New risk management, governance rules for UAE banks by year-end

The UAE plans to release new risk management and corporate governance rules for banks by the end of this year, a senior central bank official said on Wednesday, as a looming economic slowdown threatens to pressure credit quality.

"We are changing the UAE regulatory framework that will be consistent and transparent as per international standards," James O'Brien, head of regulatory development at the central bank, told a conference of regional regulators.

"There will be a clear emphasis on board and management responsibility and accountability," he said, adding that financial institutions would have prior notice and time to implement the new regulations.

O'Brien did not give details of the reforms, but said regulations governing non-bank financial companies were also under review.

Banks were hit hard by the UAE's financial crisis of 2009, as credit problems spread from small firms to large government-linked companies. Growth in the UAE's private sector is now slowing once again as low oil prices dampen the region, which could lead to a fresh rise in non-performing loans.

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