Insight Discovery’s services span corporate intelligence and PR/communications. This is because the peculiar nature of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies mean that it usually makes sense for our clients to combine the two.

For many of our clients, the combination is most usefully in the form of a Thought Leadership Roundtable. This is a carefully planned and expertly moderated discussion between representatives of the client’s organisation and other protagonists. Having identified the key messages that the client wishes to impart, we organise the Roundtable, produce the report and other collateral that the client needs, and generate the necessary publicity.

A good example is a report Insight Discovery produced for Zurich, which was titled ‘Exploring the End of Service Benefit Dilemma’. This was based on a survey amongst Heads of HR and CFOs, a Leadership Roundtable and case studies from EY. This report stirred up a lively debate and was a success with the media as it generated exceptional press coverage.

As 2017 comes to an end, it seems natural to consider what could be some of the key topics that could usefully be explored by Roundtables in the coming year or so. We suggest the following possibilities:

EXPAT CHURN. Mixed economic conditions and the application of technology to jobs means that there is likely to be at least as much turnover of staff in medium-sized and large organisations in the GCC in 2018 as in 2017. What does this mean for the financial services sector?

REGULATORY HIATUS. In late 2017, regulatory change in the region has hit like an earthquake, according to leading law firm Clyde & Co. When will the dust settle?

FINTECH HUBS. Fintech was a hot topic for many of clients who wanted assistance with event optimisation in early 2017. Will new technology really emerge from the GCC’s financial centres, or will it be imported to the region from North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe?

GEOPOLITICAL CHANGE. Excitement about the apparent easing of economic sanctions against Iran in early 2016 was empty hype. Is the same true about the excitement surrounding Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Plan and the Vision 2030 project? What are the most likely scenarios for Qatar?

LIMITS TO GROWTH, OR NOT? What is the state of play with the massive investment in infrastructure that is related in some way to EXPO 2020 Dubai? Taking a long-term view, are there really any constraints on the potential growth of the Emirate?

PRIVATE BANKS. Who are the private banks that have arrived in the region in the last two years to service Mass Affluent and (Ultra) High New Worth Individuals? Who are the private banks who have quietly left the region? What are the key offshore centres that GCC residents work with?

OPENING UP MARKETS. The GCC countries are home to massive and, for the most part, well funded Defined Benefit pension systems that cater to nationals. The pension systems are constrained from investing in GCC financial markets by the lack of liquidity. How can the problem be solved?

REGIONAL CENTRES. Hong Kong is the gateway to China; Singapore, to South East Asia. Geographic location alone means that the financial centres of the GCC are well placed to serve as conduits of funds and expertise to/from the entire Middle East, Africa and South Asia. What is the reality?

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