Sunday 10, September 2017 by Jessica Combes

UBF fifth Middle East Banking Forum to focus on harnessing the forces of global disruption


The fifth edition of the Middle East Banking Forum will be held on 22 November 2017 at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

Hosted by the UAE Banks Federation (UBF), a professional body representing 48 member banks operating in the UAE, this year’s event will be held under the theme ‘Harnessing the Forces of Global Disruption’, and will feature a series of insightful presentations, panel discussions and on-stage interviews that delve into key issues facing the banking sector in an era of rapid technological change.

span style="font-size: small;">“The Middle East Banking Forum is the federation flagship, and our contribution in raising its profile substantially has positioned it as a distinguished platform to address the latest challenges and issues faced by banks and their customers. This year’s Forum addresses a critical and timely topic, and will provide banking executives with an opportunity to share experiences and best practices and learn how they can harness the forces of global disruption to maintain business competitiveness and deliver enhanced customer experiences,” said HE AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UAE Banks Federation.

The one-day event will bring together leading decision-makers from the regional and international banking industry to discuss how banks can manage change and risk in the digital age and also explore strategies to make the most of the growth opportunities arising from digital disruption.

Banking is being disrupted in many ways: by technology, by regulation, by market trends, by competition and by much more. Hence, the Forum is scheduled to address how should banks grasp these challenges and use them to their own benefit among other important questions.

span style="font-family: Calibri;">Prominent speakers at the event include HE Mubarak Rashid Khamis Al Mansouri, Governor of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates; HE Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al-Ghurair, Chairman of UAE Banks Federation; Ralph Hamers, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board, ING Group; among many others.

span style="font-size: small;">“Our coming together to host this important initiative reflects our shared interest in promoting the growth and advancement of the regional banking industry,” added Al Ghurair.

Important topics that will be discussed at the Forum include how banks can harness the forces of disruption and turn them into opportunities, as well as the importance of maintaining business agility and creating new operating models to succeed in a fast-changing environment. The event will also focus on the difficulties faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in obtaining financing from banks and explore how the new Central Bank regulation will make it easier for SMEs to get loans from banks.

Other topics of discussion include the rise of the ‘robo-banker’ and the impact of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) on the banking industry, the dangers in cyberspace and how banks can protect themselves against cyber-attacks, the importance of continuous improvement in customer service, and the need to capture the power of digital technology to achieve agility and profitable growth.

The Middle East Banking Forum has evolved into an annual meeting point for banks operating in the UAE and the region, and last year’s edition proved a resounding success with more than 430 senior banking executives in attendance. Last year event addressed a variety of important topics ranging from de-risking, customer service enhancement, and mobile banking to cyber security, fraud prevention, and the impact of financial technology.


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