MUSCAT, 17 December 2013 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, hosted a seminar on Global Economy Outlook addressed by John Bruton, former Prime Minister of Ireland. Bruton shared his insights on the state of world economy and financial markets with specific focus on 'Ethical roots of the global economic crisis – growing deeper in 2014'.
The seminar held at the bank's head office was attended by a large turn-out of dignitaries, senior government officials, corporate executives and top Bank Muscat officials led by Shaikh Khalid bin Mustahail al Mashani, Chairman.
Bruton said: “Ethics makes good business sense and fundamentally ethical failures have been the cause of major financial crises witnessed in recent times. We live in an inter-linked global economy where the developments in one country have its impact felt across the world. The complexities of business in itself call for a regulatory environment. We need to return to ethics as the guiding principle for business and thereby develop finance creatively on the bedrock of robust economic principles. The emergence of Islamic banking and finance provides a new opportunity to establish ethical business practices."
Analysing the current economic trends across the world, Bruton pointed out that the US was back in business, witnessing an encouraging financial correction. He opined that issues such as Quantitative Easing may not spring major surprises for the world in 2014. The Chinese economy is continuing to record growth albeit with the concern of an ageing population while the BRIC nations are also progressing, tackling the challenges of corruption, he added.
Bruton commended the economic and social development in the Sultanate and said: “Oman is ideally placed with its vantage geographical location to emerge as a logistics and trading hub. The country can focus on SMEs to achieve sustainable growth."
Shaikh Khalid bin Mustahail al Mashani said: “We are thankful to Bruton for the incisive evaluation of the world economic trends. The initiative to host the seminar stems from the bank's constant efforts to maintain the leadership role in the Omani banking industry. Being your partner, this platform is another effort from Bank Muscat to highlight what we are capable of and to interact in a way beneficial for all. Such interactions with renowned experts help in enhancing our knowledge on the latest trends in how international business is conducted and utilise that understanding to our advantage in developing business."
As former Irish Prime Minister, Bruton helped transform the Irish economy into the "Celtic Tiger", one of the fastest growing economies in the world. He also presided over a successful Irish EU Presidency in 1996 and helped finalise the Stability and Growth Pact, which governs the management of the single European currency: the Euro. Currently, Bruton is chairman of IFSC Ireland, a private-sector body set up to develop the financial services industry in Ireland.
AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive, said: “Bank Muscat is gratified to facilitate yet another opportunity to equip our valuable stakeholders with the necessary insights into the trends on global economy and financial markets. The past few years have been the most challenging period for banks and financial institutions worldwide. No one has been spared from the effects of the downturn in the global and regional economies. In this context, the presentation on Global Economy Outlook was very helpful in turning the spotlight on challenges and opportunities."
Majid Al Toki, Managing Resident Partner of Trowers & Hamlins, led the Q&A session at the seminar initiated by Meethaq Islamic Banking and Corporate Banking department of Bank Muscat