Bankers in the Middle East say they have learned some lessons from the global financial crisis and the bursting of the property bubble in Dubai: Stay away from real estate and stock market speculation and take a defensive approach to lending. There is an urgent need for the financial services industry in the Middle East to identify the optimal regulatory environment that is conducive to the long-term growth and stability of all investment classes, Dubai International Financial Center governor Bin Sulaiman told a hedge fund conference in Dubai last month. While the region takes pride in its prudence, it is not averse to taking calculated risks. Central banks across the region have shifted their monetary-policy focus from restraining inflation to ensuring that banks have adequate liquidity. Of course, the global and regional economic outlook has changed considerably, and sentiment is not what it was, says Sulaiman. Yet it is important to note that the region is in a far better position than other parts of the world.