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French Version

Local economy under the microscope

Since economic reform programs were first implemented in 1989, Jordanian governments have shown a constant concern for making these reforms more effective.

The dizzying array of Jordanian economic reforms share a common objective: adjusting the financial domain and setting investment on the right track. Since economic reform programs were first implemented in 1989, Jordanian governments have shown a constant concern for making these reforms more effective. This is in addition to establishing a cost-efficient business environment that encourages businessmen and investors to employ their money in the Kingdom.

In the financial sector experts believe Jordan is doing well. They agree financial reforms are effective when rendered through various aspects including the banking sector and the Amman Stock Exchange (ASE).

"I believe the financial regulators in Jordan are working hard to bring the financial system up to a very high standard," said Martin McMahon, financial planning manager at the HSBC Bank in Amman. He noted all indicators show Jordan walking firmly towards a transparent financial structure. He said investors should look for investments that can achieve long-term capital growth with a substantial capital return. Such investments, he added, cannot succeed unless there is a healthy financial structure to maintain these investments from any future business misfortunes.

MacMahon took part last week in a one-day symposium to discuss proper methodologies to revitalize financial planning in Jordan. The seminar, organized by the Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA), had the participation of local bankers, economic experts and participants concerned with financial planning. Among the points introduced was the idea of inviting Jordanians to take part in financial funds worldwide. McMahon pointed out investors should look at these investments as a medium to long-term share investment. He added that fund serving is rescued by a growth potential and capital protection. He gave three examples: The Pan European Fund (PEF), Nasdaq Plus Fund (NPF), and Global Titans Fund (GTF).

While the PEF concentrates on the potential European leading economies for investment, the NPF paves the way for investments to grow and ensure a full return of initial investments. The last one opens the gates for Jordanian investors and businessmen to approach the world's biggest blue-chip companies. "There is an amount of risk," stressed McMahon, "These funds give capital security, along with a steady guarantee and reasonable return." He said interest rates in Jordan are low and offer alternatives for businesses to target their cash. Asked why HSBC is not involved in the daily transactions of the ASE, McMahon said the majority of the bank's clients disapprove of the idea. "Our clients want lower risk investments than direct stock holdings.

Many of them have shares in other portfolios, but they are also looking for diversification in the local financial market." He added non-Jordanian banks, like the HSBC, need to give the benefit of their expertise to their Jordanian clients, sharing investment knowledge and business facilities. "Jordan's financial market is leading the region, and we are very impressed with the way the regulators are working in this respect."

Ghassan Joha
The Star

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