­i­sa­tion). Ebrahim em­pha­sizes that the Con­fer­ence is meet­ing a need in the re­gion by bring­ing to­gether pub­lic pen­sion ad­min­is­tra­tors, pri­vate-sec­tor pen­sion providers, eco­nomic ad­vi­sors, fi­nan­cial ser­vices reg­u­la­tors, as­set man­agers, and spe­cial­ist fi­nan­cial firms. He points out that the Con­fer­ence man­date sup­ports pub­lic and pri­vate pen­sion pro­vi­sion: “Glob­ally, there are chal­lenges in sus­tain­ing so­cial se­cu­rity ben­e­fits due to changes in eco­nomic, de­mo­graphic and so­cial con­di­tions,” he stated.

“This con­fer­ence will ex­plore and present op­tions be­yond sole pen­sion-pro­vi­sion by gov­ern­ments, in line with the World Bank’s three-pil­lar pen­sion for­mat”. More­over, with the pres­ence of sub­stan­tial num­bers of ex­pa­tri­ate work­ers through­out the re­gion, there is a need to en­sure that this work­ing pop­u­la­tion has ac­cess to reg­u­lated pri­vate-sec­tor pen­sions, as­sur­ing them of some sort of re­tire­ment se­cu­rity. In many com­pa­nies the End-of-Ser­vice Ben­e­fits (ESBs) for ex­pat work­ers are not ad­e­quately man­aged in ac­cor­dance with global best prac­tices.”

In our re­gion alone, pri­vate sec­tor pen­sions are cur­rently a US$30 bil­lion busi­ness. Ex­perts have cal­cu­lated that by 2023, just seven years from now, if this re­gion in­vests in pri­vate and cor­po­rate pen­sions at a level that re­flects the av­er­age of the 16 coun­tries stud­ied by Tow­ers Wat­son in 2015, pen­sions will rep­re­sent $1.9 tril­lion in as­sets un­der man­age­ment, which in turn can turn the re­gion into a su­per fi­nan­cial cen­tre.

Ebrahim K Ebrahim

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