An Interview with Mohammed Kateeb, Group Chairman & CEO of Path Solutions
Financial IT: You recently launched both a new vision and mission for Path Solutions, heralding a new era in digital and intelligent software. Can you tell us more about it?
Mohammed Kateeb (MK): In the month of February 2020, we announced the availability of two sub-platforms, Path Digital and Path Intelligence which can bring tremendous value to our clients in meeting their digital and intelligence ambitions. Both set out an exciting plan spanning digital to the core solutions to help our clients in their digital transformation, while harnessing intelligent technologies like AI, Machine Learning and Big Data, delivering unprecedented value to our clients and their customers.
These two platforms are complementing our iMAL Open Architecture platform (OAP). This OAP provides banks with significantly greater ability to communicate and to collaborate with Fintechs and other protagonists. Open banking, which involves revolutionary change in financial services provides all with huge opportunities. We want to empower the banks so that they can provide innovative and attractive services to their customers.
Financial IT: Vision 2025 sets an exciting new direction for the company. What does this commitment involve and what are the steps to implementing this transformation programme?
MK: Currently, we have about 30% of our bank clients on our new OAP. In five years, we want to move all our clients onto the new platform. Of course, we are expanding the number of banks all the time. There are several elements included in our new vision. We help our clients to become more digital and to re-engineer their processes. Ultimately, human involvement with standard processes will be eliminated. Our bank clients will have greater ability to become, to operate as or to compete with branchless banks.
Financial IT: What about analytics and corporate intelligence?
MK: We give our bank clients greater ability to analyse the huge amounts of data that the banks already have about their customers. The ultimate aim is to create a digital bank which uses intelligence and analytics throughout the organization in order to make better decisions, to understand customers better and to develop more attractive products.
Financial IT: How do you perceive technology to be driving the evolution of intelligent banking?
MK: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are having an impact on most industries – and not just the financial services. The successful Fintechs will be those that can use data more efficiently than traditional institutions. The successful financial services organizations will be those that can collect data from many different channels – including social media. Most obviously, this works for control of fraud. However, it is also relevant to wealth management and other aspects of financial services. Expect to hear a lot more about data analytics.
Financial IT: Tell us more about how financial institutions that are encumbered by large amounts of legacy technology will survive and thrive in the new world.
MK: In today’s financial services industry, sticking with legacy technology that has been in situ for 30 or 40 years is a recipe for disaster. Institutions who are largely dependent on legacy technology need to surround that technology with new systems that meet the needs of today.
That is where we can help, with our new open API Digital platform. We can assist a bank with gathering data, integrating systems and gaining a holistic view of customers. When that customer walks into a branch, the bank should already know what it needs to know. If there is a suspicious transaction, that transaction should be flagged immediately. It should be possible for the bank to analyse huge amounts of data. Having done that, the bank should be able to develop products that are highly attractive to its customers.
In the new world, a bank that really wants to increase the number of customers can do so by engaging with people who are first time users of financial services. Almost everyone can be reached through his mobile phone. The race for financial inclusion is speeding up. The Fintechs and banks that best understand open banking are the organizations that are most likely to be among the winners.
Mohammed Kateeb is an established leader, known for being results-driven, dynamic and highly entrepreneurial. He has a diverse experience in building businesses, teams and identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities for over 30 years in the USA, UK and the Middle East.
Before joining Path Solutions, Mohammed has spent 11 years as an executive with Microsoft. He is also known as a key contributor to the region Telecommunication, Media and Information Technology industry.
Currently, Mohammed serves as member of the Board of Trustees of IRTI, an affiliate of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) that focuses on developing a technology-enabled Islamic financial services sector leveraging state-of-the-art technology to mainstream Islamic economics and finance knowledge. Winner of the 2018 GIFA Advocacy Award (Islamic Financial Technology), he was selected the same year among the ‘Leaders of Islamic Economy in East Africa’, and in 2017 he was granted the prestigious ‘Leadership Award in Information Technologies & Media’ by ISFIN, named five times among the ‘Top 50 Most Influential Leaders Who Make the Islamic Economy’ in ISLAMICA 500. Mohammed is also the recipient of ‘Finance Monthly – CEO Award 2018’, and recognized ‘Gamechanger of the Year (Islamic Financial Technology)’ in ACQ Global Awards 2018 & 2019, honored by IFFSA with the ‘2016 Honorary Leadership Award’, named among the ‘Top 10 CEOs in Enterprise Software’ in the 2016/17 CEO Insight Global Awards, in addition to being selected twice in 2018 & 2017 ‘Best Islamic Finance Technology CEO of the Year EMEA’ by Global Banking & Finance Review, as well as ‘Islamic Finance Technology CEO of the Year 2015’ by Business Worldwide magazine.
Mohammed is also a regular speaker and has keynoted at many international conferences on the subject of IT trends in the global financial services industry, and is an active member of the Islamic finance community.