INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business schools, hosted earlier the latest edition of its annual Global Business Leaders Conference. Under the theme “The Future of Finance: New Technology and New Markets”, and in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the event was held at the ADGM’s Authorities Building, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi.
The seventh edition of the flagship Global Business Leaders Conference follows on the heels of the opening of INSEAD’s new campus in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as the signing of a memorandum between INSEAD, ADGM and ADEK (Abu Dhabi Education and Knowledge Authority) in May. With a host of government officials, the INSEAD board of directors, alumni and executives from around the world in attendance, the event brought to light the evolving face of finance, against the backdrop of geopolitical developments, demographic changes, globalization and technological innovation. The opening remarks were delivered by His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Managing Director of the Emirates Foundation. The keynote speech was delivered by Ludovic Pouille, French Ambassador to the UAE, followed by Khalid Khalfan Al Suwaidi, Chief Operating Officer, Abu Dhabi Global Market.
The Global Business Leaders Conference is notable for convening thought leaders to actively debate some of the world’s most pressing issues. This year’s event featured a number of plenary sessions, led by “What is the New Normal?. Moderated by Lily Hua Fang, Associate Professor of Finance, INSEAD, and featuring His Excellency Khaleefa Salem G. Al Mansouri, Deputy Undersecretary, Department of Economic Development, and Lino Cattaruzzi, Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Google, the session looked at the impact of globalization and technological changes on government and business. With a focus on the GCC, the session also explored the key opportunities to be capitalized upon in order to further drive the region’s growth in the years to come.
The second session, “Financial Innovation - Disruptive or Disrupting?”, took a close at the FinTech landscape, with perspectives from both entrepreneurs who are disrupting the sector, as well as representatives from traditional institutions, who find themselves having to adapt to a new reality. The session was moderated by Lily Hua Fang, Associate Professor of Finance, INSEAD, and featured Anand Aiyer, Artificial Intelligence Researcher and Serial Entrepreneur; Pekka Hietala, Professor of Finance and Chair, Finance Area, INSEAD; May Nasrallah, Founder and CEO, DeNovo Corporate Advisors and Todd Rupert, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ruppert International.
The final session, entitled “Diversity and Innovation in Finance”, was moderated by Peter Zemsky, Deputy Dean, Dean of Innovation, Professor of Strategy, The Eli Lilly Chaired Professor of Strategy and Innovation, INSEAD. It shed insights on the impact of technological advances and workforce diversity within the financial sphere. The session featured David Hayward Evans, Chief, Global Philanthropy, UNICEF, and Sadia Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Selar Enterprises.
Ilian Mihov, Dean, Professor of Economics, The Rausing Chaired Professor of Economic and Business Transformation, INSEAD, said, “The outlook for global markets is changing as fast as the economic and political landscape around the world. Organizations and governments around the world have gradually realized that they face a new environment, which is constantly evolving. With this in mind, there could be no better moment to foster a debate around the opportunities and challenges facing us than the seventh edition of the Global Business Leaders Conference. The latest iteration of our flagship event, along with the opening of the new campus in Abu Dhabi, as well as the signing of the memorandum with ADGM and ADEK, make this a momentous year for our Middle East campus.”
Mr. Khalid Khalfan Al Suwaidi, COO ADGM, welcomed INSEAD to their new home at ADGM and stated “The financial sector is an important enabler for any economic growth – not only for Abu Dhabi, but for the UAE and the wider region. Education and professional development are key drivers for the growth of the financial sector, for this reason, we at ADGM are working to develop Al Maryah Island as a regional hub for talent and learning within the financial sector. We believe that through this initiative, we will help cultivate a highly-skilled workforce, and ensure Abu Dhabi is an attractive destination to pursue a career in finance. INSEAD’s move to Al Maryah Island is a major milestone in achieving this objective. This will help build the talent pool and the development of human capital in the finance sector”
Miguel Lobo, Associate Professor of Decision Sciences and Director of INSEAD’s Abu Dhabi Campus, added, “The financial sector forms a lynchpin of the global economy and is increasingly playing a role in emerging markets as well. The financial landscape is seeing a market shift as a result of geopolitics and the introduction of new technology, and new possibilities are opening up, to both disruptors and traditional powerhouses alike. At INSEAD, we are proud to have brought together a varied set of individuals, with a host of viewpoints, to discuss insights on one of the most important topics of our days.”