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Issue 24 November / December 2013

Letter from the editorial director

Dear Reader, As we all know, online security comes with a challenge:  beating back the bandits. Without doubt, systems are becoming more sophisticated but, unfortunately, so are those dedicated to cyber crime. With this in mind, many MENA banks now have to spend heavily on cutting-edge technology to keep their clients’ finances secure and protected from fraudsters. In this issue, ... Read More »

Dubai now expanding as global hub for trade and finance

The growing role of Dubai as global hub for trade and finance was highlighted in a speech at Sibos 2013 by HE Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank and chairman of the UAE Banks Federation. In his opening address to the dedicated Middle East and Africa day, he spoke about the UAE’s “stability, economic growth, world-class infrastructure and ... Read More »

New Islamic finance pact

The central banks of Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates have signed a pact to foster closer economic ties between the two countries, including those in the area of Islamic finance. The agreement signals stronger co-operation between the two financial hubs, which held a combined $181bn in Sharia-compliant banking assets as of 2011, despite growing competition for a share of ... Read More »

Big jump in ePay usage

Recent statistics revealed by Dubai Smart Government show more than AED 4bn was generated through ePay in the first nine months of 2013, which is a 23 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. ePay enables customers to pay their bills electronically and settle dues for various government services in a safe and secure environment that saves ... Read More »

Accolade for National Bank of Fujairah

In further recognition of the National Bank of Fujairah’s commitment and excellence in trade finance and corporate banking, it has been awarded CMM Trade Finance Tajara Benchmark status in 2013. According to Cash Management Matters, publishers of Cash&Trade magazine, this is in recognition of:  the bank’s inclusion in the Tajara Monitor bulge bracket of 12 out of the more than ... Read More »

FDI looks shaky

Foreign direct investment and remittance flows are expected to remain subdued in MENA for the timebeing, while portfolio flows will remain lower than in other emerging markets and developing countries. Growing regional economic and social spillovers from the conflict in Syria  are adding to the complexity of the economic environment, according to experts in the field. Read More »

The British are coming…

Dubai has been chosen as the first city in the Middle East to host a British Business Centre. It will be created in partnership with the Dubai Economic Department, SME Dubai and FDI Dubai and is scheduled to open in March 2014. Jonathan Davidson, British Business Group chairmen for Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said the centre would “further develop ... Read More »

New role for Dala

BNY Mellon has appointed Anil Dala as market manager within its treasury services business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He will work with both sales and product line management in developing solutions to serve non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and will report to Peter Hazou, head of EMEA market management, treasury services at BNY Mellon, who said, “Serving ... Read More »

‘Key role’ for MENA aluminium industry

The Middle East’s aluminium industry is in an advantageous position, and can play a key role in industry consolidation and the development of new globally active players, says a new report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It explains that the Middle East’s strategic position is illustrated by the recent $15bn merger of Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) and Emirates Aluminium (Emal) ... Read More »

The cost of keeping a secret

Many MENA banks now spend heavily on cutting-edge technology to keep their clients’ finances secure and protected from cyber fraud. PAUL MELLY looks at the sophistication behind their systems Few industries can have felt the positive impact of automation and online technology to such an extent as banking. What seemed implausible not so long ago is now routine, with massive ... Read More »

Sky’s the limit for Gulf airlines

The Middle East has seen a massive surge in aviation industry growth. At the start of the 1990s, the region operated 218 aircraft with 100-plus seats and, by the beginning of this year, 875 had taken to the skies. MELANIE LOVATT looks at what made it all take-off and how it’s funded Record orders for new aircraft have been placed ... Read More »

How ‘champion banks’ gain the upper hand

In looking at the wholesale transaction-banking imperative, STEFAN DAB, senior partner and managing director, The Boston Consulting Group, looks at getting business models and execution right Current market dynamics are pointing increasingly to wholesale transaction banking as a key lever for improving return on equity in the global banking industry. In 2012, wholesale transaction-banking revenues were about $220bn, or roughly ... Read More »

Banks gear up for more ‘south-south’ trade

  As it becomes a strategic hub for rising intra-emerging market trade flows, the Middle East is at an inflection point in its development. BNY Mellon’s Bana Akkad Azhari assesses the effect of evolving trade patterns on the region’s transaction banking provision and the role local-global bank collaboration can play in navigating the changes Trade is synonymous with the Middle ... Read More »

KSA growth looks set to continue

Overall, corporate banking and trade finance in Saudi Arabia had a record quarter in Q1 2013, against all key measures following a bumper year in 2012 for the fifth consecutive year. CAROLINE MAGINN, trade partner at CMM, presents some KSA Tajara Monitor extracts Further to a bumper year in 2012 when, whilst banks were prudent against a backdrop of evolving ... Read More »

The cost of funding MENA’s ‘troubled six’

The Arab Spring countries are said to need billions of dollars to see them through “transition”. MUSHTAK PARKER looks at international efforts to help them No-one really knows how much financing is required to fund recovery and reconstruction in the so-called Arab Spring countries, euphemistically known by governments and multilateral development agencies as “countries in transition”. The countries in question ... Read More »