On 3 March 2015, the Dubai office of international law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP, in partnership with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), hosted a regulatory seminar panel discussion on the topic: "Compliance - a hindrance or a support".
The session was aimed at providing the audience with a greater understanding of the complexities involved in compliance and regulatory issues in the UAE and to grasp the key differences between DIFC and UAE practices. It also addressed areas such as cross-border challenges; outsourced compliance; and conduct risk.
An expert panel included many senior figures such as Lawrence Paramasivam (Director, Conduct of Business, Supervision, DFSA), John Wilkinson (Senior Forensic Partner, PWC), Peter Brady (Group Chief Compliance Officer, The Abraaj Group) and Jurry de Vries (CEO, Total Solutions). The Dubai office was also joined by Regulatory Partner, Tony Woodcock from London who moderated the panel and Dr Ashraf Gamal El Din, CEO of Hawkamah who delivered the welcome address at the seminar.
The seminar tackled the key regulatory issues encountered within this region and looked at aspects from both a DIFC and UAE perspective. Tony Woodcock led the discussions along with Shiraz Sethi (an experienced regulatory law practitioner) of Stephenson Harwood, inviting questions from the audience through their individual ipads, which were given to each attendee during the registration process. In addition, a number of live polling questions were put to the audience and ‘real time’ results were projected to the big screens and discussed by the panel.
Tony Woodcock, Stephenson Harwood, commented “The event has provided an outstanding opportunity for practitioners who bear responsibility for negotiating their enterprises through the minefield of domestic and global regulation to engage in informed debate, and exchange views with each other, on what concerns them most and what challenges the future holds for them."
Over 150 seasoned professionals from local and international firms with a specific focus on compliance across many sectors attended the innovative and thought-provoking seminar. It was also followed online by people across the globe that joined the seminar through the live video web-link sponsored by Thomson Reuters.
The collaboration of Stephenson Harwood Middle East with the Dubai International Financial Centre marks the second of its kind and beginning of a number of upcoming events creating awareness of the DIFC and its 10th anniversary in Dubai. It also follows on from the successful collaboration back in November 2014 where the firm and the DIFC partnered in hosting a very successful employment seminar. Stephenson Harwood is planning a sanctions seminar in September of this year, followed by another employment seminar in November in conjunction with the DIFC.