Middle East should be cautious, urges Bahrain regulator

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BAHRAIN – Middle Eastern regulators should proceed with caution despite the recent economic boom in the region, according to Rasheed Al Maraj, the governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

Speaking at the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) annual regulatory summit, Al Maraj warned that the subprime crisis, the credit crunch and the Société Générale rogue trader event, highlighted the risks to the region.

“This year's conference is taking place against a backdrop of fresh challenges being posed by a number of global factors and their interplay with regional developments,” said Al Maraj. “In particular, these incidents underscore the need for good risk management and effective internal controls by financial institutions. The role of the regulator in addressing these challenges is crucial.”

Bahrain’s central bank has also introduced a Basel II-compliant framework for Islamic markets. “The recent volatility in international stock markets underscores the need for transparency, which the CBB has achieved through enhanced disclosure standards introduced as of the start of this year,” said Al Maraj.

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