The Gulf Exchanges, They Are a-Changin’

By Ulf Axman, Chief Commercial Officer, Exberry

May 20, 2024


A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to visit the Gulf region. In particular, I attended both the Arab Federation of Capital Markets (AFCM) Annual Conference in Qatar, as well as The Capital Market Summit in Dubai. 

Returning to this area after two years (the very first time was 25 years ago!), it was really great to reconnect with many old friends. I’ve also had the chance to meet some of the new crew, and I’m impressed by how competent many of these younger people are.


Key issues covered

It was really pleasing to see that both events were so well attended (which was not typically the case in the old days). As a whole, the AFCM Annual Conference covered a broad range of topics crucial to the future of capital markets, including the role of capital markets in financial strategies, digitalisation trends, sustainable economies, settlement cycles, and the impact of technology on capital markets like AI and data trends. Congratulations Rami (Rami El-Dokany, Secretary General of AFCM) for having developed AFCM to today’s natural centre of gravity for the markets in the Arab-speaking world.

In Dubai, the Capital Market Summit explored key topics across traditional and innovative finance, discussing global finance dynamics, MENA market trends, AI, cryptocurrency, and transformative finance innovations aimed at redefining market strategies and enhancing investor experiences, and (possibly most importantly) deepening the liquidity.


An overarching theme of ‘change’

One key impression my visit left on me was that, especially with the new generation, I sensed a definite feeling of optimism and momentum. 

The exchanges in the region are particularly optimistic about attracting new IPOs and listings. New co-operations will enable local settlements while also allowing for trading on international exchanges, marking a significant breakthrough. Interestingly enough, these same exchanges are also expressing an interest in having flexible systems to help support these initiatives.



Just like the Bob Dylan song from my youth, “The Times They Are a-Changin’”, and from my vantage point of closely observing the Gulf region for the past twenty-five years, I am now seeing an infusion of new ideas that are gradually revitalising the need for a more advanced technology set-up. However, challenges like slow support persist, emphasising the ongoing need for responsive service.

Recent European Elections and Their Implications on Capital Markets

The elections for the European Parliament, held between 6th and 9th of June, could end up significantly impacting capital markets on the continent. This juncture could have the effect of reshaping regulatory landscapes, influencing market stability and altering cross-border economic activities.

Is 24/7 trading really on the cards?

We could potentially be seeing a transformative shift in the world of financial markets, as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) seems to seriously be considering 24/7 trading

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