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Welcome to the first Keypoint newsletter for 2022!

Highlights in this quarter’s newsletter include:
One of the things that makes us Bahrain’s leading professional services firm is our ability to listen. If you have any comments on anything we have (or have not!) covered in this newsletter, please email or follow us on LinkedIn or Instagram.

We look forward to continuing our conversations with you!

With my very best wishes

Wajdi Al Jallad
Managing Director | Keypoint Group
SOCPA significantly limits ability of auditors to offer non-audit services

SOCPA’s managing director, Dr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Maghames, has confirmed that - as of 1 July 2022 - only eight non-audit services that can be provided to audit clients and total non-audit fees have been capped at 70% of the audit fees for the applicable year. Auditors have been explicitly excluded from performing advisory work - including advice related to zakat and tax planning, calculation methods, registration and assistance with litigation.

Keypoint’s tax team has developed two flyers – one in Arabic and one in English - that summarise the two recent SOCPA circulars.

If you want to discuss the consequences of this change on your business, contact or another member of our unique Saudi-based tax team.
Keypoint Ramadhan charity drive

In keeping with the spirit of Ramadhan, Keypoint’s social committee led an initiative to give back to the community by gifting toys and donating essentials to several orphanages.
Tuesday tips

As part of Keypoint’s ongoing efforts to develop and share leading practice, service line leaders have been encouraging their teams to develop brief introductions to a range of business-related content that is shared on LinkedIn as #TuesdayTips. Areas covered over the last three months include:
  1. Your trigger are your teachers
  2. Workplace friendships
  3. Data privacy
  4. The art of negotiation
  5. Cross-cultural communication
  6. Cross-cultural communication - Arabic
  7. Non-verbal communication
  8. Mental health at work
  9. Boundaries
  10. Uncertainty
Cross-cultural workshops

Senior leaders from across Keypoint – under the leadership of Dr Mukund Ballal from our financial regulatory compliance (FRCS) function – have developed a cross-curricular workshop for financial institutions – covering technical elements such as the CBB rulebook; compliance (from a financial services perspective); Islamic finance and shari’a; Bahrain’s legal and regulatory system; and Bahrain’s commercial framework as well as softer skills, such as writing skills, cultural values and attitudes; cross-cultural communication styles; intercultural management skills; language styles; time management; positivity; work ethics; communication skills; teamwork; empathy; problem-solving and presentation skills. According to Dr Mukund: “Our overriding aim is to use the workshops to develop interpersonal and cross-cultural skills in a way that builds strong connections between participants.” With sessions currently underway from a leading international bank that has had a significant presence in Bahrain for over 40 years, feedback from the workshops has been overwhelmingly positive.

For more information on our cross-cultural workshops, please contact
Changes to Bahrain’s open banking framework

Open banking includes account information services – giving customers access to all bank account information through a single platform - and payment initiation services - allowing licensed third parties to initiate payments and transfer funds through a mobile-based application. The CBB’s open banking framework (OBF) - launched in October 2020 - includes operational guidelines, security standards, customer experience guidelines, API specifications and a governance framework to protect customer data. The CBB has recently amended the general requirements module of volumes 1 and 2 of the CBB rulebook to promote digital transformation in the banking sector and to smooth the implementation of the OBF. All conventional and Islamic retail banks have been instructed to establish (and make available) a testing facility to authorised account information (AISP) and payment initiation (PISP) service providers.

For more information or questions regarding open banking, please contact
Data privacy workshops

With Bahrain’s Personal Data Protection Authority now up and running, it has been busy signposting how it expects Bahrain’s Personal Data Protection law (the PDPL) to be implemented by businesses. One aspect of that implementation has been the release of ten orders, covering issues as varied as technical and organisational measures businesses are expected to follow (order 43) to the international transfer of data (order 42). Our IT consulting function – which includes data privacy specialists - has developed and delivered workshops raising awareness of the law and impending legislation across the GCC and giving a holistic overview of data privacy.

For more information on our data privacy workshops, please contact
Changes to Saudi Arabia’s rules of origin

Under a previous customs mandate, goods manufactured in Bahrain were exempted from customs duty when imported into Saudi Arabia, so long as the goods were accompanied by a certificate of origin and the 40% value added rule was met. Saudi Arabia’s tax authority, the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA) introduced national rules of origin in July 2021, requiring anyone importing goods into Saudi Arabia to:
  • Have a workforce of at least 25% locals
  • Add value of at least 40% in the manufacturing process
  • Manufacture goods outside free zones
  • Attach a report issued by a chartered accountant in Arabic verifying the origin of the goods
ZATCA released further guidance - Rules and conditions for verification of proof of origin - in October 2021 and guidelines to procedures to issue origin reports in December 2021.

For more details on Saudi rules of origin, please contact
Countdown to second phase of ZATCA’s fatoorah project

The recent announcement by Saudi Arabia’s tax authority, the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA) of the launch of their e-invoicing sandbox for the second (integration) phase of their fatoorah project is an important milestone in the continuing evolution of the tax landscape in the GCC. ZATCA has set up the sandbox to allow taxpayers (and their advisors) to view API details, verify integration requirements and test solutions in a safe space.

