Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Watch out school kids, big brother will soon be watching you

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By Paul Sandle

Sit back a minute and think back to your school days — doing homework on the bus, skipping double physics on a Friday afternoon…nice, huh? Well, no more if Pearson prevails.

The reluctant student skulking at the back of the class, copying homework at the last minute or taking a day off, like Ferris Bueller, could find school a lot tougher if his college starts using the publisher’s latest education products.  

Pearson, number one among educational publishers, which already complements its textbooks with online learning and testing tools, has developed applications to monitor attendance, punctuality and every other aspect of a student’s school record.

“There’s quite scary technology that we’ve got: scary for the student but great for the parent,”  Chief Financial Officer Robin Freestone said at Reuters Media Summit in London. 

Being socially responsible investor in the Gulf

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Socially responsible investing, which takes into account social, environmental and governance risks, is arguably still in its infancy in the Gulf, where the enormous wealth created by hydrocarbons sometimes flows into extravagant projects like an indoor ski resort.

But Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, managing director of Abraaj Capital – the Middle East’s biggest private equity firm — sees SRI as enlightened self interest and the firm puts its own money where its mouth is.

Time private bankers got professional

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It’s hard to imagine that a banker who represents multimillionaires would be anything but professional – but a top executive at a leading global bank thinks that’s precisely the wealth management industry’s problem.

“There is so much mediocrity in the industry we have to raise the bar here,” said Gerard Aquilina, vice chairman of Barclays Wealth, at the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Geneva.

Young minds, old bodies offer private equity opportunities

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Healthcare and education offer a new frontier for Middle
East private equity firms as they take advantage of dramatic
demographic changes in the region.

At least that’s the view held by Dubai-based private equity
player Abraaj Capital.

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