GCC’s BFSI Leaders Gear Up for AI and Blockchain Powered Future at the Naseba FinTech Summit in Dubai

GCC’s BFSI Leaders Gear Up for AI and Blockchain Powered Future at the Naseba FinTech Summit in Dubai
02.11.2017 12:24 pm

GCC’s BFSI Leaders Gear Up for AI and Blockchain Powered Future at the Naseba FinTech Summit in Dubai

Banking , FinTech StartUps , IT Innovations , Infrastructure

Naseba’s FinTech Summit, held in association with Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), successfully concluded with more than 200 Banking Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) enterprise decision makers from across the region meeting to discuss and evaluate the latest developments in FinTech.

Under the theme ‘Transforming BFSI Enterprises’ and aligned with the UAE National Innovation Strategy to position the country as a hub for innovation and technology in finance – a policy that has gained traction over recent months – the summit covered: artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, cyber security, regulation, crypto currency and other game changing developments. 

Kicking off the proceedings, Alastair Lukies CBE, the UK Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for FinTech, delivered an address on digitising the industry, innovating products and services, and generating ROI through the adoption of FinTech. Alastair urged enterprises in the region to borrow a leaf from leading technology companies and adopt a model that puts the consumer experience first. 

Following Alastair’s talk was a big debate on Innovation vs Regulation, featuring Bryan Stirewalt, M.D of Supervision, DFSA; Wai Lum Kwok, Capital Markets Executive Director, Abu Dhabi Global Markets; Dan Doney, CEO, Securrency; and Osama Al Rahma, CEO, Alfardan Exchange. This was a monumental session as it involved two of the country’s leading financial regulators, a financial institution and a financial technology provider all on stage discussing the opportunities and challenges of FinTech in the region.

The summit also featured a series of lively panel debates, including a discourse on the issue of enterprises collaborating or competing with FinTech firms. The panel was chaired by Dhruv Panchal, Group CIO, Finance House and featured John Marx; Sagar Shah, FinTech Saudi; and Christopher Taylor, CEO, Abu Dhabi Finance. Christopher Taylor, the CEO of Abu Dhabi Finance said, “We are witnessing a deep shift in the way BFSI is innovating to exploit new digital technologies, supported by Fintech and increased competition and I think it is a positive one."

The global and regional impact of blockchain – a technology market set to reach values of $7.7 billion by 2024 – was  covered in a later discussion featuring Naimish Shah, Senior VP Innovation, Emirates NBD; Saleem Ahmed, SVP Information Technology, Sharjah Islamic Bank; Fady Sleiman, CIO, Waha Capital; and Gregory Simon, CEO, Loyyal, a loyalty platform leveraging blockchain technology.  

The panel discussed the potential of blockchain technology in the finance industry and the wider role it will play in line with the Dubai Blockchain Strategy for 2020. Saleem Ahmed said: “Blockchain technology has reached the point of no return and there are enormous opportunities for financial organisations to leverage this by creating new business models and streamlining business processes at a potentially lower cost to the end customer with much faster fulfilment times”.

As GCC nations race to position themselves ahead of global trends in the burgeoning FinTech sector, a number of strategies to boost innovation have been launched across the UAE, such as the DIFC FinTech Hive and the Abu Dhabi Global Market sandbox programme. In May, DFSA announced the launch of the Innovation Testing Licence (ITL), a special class of restricted financial services licence to allow real-time, live FinTech R&D within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

“The summit was a clear demonstration of Dubai’s intent as a financial services leader” said Sam Tidswell-Norrish, Principal at Motive Partners & Chief of Staff to UK Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for FinTech. “Dubai is positioning itself for the future by embracing the intersection of financial services and technology for the benefit of the Dubai economy and the people. In a world where regulatory directives play such an important role in innovation, the support of the DFSA was extremely encouraging. We hope to play an active role in the region’s growth and the sector’s development.”

“Over 200 executives including 150 pre-qualified enterprise buyers and investors meeting with leading FinTech companies is more than just a sign that the region is very much ready for FinTech and blockchain technologies” said Naveen Bharadwaj, Naseba’s Production Director. “We thank the DFSA for their support and commend all leaders who are taking initiative to innovate and leverage technology in the BFSI industry. The applications of FinTech are boundless, and the functions that have been developed so far, are just the tip of the iceberg.  We are witnessing the evolution of a cohesive and flexible BFSI industry that serves all stakeholders efficiently, and its implications for the region are exciting”

For more post-summit related information about the summit, please contact Sharath Ravi on sharathr@naseba.com

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