Having advised Saudi businesses on the generation phase of ZATCA’s e-invoicing project, Keypoint’s Saudi-based tax advisory and IT consulting teams are well-placed to both perform ‘health checks’ on actions taken by businesses to meet the phase 1 (generation) requirements as well as working with businesses on the significantly more challenging integration requirements. We have also developed an e-invoicing tool inhouse which is currently undergoing ZATCA approval.

For more information on ZATCA’s fatoorah project, please contact
Changes to social insurance contributions in Bahrain

Law 14 of 2022 – which amends some provisions of the Social Insurance Law promulgated by legislative decree 24 of 1976 – increased the employer’s share of social insurance subscriptions by two percentage points for Bahraini workers as of 1 May 2022. Under the law, starting from January 2023, employers’ contributions increase by one percentage point at the beginning of each year until January 2028, by which point the employer’s share will be 20%. Contributions by Bahraini workers are also increasing by one percentage point from 1 January 2023, making the worker’s share – excluding the unemployment insurance contribution – 7%. The unemployment benefit levy remains unchanged at 1%. Social insurance contributions for expatriate workers have not changed.
  Employee deduction Employer contribution Unemployment levy
Before May 2022 6% 12% 1%
May 2022 6% 14% 1%
January 2023 7% 15% 1%
January 2024 7% 16% 1%
January 2025 7% 17% 1%
January 2026 7% 18% 1%
January 2027 7% 19% 1%
January 2028 7% 20% 1%
For more information, contact
IT security programmes for Bahrainis

As a public authority established as one of the cornerstones of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 to support the private sector and reinforce its role as a key player in national development, Tamkeen is arranging cybersecurity training programmes in response to market and business demands for high-quality, specialised IT security personnel. Tamkeen has partnered with a large US cybersecurity firm to train a significant number of Bahrainis across the next two years.

For more details on Tamkeen’s IT security programmes, please contact
Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development stipulates at least 60 days’ notice

Where an employee is paid monthly and their contract is unlimited, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has clarified that employees must give their employers at least 60 days’ notice of their intention to resign. Where employees are not paid monthly, they are required to give at least 30 days’ notice. Where unlimited contracts are terminated unlawfully, compensation of 15 days of wages for every year of service must be paid to employees, provided that the compensation is the equivalent of at least two months of wages.
Summer 2022 internship programme

Reflecting its role as a developer and guide of Bahrain’s most precious resource – its human capital – Keypoint has once again teamed up with many of Bahrain’s most prominent tertiary learning institutes to develop internship programmes across many of its service lines. With the duration of internship programmes varying from four weeks to three months, a number of young people will be given an unrivalled introduction to the world of work and the opportunity to understand how and why professional services firms like Keypoint support the growth of local, national and regional economies.

For more information on our internship programmes, please visit our website or contact
New joiners

We are delighted to welcome two new executives to our team:

Nihal Moidu
Assistant Manager | Human capital solutions

Nihal has focused on human resources since 2015, both as an internal HR resource with some of India’s leading companies and as an external HR consultant, designing and delivering organisation effectiveness and rewards solutions, as well as change, project and client management for organisations across multiple industries.

As an HR consultant, Nihal has worked both as an advisor and as an implementor on a range of HR transformation projects, including organisation design, developing performance management processes and scorecards, and upgrading talent management practices.

Nihal has a post-graduate diploma in management – focused on human resources and organisational behaviour from the Institute of Management Technology (India) and a B.Com from Bharathiar University (India). You can find out more about Nihal on his LinkedIn page or contact him at or +973 1720 6865.

Abdelkader Belhassane
Senior Manager | Valuation & advisory services | Basic Lines

A member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) (UK) and a RICS-registered valuer, Abdelkader is an experienced real estate professional who has worked with a sovereign wealth fund as well as managing the valuation advisory services of a leading international real estate consultancy. He has developed detailed studies and analysed the financial feasibility of strategic projects, identifying and structuring mixed-use real estate developments as well as innovative tourism-focused resorts. He has valued all types of assets: land, offices, residential and mixed-use buildings, industrial and logistics platforms, hotels and resorts, malls and retail units.

Trilingual (Arabic, English and French), Abdelkader majored in finance at Al Akhawayn University (Morocco). He was recently awarded RERA’s class A valuation license, meaning he can value all types and sizes of buildings and real estate assets in Bahrain.

You can find out more about A.Kader on his LinkedIn page or contact him at or +973 6500 0061.
Wajdi Al Jallad is 50!
Keypoint’s management and staff all turned out to wish our managing director, Wajdi Al Jallad, a very happy 50th birthday on 13 June. Wajdi has been instrumental in driving the growth of the Keypoint group over the last 15 years and this was an opportunity for us all to recognise and applaud his contribution. We look forward to the next 50 years!
Social Committee organises dog walk at BARC
As part of its mission to boost morale within the business and to support local charities, Keypoint’s social committee organised a dog walk at Bahrain Animal Rescue Centre (BARC). Despite the ferociously hot weather, confusing directions and competing attractions, roughly a dozen hardy Keypoint employees and their children – led by Arianna Krause – walked dogs and cats and watered and played with them. Our thanks to BARC for hosting us.
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