24th XBRL International Conference opens in UAE

Sultan Saeed Nasser Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy and Board Chairman of Securities and Commodities Authority, inaugurated the 24th XBRL International Conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Hosted by the Securities and Commodities Authority, the first ever XBRL conference in the region sheds light on the benefits of electronic filing and highlighted the XBRL's efforts to improve the overall business process of reporting financial results to shareholders and other stakeholders.

Delivering the keynote address, the minister announced that the UAE economy had grown by about 3.3 per cent in 2011 and is expected to grow by about 4 per cent in 2012.

"Having proven its ability to address crises and respond positively to international and regional variables the UAE listed companies have posted a successful financial year in 2011. To this end, the UAE economic sectors continued to achieve outstanding growth. Leading the growth efforts, the banking sector net income grew by an approximate 30 per cent in 2011 from 2010, also the Energy sector grew by approximately 7 per cent while the Service sector advanced approximately 3 per cent," he said.

He also pointed out that the UAE listed company disclosure has evolved substantially in the past few years where timely disclosures have reached and surpassed 98 per cent. He expressed hope that the XBRL system will help further enhance disclosure in the markets.

He expressed confidence that these efforts will help boost local and international investor confidence in UAE financial markets, and will add value to the UAE economy which had been enjoying a steady recovery following the global financial crisis.

XBRL Chairperson Arleen Thomas said that engagement at the ministerial level in countries like the UAE is critical to the success of XBRL mission. She said that the conference theme, "Transparency: Available, Reliable, Comparable and Re-usable Data" is a direct reflection of the experience the UAE has had in launching their pioneering project.

"The UAE project, which is moving towards an official launch in October, is a roadmap for other countries in the Middle East and Asia," she said.

The minister also honoured a number of organisations that joined the XBRL Pilot Project in the country. The list included Emirate Integrated Telecommunications (du), National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi National Energy, Arkan Building Material, Abu Dhabi National Insurance, Waha Capital, Dana Gas, Etisalat, Al Dar Properties, Abu Dhabi National Hotels, Emirates National Bank of Dubai, Aramex, Emaar Properties, Alfirdous Holding, National Cement Company, Dubai Financial Market, Dubai Refreshments and Air Arabia.

Brokerage firms honoured were Al-Ramz Securities, Al-Ansari Financial Services, EFG Hermes, First Gulf Financial Services, Mena Corp Financial Services, Abu Dhabi Financial Services, Al-Dar Shares and Bonds, HSBC Middle East Securities and Finance House.

Auditing firms honoured include KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and Ernst '&' Young.

The three-day conference has brought together innovators and experts making electronic business information more reliable, comparable and available in real-time. The opening session was followed by three simultaneous focused Symposia providing education on the use and benefits of XBRL in Securities '&' Capital Markets, Banking '&' Business Registries, and Filers '&' their Stakeholders.

The Filer Symposia focused on how XBRL is more than a regulatory mandate and how companies are using structured information to enhance internal processes and external communications.

On March 21 and 22, XBRL will host implementation workshop which will give information about XBRL in a whole new way. "The focus isn't as much on the technology as it is on identifying different scenarios in which XBRL can meet your needs, how you build a business case for using it and what you can achieve once you have a structured data environment in place," said Arleen.

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