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Issue 19 January / February 2013

Letter from the editorial director

Dear Reader, Roughly speaking, MENA bankers’ feelings about the imposition being placed on them by the US Internal Revenue Service could be summed up as follows: “We’re busy enough doing our jobs without doing yours as well.” In this issue, we report on the implications that have sprung out of the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which ... Read More »

GCC economy ‘to outstrip both EU and US’

MENA can expect a positive 2013, according to the Capital Club Bahrain, said to be the Kingdom’s premier private business club and a member of the ENSHAA group of companies. At one of its meetings towards the end of last year, some of the Arab world’s most influential business personalities and leaders in their respective fields analysed the future business ... Read More »

Islamic banking: growth soars but the challenges multiply

The eagerly awaited 2012/13 edition of the World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report was launched at a specially convened session at the 19th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference in Bahrain. Developed in collaboration with Ernst & Young, the report entitled Growing Beyond: DNA of a Successful Transformation was presented by Ashar Nazim, partner, head of the Islamic Banking Excellence Center, Ernst ... Read More »

Financiers call for greater global co-operation

The pace of the internationalisation of finance has not been slowed by the difficult economic conditions of recent years, and this is increasing the contagion risk of another global meltdown, according to experts gathered in Doha recently. Speakers and panellists at the “Global Finance Re-Designed” event – the first in a series of initiatives organised by Euromoney and the Qatar ... Read More »

New MENA trade finance course voted a success

Delegates who attended the first Trade Finance for Bankers course at the Cash and Trade Training Academy voted it a total success, saying they were delighted with what they had learnt. The feedback from participants from leading MENA banks revealed that 100 per cent of them believed that as a result of attending the course they had a better understanding ... Read More »

Worries revealed in transaction banking survey

BNY Mellon, a global leader in investment management and investment services, in conjunction with the Exporta group and its leading industry publications, has announced the preliminary results of a comprehensive survey entitled Attitudes to Global Transaction Banking. Drawing on responses from banks, financial institutions, corporations and government/multilateral bodies, it addresses topics such as regulation, funding, technology, cash management, and supply ... Read More »

CFO’s role now ‘more complex’

Learning from peers is key to fulfilling the chief financial officer’s increasingly demanding role, according to ICAEW, a world leader in the accountancy and finance profession. Recently, it gathered selected CFOs to its first ever CFO Club event in Bahrain to discuss corporate governance challenges and encourage networking. Peter Beynon, regional director, ICAEW Middle East, commented, “The role of the ... Read More »

Future success means being ‘nimble and bold’

There are a number of actions that can be taken in transaction banking to gain the edge in a highly competitive climate. Global experts NICLAS STORZ, GERO FREUDENSTEIN and STEFAN DAB explain what they are The question of the moment is, “How can financial institutions gain a competitive advantage in transaction banking in a hyper-competitive climate?” We believe the answer ... Read More »

Trade finance in Qatar passes many milestones

Qatari banks show renewed focus on corporate banking and trade finance, says CAROLINE MAGINN, trade partner at CMM Banks active in corporate banking and trade finance have continued to both contribute to and benefit from Qatar’s growth and prosperity. This is particularly evidenced by their increased provision of trade finance from QAR 114bn at year-end, 2010 to more than QAR ... Read More »

US ‘foreign account’ rule means taxing time for banks

The US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which requires all foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the activities of investors who are US citizens, has created a huge task for banks and wealth management companies worldwide – and the Middle East is no exception. LIZ SALECKA reports on the implications As in ... Read More »

Challenges on the horizon

Competition and cost will be just two areas in which the Islamic banking industry can expect future challenges. MUSHTAK PARKER looks at what 2013 has in store Judging by the cornucopia of optimistic press releases, conference speeches and utterings, it is easy to get the impression that the global Islamic banking industry is the new “untouchable” – seemingly untouchable that ... Read More »

Sultanate takes ‘steady view’ over start of Islamic banking

The introduction of Islamic banking into Oman is being greeted with caution by the authorities, who wish to manage the ‘orderly development of the industry’. MUSHTAK PARKER looks at the wisdom behind this decision Central Bank of Oman (CBO) officials are advising against any irrational exuberance about the introduction of Islamic banking in the Sultanate following the promulgation of a ... Read More »

Bid to curb Basel lll’s impact on global trade

More flexibility is needed in the new rules set to treat trade finance almost as harshly as much riskier activities. Tod Burwell, chief executive and president of BAFT-IFSA, speaks exclusively to PAUL MELLY Banks’ capacity to extend trade finance to exporters and importers across the Middle East – and other world regions – could be sharply constrained by the tough ... Read More »

Play by the rules

WILL SPINNEY, explains what the treasurer needs to know about internal controls and governance. There have been many approaches to corporate governance over the last 20 years, with new approaches constantly suggested. In the UK there has been the Cadbury Report (1992), the Greenbury Report (1995), the Turnbull Report (1999) and the Higgs Report (2003), among others. New mechanisms are ... Read More »