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Issue 18 November / December 2012

Letter from the editorial director

Dear Reader, Egypt has recently benefited from $1bn worth of backing from the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) in what many might consider an unprecedented act of good faith. Only two days after Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, had taken office, ITFC signed an agreement with the government to finance petroleum and food imports over three years. ... Read More »

Financial services in MENA – a look into the future

The future evolution of Middle East banking and financial services topped the agenda at the fourth SunGard City Day held in Dubai recently. Organised by SunGard, one of the world’s leading software and technology services companies, the annual event is a forum for senior capital markets specialists, corporate and retail bankers and finance IT professionals. Wissam Khoury, managing director, SunGard ... Read More »

Support for Saudi SMEs

The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit, (ICIEC) and a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Commercial Bank (NCB) of Saudi Arabia. It provides co-operation between the two organisations in supporting SMEs operating in the Kingdom and encouraging them to export. Under the memorandum, ICIEC ... Read More »

Asset management growth stalls

The $58 trillion global asset-management industry faces rising headwinds and its growth has stalled, putting the industry’s attractive economics at risk, according to a report released by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Entitled Capturing Growth in Adverse Times: Global Asset Management 2012, the report provides the findings of BCG’s tenth annual study of the worldwide asset-management industry. Asset managers collectively ... Read More »

NBAD ‘opens’ in China

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has opened a representative office in Shanghai, beginning its operations in mainland China. Founded in 1968, NBAD, in addition to its massive domestic network, has the largest international presence among all UAE banks, with more than 50 overseas business units located in 14 countries. NBAD enjoys one of the strongest combined ratings among ... Read More »

Bottomline strengthens EMEA team

Bottomline Technologies, a leading provider of payment, invoice and banking solutions, has announced that Jim Conning has became director of payments for the EMEA region. He will be responsible for driving growth and increasing market penetration. “Banks and corporates increasingly need to find new ways of enabling competitive differentiation through operational efficiency and straight through processing, which the Bottomline suite ... Read More »

Islamic ‘first’ from Stanchart

Standard Chartered Bank has announced the launch of the industry’s first Islamic Euro Nostro[1]Account. Islamic banks across the world will now be able to earn Sharia-compliant profits on their account balances at Standard Chartered Bank’s branch in Frankfurt. Bank Alfalah, one of the leading banks in Pakistan, was the first to sign an agreement with Standard Chartered for an Islamic ... Read More »

Fifth top title for SABB

SABB, for the fifth consecutive year, has been recognised by Euromoney magazine as “The Best Cash Management Bank in Saudi Arabia” for 2012. This achievement comes on the heels of being awarded the “Best Bank in Saudi Arabia” title by the same publication. The cash management award is based on feedback from CFOs, treasurers, cash management managers and financial officers ... Read More »

Billion-dollar backing for Egypt

In the midst of the crisis in Egypt and at times when the political and economic landscape was completely unclear and unpredictable, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation signed $2.2bn framework agreements with the government to finance imports of petroleum and foodstuff over three years. PAUL MELLY reports Times of fragile confidence are the real tests of friendship. These have ... Read More »

Gulf banks already scaling new challenges

Recent reports indicate that GCC countries – notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE – are strongly positioned to meet the requirements of Basel III and are already making significant progress towards implementation. This should not be taken to mean, however, that Basel III is without its challenges for the GCC states and their domestic banks. BNY Mellon’s MARK ... Read More »

Banks focus on more partnerships

LIZ SALECKA talks to senior executives who attended this year’s Sibos Convention in Japan about the top global issues and topics that emerged in relation to transaction banking and payments, treasury and trade finance While the shift in global economic growth patterns, the impact of new regulations, and the role of technology in achieving competitive edge were the key themes ... Read More »

Investing in the big ‘wish list’

The World Bank and the Islamic development Bank are to explore ‘Islamic finance as a potential tool supporting efforts of countries to reach their development and financial stability goals’. MUSHTAK PARKER looks at the detail Judging by the burgeoning number of transactions successfully closed and the utterings of senior officials and bankers in Saudi Arabia this year, it is easy ... Read More »

The ‘new boy’ finds his feet

The Bank Payment Obligation (BPO) continues to build on the pace and substance evidenced by its market debut earlier this year. CAROLINE MAGINN looks at its progress Having undergone extensive comparisons to letters of credit and many discussions about what it is not, the BPO now has its own affirmative definition. It is expected to sit comfortably alongside documentary letters ... Read More »

NBAD bond bonanza hits a high note

The GCC bond and sukuk markets are now firmly on the radar screens of global investors, according to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi In the middle of Ramadan, when GCC markets are normally quiet, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi launched and concluded a $750m-bond issue, building an order book of circa $4.5bn in less than four hours. A ... Read More »

Faster cheque clearing for corporates

An automated system of manual cheque processing offered by First Gulf Bank has enhanced its customers’ efficiency and reduced their working-capital cycle and cashflow management In the Middle East, despite all the efforts within the banks towards automation, the cheque continues to be a common instrument or means of exchange. Even though better processes are evolving at the customers’  end, ... Read More »