Regional banking and technology leaders gathered at the MEA Finance Banking Technology Summit held on May 26, 2021, at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Summit, themed “Future of Banking Innovation”, stood as a much welcomed, in person occasion to discuss the latest developments and most pressing issues facing the banking industry in the Middle East and Africa.

Over 200 banking and technology leaders were joined by financial experts and technology professionals in a one-day, exclusive gathering opened by Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive, Dubai Financial Services Authority, with a keynote address on the Impact of role of technology on Future Banking Strategies.

A programme of panel debates followed, starting with Technology for Banking: Past Successes, Emerging Landscape & New Challenges where the panel which included Ellis Wang, Senior Executive Vice President, Group Head of Technology, Transformation and Information, Mashreq Bank; Stefan Kimmel, Chief Operating Officer, Commercial Bank of Dubai; Yan Bechet, Head of Client Coverage, Dubai Commercial Banking, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited; Valérie Bauloye, Head of Channels & Partner Management, Appway; Sanat Rao, Chief Business Officer & Global Head, Infosys Finacle, and moderated by Zubair Ahmed, Executive Vice President & General Manager of Middle East & Africa, Veripark, discussed how banks can achieve resilience and sustainability in their digital transformation.

The next panel was on Competitors, Vendors and Partners: The Blurring Line, with speakers Mohamed Abdel-Razek, CIO – Africa Middle East & Islamic Banking, Standard Chartered Bank; Onur Ozan, Head of Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Swift Kokila Alagh, Founder, Karm Legal Consultants; and Fraser Brown, Executive Director – Banking & Insurance, Abu Dhabi Global Market exchanged views on the distinction between competition and collaboration among banks and fintech companies, moderated by Gonçalo Traquina, Advisory Partner, KPMG Lower Gulf.

Afull house of top bank and technology leaders in attendance

The increasing number of non-bank businesses companies offering consumers finnancial options have prompted banks to embrace Open Banking with the backdrop of secure data sharing to securely enhance their operational effectiveness. The Open Banking & New Business Models session with speakers Yuri Misnik, Group Chief Technology Officer, Member of the Group Executive Committee, First Abu Dhabi Bank; Saud Al Dhawyani, Chief Technology Officer, Emirates NBD; Brian Yeoh, Senior Manager – Financial Technology, ADGM; Abe Karar, Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Fintech Galaxy; Rajashekara V Maiya, Global Head of Business Consulting and Product Strategy, Infosys Finacle, moderated by Haifa Aboufarah, Enterprise Account Manager – FSI, Dell Technologies, discussed the new and exciting opportunities with banking business models that will match the anticipated demands of future banking consumers.

The afternoon session began with Demanding Consumer: What’s New and Beyond Banking and delved deeper into why banks should refocus their core services to be more consumer-driven, ensuring banking services are more accessible and should become a significant part of every consumer’s digital lifestyle. Moderated by Angela Halawi, Financial Services Lead, Microsoft, interesting insights were shared by panelists Shantnoo Saxsena, Chief Operating Officer, Mass DeFi; Ahmad Abu Eideh, Chief Executive Officer, United Arab Bank; Devid Jegerson, Head of Customer Experience and Platform Development, National Bank of Fujairah PJSC; Waleed Saied Mohamed Hasabelnabi, Co-Founder – VP Technology, Cubic Systems; and Cassim Docrat, Regional Director, DDCAP (DIFC).

With banks continuously facing the challenges of digital transformation, the final session of the day, Transformational Technologies & Implementation, focused on the main challenges in technology investment and the ensuring the right leadership to take existing banking operations into the digitally transformed bank of the future. This discussion included Ken Coghill, Director and Head of Innovation & Technology Risk Supervision, Dubai Financial Services Authority, with Ghinwa Baradhi, Chief Information Officer – Middle East, Northern Africa & Turkey (MENAT), HSBC; Giselle Bou Ghanem, Senior Program Manager for Public Cloud- International CTO Office, Avaya; Zubair Ahmed, Executive Vice President & General Manager of Middle East & Africa, Veripark; and Nicolai Solling, Chief Technology Officer, Help AG with Mohamed Roushdy, CEO, Fintech Bazar as moderator.

In between the panel debates were shorter focus sessions including DeFi: Future of Finance on Blockchain with Gaurav Dubey, CEO, TDefi Accelerator;

Accelerating Digital Transformation of Bank with Multi-Cloud and AI Solutions with Omar Akar, Vice President & Managing Director – Cloud & AI Business Group, Huawei; Reshaping Cybersecurity for the Distributed Age with Nicolai Solling, Chief Technology Officer, Help AG; and Maximize Business Impact with Secure Real Time Payments with Damon Madden, Principal Product Sales Specialist, ACI Worldwide, Inc.

MEA Finance Banking Technology Summit 2021 was ably and gratefully supported by Infosys Finacle, Huawei, VeriPark as Gold Sponsors; SWIFT, Massde.fi, Tdefi, Dell Technologies, and Cloud 4C as Silver Sponsors; Appway, DDCAP Group, eHosting Datafort, Cubic Information Systems, Worx and ACI Worldwide as Exhibitors/Sponsors; Fintech Surge as Event Partner with MEA Business and The Wealth Today as Media Partners.

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