2014

WORLD’S BEST BANKS 2014

WORLD’S BEST BANKS 2014

Global Finance unveils its annual list of the  best banks globally, regionally and by country. The banking industry remains under stress, but there are bright spots.

EMERGING MARKETS BRACE FOR FED TIGHTENING

EMERGING MARKETS BRACE FOR FED TIGHTENING

CAPITAL MARKETS | FOREIGN EXCHANGE
As the Federal Reserve winds down its bond-buying program and prepares to raise rates, analysts are debating the likelihood of a repeat of last year’s “taper tantrum”—when the mere hint of a gradual end to quantitative easing in the US caused huge disruptions to emerging markets (EMs).

GOLDMAN SACHS TO TAP GROWING ISLAMIC MARKET

GOLDMAN SACHS TO TAP GROWING ISLAMIC MARKET

CAPITAL MARKETS | ISLAMIC FINANCE
To diversify its sources of financing, Goldman Sachs plans to issue a benchmark Islamic bond, at a time when demand for sukuk is outrunning supply. Meanwhile, South Africa is planning its first sovereign sukuk, and the Egyptian government is working on a new sukuk law, following the military’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year.

SAUDI EXCHANGE OPENING WILL INCREASE RIYADH'S IMPORTANCE

CAPITAL MARKETS | MIDDLE EAST EQUITY
Riyadh, the Saudi capital, has already built a new financial district, named after King Abdullah, but its 42 new skyscrapers stand largely empty. That could change following the decision by the government in July to allow foreign financial institutions to invest directly in listed shares, starting in the first half of 2015.

INSURERS OFFER LONGEVITY HEDGES TO DE-RISK PLANS

INSURERS OFFER LONGEVITY HEDGES TO DE-RISK PLANS

MANAGEMENT | PENSIONS
As people live longer, many companies are discovering that they have to pay pension benefits to retirees for longer than they had expected. Insurance companies are stepping in with new products that can help take this “longevity risk” out of corporate defined-benefit pension plans.

WORLD’S BEST SUBCUSTODIANS 2014

WORLD’S BEST SUBCUSTODIANS 2014

Subcustodians are being pressured by declining margins and low interest rates at the same time they are trying to cope with an onslaught of new regulatory requirements. For those with the skill and the wherewithal to meet the challenges, however, the business of protecting and servicing client assets remains profitable. Global investing is expected to continue to increase in the future.

GCC 2014: LOWERING EXPECTATIONS

GCC REGIONAL SUPERSECTION 2014 | INTRODUCTION
The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have some of the world’s highest living standards and a combined GDP of more than $1.6 trillion. They play an important role in maintaining global economic stability, and their continuing prosperity depends critically on oil prices and the ability to generate surpluses to pay for infrastructure development and job creation.

GCC UNITY BEGINS TO FRAY

GCC UNITY BEGINS TO FRAY

GCC REGIONAL SUPERSECTION 2014 | UNITY
Despite more than 30 years of political and economic unity, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries remain divided when it comes to foreign policy and approaches to national and regional security.

SHADOWS OF THE PAST

COUNTRY REPORT: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Despite a fast-growing economy and plans to boost growth via infrastructure investments, debts are mounting again at Dubai’s government-related entities. Is the day when Dubai World almost collapsed coming back to haunt investors?

SAUDI INVESTMENT BANK NAMES FEMALE CEO

NCB Capital, a major Saudi Arabian investment bank, named Sarah Al-Suhaimi, an accomplished asset manager, as its new CEO. She is the first woman to head an investment bank in the kingdom. The Saudi government owns part of National Commercial Bank, which controls NCB Capital.

SANCTIONS THREATEN RUSSIAN DEALS

Mergers and acquisitions involving Russian companies, including Morgan Stanley’s planned sale of its global oil-trading unit to Rosneft, are threatened by Western sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

Corporate Debt: Verizon’s Refi Redux

CORPORATE FINANCING NEWS By Gordon Platt Verizon Communications, which sold $49 billion of debt last September in the largest bond sale ever, has returned to the bond market repeatedly this year to take advantage of low interest rates to refinance ...

Qatar: Spotlight On Labor Reform

MIDDLE EAST 2014 SUPPLEMENT By Gordon Platt Occurring on the global stage, the World Cup 2022 is helping to highlight labor market reform in Qatar. At least 400 Nepalese construction workers have died in Qatar in the run-up to the ...

Middle East: The Price Of Progress

MIDDLE EAST 2014 SUPPLEMENT Visitors to the Middle East cannot help but be awed by the majestic skylines of the metropolises that have sprung from the desert sands along the Arabian Gulf. While oil wealth has paid for this development, ...

Middle East Thrives Amid Political Flux

MIDDLE EAST 2014 SUPPLEMENT By Gordon Platt The economies of the Middle East continue to prosper despite ongoing instability. In some cases, that instability is creating the greatest opportunities. However, any prospects for investing do come with a unique set ...