Dario Oscos on the Vitro case | Oscos Abogados | Video

Vitro, the Mexican-based glass manufacturer, defaulted on $1.5bn of debt in 2009 – but before so doing ensured its subsidiaries were its major creditors, allowing the company to control its own reorganisation proceedings. Its bankruptcy plan is preliminarily valid in Mexico but in the US it has been rejected: Dario Oscos explains the significance of this decision, its implications for cross-border trade, and the timeframe for a final verdict.

Terry Thompson on foreign exchange | FX Primus | Video

How can foreign exchange traders ensure they keep to their plan, and not react emotionally to unexpected market movements? By using the latest strategic software, says Terry Thompson. He explains how FX Primus’ technology innovations are helping its clients trade smarter; and how the retail forex industry is building trust with its traders, by being more transparent and moving away from the ‘market-maker’ model.

Ammar Shata on UAE investments | AlKhabeer Capital

Financial markets in the Gulf region have enjoyed strong growth, helped by healthy fiscal and current account surpluses. However, the GCC’s dependence on oil as a source of income also makes volatility high and forecasting difficult. Ammar Shata explains how AlKhabeer Capital has gained a competitive advantage in investment banking, focusing on a female client-base, gaining their trust by co-investing, and helping them find the right opportunities in real assets.

Views from FELABAN 2012: Kely Melo, Bloomberg

Kely Melo tells World Finance how the transparency Bloomberg brings to markets is helping investors in Brazil and across Latin America, and talks about the outlook for the region in 2013.

Many of our clients are banking institutions, financial institutions, and we have them here in Peru as a client and all over the world, and this is also to understand their plans also for 2013, their plans here in Peru, and how we can work together.

The challenge is economic, obviously, and how we can continue to grow as a country, as an economy, and for the bank side, how we are going to avoid the impact of the crisis we have around the world.

Our presence in Brazil is growing, much faster than before, and I think that the transparency that Bloomberg provides for the market is something that’s been very well accepted. And being reliable: in news, in financial services, so we are trying to fit to Brazil needs, and also here in Peru, to their needs for systems technology.

The outlook is sort of positive in my point of view, in comparison to what’s happening around the world. It’s a challenge to understand how we’re going to perform, having China and other countries not importing from Brazil, which is a big exporter country. So, I think it won’t be as bad as it was this year, but still we’re going to face big challenges.

Views from FELABAN 2012: Oscar Rivera, FELABAN

FELABAN is the largest conference of senior Latin American bankers outside the IMF meetings, and this year marks the 46th annual assembly. World Finance speaks to Oscar Rivera, who resigned as President of FELABAN at this year’s assembly. He discusses the organisation’s mission in furthering financial inclusion, the impact that Basel III and other north hemisphere -focused regulations will have on Latin America, and the goals of the Federation in the future.

World Finance: Financial inclusion is one of your key objectives at FELABAN; what’s the best way to develop these eMoney and financial education programmes on the continent?

Oscar Rivera: At FELABAN, we are indeed concerned about this matter: financial inclusion, and training our people up – i.e. financial education. This is because people on our continent are largely unaware of what is offered by the financial segment and the security that there is.

Therefore, this would mean that consumers would be much better informed about the products they could take advantage of. Basically, small and medium enterprises are sometimes unaware of all the financial products available which would make their lives much easier and make their transactions much simpler.

For example, with suppliers of products to supermarkets, payments are made within 90 days; factoring offered by BAN of the financial system would take the burden off their budgets, and they would have more liquid investments, rather than having to deal with the hindrance caused by 90 day payments. This goes on around the world: delayed payments being made by supermarkets.

“I do not think there is excessive regulation; I think that was the Fed’s big mistake: believing there was”

What do you think the lasting impact of Basel III will be on the continent?

Oscar Rivera: The impact on the continent – on the southern part of the continent – is a more robust economy, liquidity and strength. This is thanks to the economic policies that have been implemented in recent years by governments, which have maintained an interest in managing monetary policy, export policy and regulation in general.

This is precisely where regulation failed during the 2008 crisis in the US and now Europe: the regulators failed to fulfil their obligations.

World Finance: Is there a danger of excessive regulation leading to a reduction in lending?

Oscar Rivera: No, I do not think there is excessive regulation; I think that was the Fed’s big mistake: believing there was. There was too much deregulation, then it collapses. Instead of deregulation, it ended up becoming total liberalism.

