Monday 20 May 2019

UBF forum offers insights into banking trends

DUBAI, November 11, 2018

The sixth edition of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF)’s Middle East Banking Forum concluded today (November 11) in Dubai, offering exclusive insights into emerging opportunities and challenges facing the banking industry over the next decade.

Presented by the UAE Banks Federation in association with Financial Times, the forum at Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City attracted 24 prominent speakers and over 500 delegates from 38 countries, including leading policymakers, as well as senior executives and officials from banks, financial services firms, financial regulators, government entities, consultancies, technology companies, and law firms.

AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, chairman of UAE Banks Federation, said: “Featuring thought-provoking sessions and panels that offered unique insights into underlying trends that will reshape the banking industry in the upcoming decade, the Middle East Banking Forum 2018 came to a successful conclusion and we cannot be prouder.

“The enthusiastic participation of industry regulators, experts and executives is a true reflection of the industry stakeholders’ unwavering commitment to come together and contribute to ongoing efforts focused on future-proofing the regional banking sector. The initiatives such as this forum provide the industry a platform to exchange ideas and expertise to further strengthen its endeavours and UBF will continue to extend its support to build and sustain a thriving banking ecosystem in the region.”

Al Ghurair highlighted how the UAE’s banking sector maintained steady growth in spite of volatility across global markets and regional challenges, cementing its position as the largest banking sector in the Arab world. He also shed light on various initiatives UBF launched as part of its endeavours to contribute to the development and growth of the sector.

Furthermore, Al Ghurair stressed the importance of collaboration and collective efforts to future-proof the banking and financial services industry in the face of growing challenges.

Delivering the opening keynote address, Brett King, best-selling author of ‘Bank 2.0 and Bank 3.0’, and Founder and CEO of mobile bank ‘Moven, who is also a futurist and the host of radio show ‘Breaking Banks’, explored trends that will shape the banking sector over the next 10 years, including the future impact of mobile payments, open banking, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

He also examined why embracing change and revisiting business models will become imperative for traditional banks to survive amidst the rise of digital technologies, increasing competition from new non-bank entrants and shifting customer demands.

Offering a central banker’s perspective on forthcoming disruptions, opportunities and challenges, Olli Rehn, Governor of the Bank of Finland and Member of the Governing Council for the European Central Bank, highlighted in his keynote address how the financial industry is going through a major transformation driven by the emergence of new technologies and therefore, it is crucial to find the right balance between regulation and innovation in order for consumers and banks to benefit from new possibilities.

The forum also featured an on-stage interview of Daniel Klier, group head of Strategy and Global Head of Sustainable Finance, HSBC, with James King, Middle East Editor of The Banker. Klier explored why sustainable finance is increasingly becoming important and how lenders and investors can contribute to local and international efforts towards creating a more sustainable global economy by incorporating environmental, social and governance principles into their decision making. He highlighted that several banks are playing their part by focusing more on sustainable finance through lending and investing in renewable energy and in businesses that develop or use lower-carbon technologies.

In addition, the event featured four engaging panel discussions. The panel, titled ‘Finding a winning retail banking strategy in the digital age’ offered insights on the development and execution of a futuristic strategy to convert these technological advancements into opportunities and overcome challenges cropping up from the rising competition thanks to fintechs and technology companies, changing customer demographics, the current interest rate environment and the growing popularity of Islamic banking. – TradeArabia News Service

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