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Issue 16 July / August 2012

Letter from the editorial director

Dear Reader, MENA corporates are on the move. They are expanding both regionally and internationally to diversify and grow their businesses, giving rise to an increased focus on how they manage their treasury operations, and the technology and systems they put in place. At the same time, their choice of banks has become all the more crucial as they seek ... Read More »

Bid to strengthen Islamic finance

More than 450 leaders in the international Islamic banking and finance industry engaged in critical discussions on strengthening international industry connectivity in order to enable further growth for Islamic finance in Asia. They were speaking at the third annual World Islamic Banking Conference: Asia Summit in Singapore. The global Islamic finance industry has over the past decade witnessed a transition ... Read More »

Bank expands custody coverage

Standard Chartered Bank has announced the expansion of its regional custody coverage for investors and intermediaries from its MENA regional hub in the Dubai International Financial Centre. The service now covers more than 40 markets across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East along with a few select countries from other regions, making it, says the bank, the most comprehensive regional ... Read More »

Some emerging market banks ‘failing expectations’

New research has found that banks in some of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets are struggling to keep up with changing customer expectations, particularly in multi-channel areas such as social media and mobility. The research, undertaken by Celent on behalf of SunGard, consisted of two surveys of more than 1,000 consumers and 100 banks in eight countries across the Middle ... Read More »

BPO scores a ‘first’

Standard Chartered Bank has facilitated the first end-to-end automated trade finance transaction with the Bank Payment Obligation (BPO) through its Straight2Bank platform. It was carried out between BP’s petrochemicals business for Oman-Based OCTAL and a global leader in the packaging industry. This transaction heralds a new era of greater efficiency and paperless trade settlement. Launched by SWIFT, the BPO is ... Read More »

Falcon Group posts record profits

A leading alternative financier remains on-track to achieve a target $5bn gross turnover within the next three years, says chairman Kamel Alzarka. Falcon Group – based in London and the Middle East – achieved record post-tax profit in excess of $27.5m in 2011-2012 – an increase of more than $7m compared with the previous year. The figure represents the fourth ... Read More »

BMO opens up in Abu Dhabi

The BMO Financial Group has established a representative office in the Middle East based in Abu Dhabi. It “will provide regional relationship coverage for institutions in the MENA and make a broader array of asset management and investment banking services available to its clients in the region”. Bill Downe, president and chief executive officer, said, “The opening 
of this office exemplifies ... Read More »

Islamic finance set to reach $5 trillion by 2016

The global Islamic finance and banking sector is pegged at $1 trillion with an estimated growth rate that is four times higher than conventional financial services, according to organisers of the upcoming International Islamic Finance Conference 2012. In a news announcement, the event management team at Emerald Insight suggested that the demand for the Sharia’a-managed industry is largely marketing driven ... Read More »

New Saudi office for SunGard

SunGard Financial Systems has opened a new office in Riyadh. Located in the Kingdom Tower in the Olaya commercial district, it will help SunGard “work more closely with its customers in the Kingdom, and so help support the growing importance of Saudi Arabia to both the regional and global finance industries”. SunGard has been active in the Middle East for ... Read More »

Barclays expands debt finance team

Barclays Bank is continuing to expand its corporate banking offering through the expansion of debt finance origination capabilities in the GCC. Alexander Harrison has been put in charge and will be responsible for driving the business “by providing the best lending solutions to clients”, and managing the bank’s debt portfolio. Rezwan Mirza, managing director, head of corporate coverage, UAE and ... Read More »

The key to remittances

KeyBS, a new payment solutions technology company, has announced the launch of the KeyKiosk-KeyRemit, an automated remittance channel that allows customers to send money all over the world by simply using a self-service touch screen machine. As part of the initial phase of the roll out, it has partnered with leading exchange house Al Bader, which will install the kiosk ... Read More »

Top rating for NBAD

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has raised its assessment of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s (NBAD) capital and earnings to “very strong”, and the bank’s stand-alone credit profile to “a” from “a-,” and affirmed NBAD’s long and short-term credit ratings of “A+/A-1”, giving the bank one of the strongest combined ratings in the Middle East. S&P also rated NBAD’s outlook ... Read More »

New BNY Mellon executive for MENA

BNY Mellon has appointed Peter Hazou as head of market management for treasury services, Europe, Middle East and Africa (“EMEA”). He will report to Susan Skerritt, global head of business strategy and market solutions, and will work closely with the experienced team already in place, including Dominic Broom, head of sales and relationship management in EMEA. Hazou joins BNY Mellon ... Read More »

Expanding corporates seek top-notch banking partners

Middle Eastern corporates are expanding both regionally and internationally to diversify and grow their businesses, giving rise to an increased focus on how they manage their treasury operations, and the technology and systems they put in place. LIZ SALECKA reports. MENA corporates’ choice of banks has become all the more crucial as they seek out partners that can support their ... Read More »

Where fund preservation is the first priority

Rigorous management coupled with conservative principles have allowed Invesco to demonstrate how its investment options provide security and preserve core values. PAUL MELLY reports. “Our primary focus is to ensure the safe return of each dollar – rather than to take risks to generate an excessive return on a dollar,” says Tim Jackson, institutional product director at Invesco Asset Management. ... Read More »

Instability pushes up call for more ‘safety’ insurance

The demand for export credit and investment guarantees has increased dramatically in the wake of the Arab Spring and the signs are this trend will continue in the foreseeable future. MUSHTAK PARKER casts an eye over the financial landscape “sovereign guarantees – no-one takes them seriously these days. They don’t mean much, especially in the wake of what has been ... Read More »