Was there regulation? Yes, in the commercial banking sector there was, but not in the financial sector. The same is happening in Europe: there is lack of regulation to such an extend that at this point the EU said: “Let’s get rid of regulators and just share one single regulator.” I think it’s a slap on the wrist to European regulators, telling them, “You did not fulfil your purpose.”

We do have our concerns, however. Thanks to Basel, there may be over-regulation based on the problems of the northern hemisphere, which are totally unrelated to the problems of the southern hemisphere. Let me explain: the northern hemisphere is required by Basel to meet certain minimum capital requirements in 2019. These minimum capital requirements were fully achieved and exceeded in Latin America two years ago.

So, it’s clear that you cannot regulate… It’s just like within a family. You treat a badly-behaved son differently from a well-behaved son. The former needs more discipline; the latter can be given more freedom. The same goes for the economy, doesn’t it? They shouldn’t be treated the same.

“Basel III is based on the problems of the northern hemisphere, which are totally unrelated to the problems of the southern hemisphere”

World Finance: Now, commodities exports from Latin America have soared while domestic production has slowed. Is there a need to diversify?

Oscar Rivera: As regards domestic production, I think that what has been very useful during this period was that when the European and American markets in general shut down, there was a great response from the local markets. It is these local markets that have maintained the emergence of Latin American economies.

On the one hand, the socio-economic level has increased; the middle class has expanded compared with eight to 10 years ago. But in turn, trade has increased between the countries, which had not happened for years.

This idea can be personified by a football star. Latin American players are very skilful! Basically, I think that entrepreneurs from small and micro enterprises on our continent have worked hard so that they can adapt to different products, and they have achieved a much more substantial development.

World Finance: Finally, what does FELABAN want to achieve in the next five years?

Indeed, FELABAN aims to tackle the issue of financial education and to achieve greater financial inclusion. On average, in Latin America, there is financial inclusion among 50 percent of our population. But for countries such as Peru – my home country – only 30 percent of the population has contact with the financial segment. Therefore, this means making many people creditworthy who are currently not eligible for credit.

And a link that is being observed at the moment in South America is transactions carried out via mobile phones. There are more mobile phones than inhabitants: in a country of 30 million people, there are 35 million mobile phones. This is an important step, but it must be controlled by the Superintendency of Banking [the Peruvian regulator], and in turn, via a merger with the financial institutions.

I must reiterate that I’m not referring just to banks, but to financial institutions in general. Why? Because if this is not regulated, we will be faced with another major issue: money laundering. And if there is no regulation of money laundering… well, we have had bitter experiences of this in Latin America.

World Finance: Oscar Rivera, thank you.

Oscar Rivera: Thank you. We’re very glad to have you in Peru and at FELABAN. Thank you very much.

Views from FELABAN 2012: Martin Litwak, Litwak and Partners

World Finance talks to Martin Litwak about networking opportunities at FELABAN, the challenges for Uruguay and the region in general as crisis-hit countries recover, and how Latin America must improve the rule of law to give security to investors.

FELABAN is one of the largest finance conferences in this part of the world, so, you know, every banker, every law firm active in the banking industry is here. So, we come to see our clients, to see colleagues, to try to expand our business, to learn something, maybe? So it’s an interesting event.

We have seen growth over the last, you know, five or six years, but that was mostly because of the international situation: the crisis in Europe, before that the crisis in the US, more than because Uruguay has done the right things to grow. so I guess the biggest challenge now is, okay, the world will recover sometime, it’s a fact it will happen – every crisis ends. And we have to see not only in Uruguay but in Latin America in general how those countries are prepared to compete when Europe and the United States are back in the game.

2013 will be a good year for most of the countries. I think Latin America has always been weak in terms of providing rule of law to investors; I think that’s the biggest issue in Latin America, and that’s the reason why some people that find an interesting opportunity, decide not to invest, because they don’t know what’s going to happen if they need to leave the country, they don’t know what’s going to happen if the government nationalises those investments. I mean, that won’t happen in Uruguay, which is rather conservative and traditional country. But still. It’s difficult to find regulations incentivising foreign investment.

Abdulkareem Abu Al Nasr | National Commercial Bank

While most people still consider Saudi Arabia to be heavily reliant on oil, economic diversification has been one of the country’s strategic pillars since the 1980s. Today oil accounts for only 28 percent of GDP, in part thanks to the commitment of banks like NCB to supporting SMEs and local corporates. CEO Abdulkareem Abu Al Nasr discusses the current business environment and the bank’s commitment to sustainability.

