Rakbank, Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), SmartStream, Network International, Backbase, Abaka, SmartMessage, Confluent, Appway, IDS Fintech, Creatio, Smart Middle East and Faloos were well-represented at the third annual edition of Finnovex Middle East to champion the conversation on what the future holds for the banking and financial sector in the Middle Eastern region.

The Leading Summit on Financial Services Innovation and Excellence, which was held from Sept. 7 to 8, 2021, was held in-person at Conrad Dubai and the host’s virtual platform witnessed the attendance of more than 1,000 C-suite individuals, senior vice presidents, vice presidents, directors and heads of departments from the banking and financial services industry.

This spectacular event was very timely as it highlighted the imperative to endow the digital future of the region by developing and leveraging new technological solutions in data, advanced analytics, digital and new delivery platforms.

Insights were shared with a blend of fireside chats, panel discussions as well as expert presentations. Industry thought-leaders explored trailblazing topics, which included open banking and APIs; artificial intelligence; cloud automation; digital transformation; cyber security and risk management; omnichannel payments revolutionizing; data analytics and more.

Pritesh B. Kotecha, the conference chairman as well as senior vice president of the Middle East, Europe and Africa at SmartStream, highlighted how timely the conversation was in relation to his role played in the industry, with his wealth of experience in relation to the current digital disruption era.

At a speaking session by Frederic de Melker, managing director of personal banking at Rakbank, he buttressed the fact that at the moment, the “middle man” in the service delivery process is dead. He further advised that anyone seeking to still get a middle man would need to digitalize him. If banks want to succeed and remain relevant, decentralization is key.

Rakbank, also known as the National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah, is one of the oldest and most dynamic banks in the United Arab Emirates. Founded in 1976, the bank underwent a major transformation in 2001, with a shift in focus from corporate banking to personal and business banking. Today, the bank offers a wide range of personal and business banking services throughout its 38 branches and its portfolio of electronic banking solutions, which include telephone and digital banking. It also offers Sharia-compliant personal and business banking services via its Islamic banking unit, RAKislamic.

Following this, Salmaan Jaffery, chief business development officer at DIFC Authority, highlighted the future of finance strategy as the driver of the entire fintech industry. He also talked about DIFC’s collaboration with government and private sector entities.

DIFC is the “numero uno” financial center for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, providing a world-class platform connecting this region’s markets with the economies of Europe, Asia and the Americas. It is also facilitating the growth in South–South trade and investment flows. As an onshore, international financial center, DIFC provides a stable, mature and secure base for financial institutions to develop their wholesale businesses.

Roland Brandli, strategic product manager at SmartStream, made mention of the disruptive impact of the “instant” phenomenon within the banking IT landscape. He further highlighted the impact of the “instant” trend on banking technology providers and stakeholders.

SmartStream is a recognized leader in financial transaction management solutions that enables firms to improve operational control, reduce costs, build new revenue streams, mitigate risk and comply accurately with regulations.

The format of the summit consisted of speaker presentations and panel discussions. The panel and presentation speakers included Saqib Khan, regional sales head of the Middle East at Backbase; Ahmed Bin Tarraf, regional president of the UAE at Network International; Fahd Rachidy, founder and CEO of Abaka; Murat Guner, regional manager of the Middle East and Africa at SmartMessage; and Abdullah Ahmad, regional sales manager of Saudi Arabia at SmartMessage. They deliberated on how banking and financial institutions are evolving and their adaptation to digital disruption in an efficiently agile and digital way.

In addition, the Finnovex Middle East Awards took place on the sidelines of the first half of the event to recognize and appreciate the effort of over 10 individuals, institutions and service providers within the field of the banking and financial services industry. The awards seek to honor the pioneers and visionaries who have transformed the overall banking and financial services industry.

The Finnovex Awards winners include:

  • Excellence in Payments — Magnati
  • Excellence in Mobile Banking — Bank Albilad
  • Excellence in Neobank — Mashreq
  • Excellence in Islamic Banking — Dubai Islamic Bank
  • Excellence in Retail Banking — Commercial Bank of Dubai
  • Excellence in Digital Onboarding — Appway
  • Digital Payments Solution Provider of the Year — SmartStream
  • Excellence in Digital Banking (UAE) — Emirates NBD
  • Excellence in Digital Banking (Saudi Arabia) — Riyad Bank
  • Excellence in Emerging Fintech — Skiply by Rakbank
  • Excellence in Customer Experience Enhancement — Backbase
  • Rising Startup of the Year — Up for Jobs
  • Outstanding Contribution to Fintech Solutions Initiatives — Abaka
  • Finnovator of the Year (the Middle East) — Frederic de Melker, managing director of personal banking at Rakbank UAE
  • Finfluencer of the Year — Amit Malhotra, general manager of personal banking group at Commercial Bank of Dubai
  • CEO of the Year — Massimo Falcioni, CEO of Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI)
  • Outstanding Contribution to Strategic National Development Initiatives — Zerak Saleh, chief operating officer of finance at the Saudi British Bank, Saudi Arabia
  • Chief Data Officer of the Year — Ali Ghuloom, head of digitization and projects management at National Bank of Bahrain
  • Chief Information Officer of the Year — Joseph George, chief information officer and head of information systems and technology at National Bank of Fujairah, UAE
  • Chief Information Security Officer of the Year — Mohammed Ahmed Al Doseri, chief information security officer of Tasheel Finance, Saudi Arabia
  • Chief Information Security Officer of the Year (UAE) — Illyas Kooliyankal, chief information security officer of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, UAE
  • Chief Technology Officer of the Year — Ellis Wang, senior executive vice president and group head of technology, transformation and information at Mashreq Bank
  • Chief Marketing Officer of the Year — Caroline Bertrand, chief marketing, digital and customer experience officer at AXA Gulf, UAE
  • Digital Personality of the Year — Olivier Crespin, CEO of Zand, UAE

The Finnovex Global series, which is organized by Exibex, examines the future prospects of the overall financial services industry and how disruptive innovations are reshaping the way they are structured, provisioned and consumed. The Finnovex series of Global Summits highlights thought leadership on cutting-edge issues with long-term implications to the industry. This lays a concrete foundation for multi-stakeholder dialogues that explore the potential of these innovations to transform the overall financial ecosystem, as well as the risks and opportunities that could emerge from shifts in the way financial services are designed, delivered and used in the future.

For more information on the Finnovex Summit editions coming up globally in the West African region in 2021, visit https://finnovex.com/.

If you would like to sponsor or be our event partner for any of our upcoming series, please send an email to info@exibex.com.

About Exibex

Exibex is an excellent market leader in producing knowledge-based conferences, managing events and in-depth business consulting. The team provides innovative and engaging networking platforms to create and engage the principal C-level communities of global corporations. The platforms enable acceleration of both individual and organizational performance to benefit global business leaders. Exibex comprehends the challenges organizations face in this volatile and uncertain market and will help your core revenue generation teams by building a complete 360-degree package tailored to your business strategies, goals and needs.

For more information:

Tolulope Folaranmi | Regional marketing manager — Exibex

E: Tolulope@exibex.com.