KUWAIT: CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, has launched the results of its first CFA Institute GCC Societies Survey, based on feedback from more than 200 GCC-based CFA charterholders and members from Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. The survey highlights economic, investment and employment trends and challenges in the GCC region.
Elaborating on these findings, Rafik Hafez, President of CFA Society Kuwait, stated:
“The CFA Institute GCC Societies Survey provides useful insights into the opinions and expectations of some of the most senior finance and investment professionals working in the GCC region. The economic outlook for 2016 seems uncertain, with the vast majority of respondents (81 percent) expect low oil prices to impact the GCC economy. Despite this uncertainty, the possibility of the introduction of Value-Added Tax (VAT), and human resources are dominant themes.
Views on employment opportunities for finance professionals in the GCC market are fragmented. While 41 percent of respondents expect employment opportunities to decrease, 37 percent of respondents expect opportunities to remain the same. As the economy’s potential cools, the majority of respondents express concern about the increased cost of conducting business with the possible introduction of VAT, as well as companies’ ability to attract, retain, and maintain the cost of quality talent.”
Five key findings from the survey include:
1. The majority of respondents (61 percent) believe that the possible introduction of a Value-Added Tax (VAT) to GCC countries will increase the cost of doing business and compliance for firms. This will discourage foreign direct investment (FDI), according to 17 percent of respondents.
2. Low oil prices will be the main factor affecting the GCC economy in 2016, according to 81 percent of respondents. Regional conflict is expected to be the second factor, according to 10 percent of respondents, followed by the slowdown in the Chinese economy, according to 6 percent of respondents.
3. Real estate, hospitality, and the construction sectors will drive investment over the next two years, according to nearly half (48 percent) of respondents, followed by diversified industrial products (12 percent) and transportation and logistics (12 percent).
4. More than half of respondents (51 percent) feel that levels of trust from regulators and financial institutions in the investment industry are higher than during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Levels of trust have remained the same, according to 34 percent of respondents, and 15 percent of respondents feel that they are lower than before the crisis.
5. Sharia finance will continue to see development in the region, according to more than half of respondents (64 percent).
An online survey was conducted from 26 October to 9 November 2015. 218 CFA Institute members and charterholders in three countries across the GCC participated in the survey, including: Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.