Mohammad Al Mannai | Qatar National Broadband Network

Qatar’s government has launched a new initiative to roll out fibre-optic networking across the country: the first of its kind in the Middle East. The broadband segment is already expanding rapidly – it grew 21.5 percent in 2011 – so how will the new network enhance the industry? Mohammad Al Mannai discusses the potential impact that QNBN will have on Qatar’s economy.

Tim Holmes | Genesis Research & Asset Management | Video

Since 2008, assets allocated to the managed futures industry have increased by more than 50 percent. Despite the difficult trading environment of the last few years, CTA assets today total more than $325bn. Tim Holmes describes how the strategies employed by Genesis’s managers are designed to beat the high-speed trading algorithms on the market, explains his philosophy of “win by not losing,” and considers possible market movements for the next quarter.

Benson Chen on Taiwan insurance | Fubon Life Insurance

Populations around the world are getting older – but the Taiwanese population is facing one of the fastest of these demographic shifts. It’s a big challenge for insurance companies, but Fubon Life is up to the task, planning new products to cater specifically for older people and longer lives. President Benson Chen outlines the company’s latest financials and plans for the future.

Oleg Pankratov on Russian Infrastructure | VTB Capital

Shackled by budget deficits, governments are increasingly seeking direct investment from the private sector. However, Russia’s infrastructure is also challenged by a historic lack of capital investment, with some estimating that $1trn is required in the next 10 years to bring it up to par. VTB Capital’s Oleg Pankratov describes the steps which have been taken to attract private investment both locally and from overseas, and outlines some of the key PPP projects currently in development.

Sanjiv Kumar on hedge funds | Fort LP | Video

Despite ongoing uncertainty in the financial markets, hedge funds have made progress in 2012. Fort LP has a particularly strong performance record, with its global diversified fund returning 18 percent a year since it began 18 years ago. Sanjiv Kumar outlines the company’s investment philosophy, the unique strategy of ‘trend anticipation’ used in its contrarian fund, and where the investment market may be headed in the next few years.

Insurance Awards 2008

Best Insurance Company, Canada

Best Insurance Company, Latin America
Bradesco Seguros

Best Insurance Company, Caribbean
Guardian Life

Best Insurance Company, United Kingdom

Best Insurance Company, Russia

Best Insurance Company, Belgium

Best Insurance Company, The Netherlands

Best Insurance Company, Italy

Best Insurance Company, Ireland
Irish Life

Best Insurance Company, Switzerland
Swiss Life

Best Insurance Company, Scandinavia

Best Insurance Company, Germany
HDI -Gerling

Best Insurance Company, Spain

Best Insurance Company, Austria
Wiener Stadtische

Best Insurance Company, Eastern Europe
Wiener Stadtische

Best Insurance Company, Israel

Best Insurance Company, North Africa
Arab Misr Insurance Group

Best Insurance Company, Sub Saharan Africa
Liberty Group

Best Insurance Company, Middle East
Gulf Insurance Company

Best Insurance Company, India
ICICI Prudential

Insurance Awards 2009

Best Insurance Company, Australia
Insurance Australia Group (IAG)

Best Insurance Company, Austria
Uniqa Sach

Best Insurance Company, Belgium

Best Insurance Company, Caribbean
Guardian Life of the Caribbean

Best Insurance Company, Central America

Best Insurance Company, France

Best Insurance Company, Germany

Best Insurance Company, Greece
EFG Eurolife Insurance

Best Insurance Company, Hong Kong
HSBC Insurance

Best Insurance Company, India
Bajaj Allianz

Best Insurance Company, Italy
Poste Vita

Best Insurance Company, Malaysia

Best Insurance Company, Middle East
Abu Dhabi Insurance Company

Best Insurance Company, Netherlands

Best Insurance Company, North Africa
Sociéte Nationale d’Assurances Algérie (SAA)

Best Insurance Company, Pakistan
EFU General Insurance Ltd.

Best Insurance Company, Portugal
Caixa Seguros

Best Insurance Company, Scandinavia

Best Insurance Company, Singapore
HSBC Insurance

Best Insurance Company, South Africa
Momentum Group

Best Insurance Company, South America
Bradesco Seguros e Previdência S/A

Best Insurance Company, South Korea
Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance Co

Best Insurance Company, Spain

Best Insurance Company, Switzerland

Best Insurance Company, Thailand

Best Insurance Company, Turkey
AK Sigorta

Best Insurance Company, UK

Best Insurance Company, USA
Chubb Group of Insurance Companies

Best Insurance Company, Vietnam