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Dubai provided a futuristic backdrop for Alliott Group’s Together Towards Tomorrow themed EMEA Regional Conference as the international alliance of independent professional firms of which MMS Group is a member, brought together member professionals from 29 countries.

The alliance, with 160 member firms in 65 countries and with a new COO (Giles Brake) and Executive Office team in place, is on a growth trajectory in 2019, with 10 firms having joined already this year and has its sights set on becoming at Top 10 ranked global alliance by 2021.

The annual event included delegates from MMS Group who gained insights from their international colleagues and external speakers into the latest global business trends as well as a greater understanding of local trends and opportunities and how to do business in the United Arab Emirates and Gulf Cooperation Council Region countries. Collaborative international breakout sessions focused on M&A, real estate, tax, law, international private wealth, global mobility and audit offered opportunities for attendees to interact in specialist forums.

Leading economist Michael Weidokal warned that the pace of technological, demographic and political change is accelerating and that “a battle for global technological supremacy is underway.” Weidokal highlighted other key trends to watch, including:

  • Trade tensions having a major impact on many key economies, including China
  • Birth rates falling in many developed economies but rising in less developed economies, resulting in migration becoming a leading political issue of the modern era
  • Stagnant trade and investment levels
  • Major challenges for GCC economies in their attempts to diversify
  • Emerging economies India, Brazil and Indonesia all becoming Top 10 economies in the next 25 years.

Prestigious local speakers, including Arif Amiri, CEO of the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, explained the Dubai Plan 2021, the government plan which includes a ‘Smart City’ strategy that encompasses widespread use of blockchain and AI driven technologies. The impact of Expo 2020 was also highlighted, with the event expected to attract 25 million visitors. Opportunities for FDI in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, retail, banking and finance, manufacturing, education and healthcare were also emphasised.

With blockchain very much on delegates’ minds, speaker Bronwyn Williams explained why many sectors (such as law and accounting) are at risk from disruptive technologies and start-ups. According to Williams, middlemen are being squeezed out of the value chain as part of a general shift towards removing the inefficiencies from transactions.

Keynote speaker James Taylor advised that we should not fear technology but focus on use of human creativity to augment the impact of technology: “In many areas, due diligence for example, we cannot compete with machines and must combine the best of ourselves with these exponential technologies.” Creativity was cited as the number 1 skill humans must reclaim in order to thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Practical strategies were shared with delegates to help them to innovate.

Louis Meyer adds: “Our membership of Alliott Group extends the reach of our firm to 65 countries worldwide. The alliance’s conferences give our professionals the opportunity to gain an edge in our local market by forming powerful personal relationships with experts all over the world who can help our clients with complex international issues when needed.”

Giles Brake, COO, adds: “In just a few decades, Dubai has become a gateway to the world where almost anything is possible and where targets are set high. We like to think that Alliott Group has an equally ambitious vision and that together with our member firms, we are taking steps to ensure we are future ready. The services we provide, including conferences such as this one, support our members in developing a stronger global orientation and to be agents of change in their clients’ businesses. I would like to thank all those who contributed to a very successful conference.”

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