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Issue 25 January / February 2014

Letter from the editorial director

Dear Reader, When it comes to new IT, finance directors have to face two questions that are inextricably linked. They are, “Can I afford to invest in the right technology; and, on the other hand, can I afford not to?” Our Cover story poses another question: is it possible for corporates to remain competitive without regularly refreshing their IT to ... Read More »

Call for Islamic finance to adapt to ‘new global dynamics’

Leading names and key regulators in the international Islamic banking and finance industry took part in the 20th Anniversary Special Edition of the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2013) in Bahrain. Held under the theme “Industry Transformation to Improve Global Competitiveness in Islamic Finance”, the three-day event was convened under the patronage of Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, the ... Read More »

Laurels for MENA’s top finance professionals

MENA’s top talent in accountancy and finance were celebrated at the third annual Middle East Accountancy and Finance Excellence Awards at a ceremony at the Ritz Carlton in Abu Dhabi. Organised by ICAEW (the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) and sponsored by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and the PIC Group, the awards recognise “the ... Read More »

APICORP signs up with ICIEC

Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), the Multilateral Development Bank owned by the 10 member nations of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), has signed a Documentary Credit Insurance Policy (DCIP) with the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The policy will help APICORP effectively ... Read More »

Troop is ‘Banking CEO of the Year’

Steve Troop, CEO, Barwa Bank – Qatar’s fastest growing Shari’ah compliant banking service provider – has been named “Banking CEO of the Year” at the MENA 2013 Awards held by The European magazine. He said, “I am honoured and flattered to be acknowledged with this award though I emphasise that we are a team at Barwa Bank and I accept ... Read More »

Trade finance rise in Saudi

The demand for trade finance is rising in Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom’s non-oil exports hit 51,536 million riyals for the second quarter in 2013, an increase of 6.3 per cent in comparison to the same period the previous year The Kingdom’s imports for the second quarter of 2013 also saw an increase of 11.2 per cent and amounted to ... Read More »

Database debut for MENA

The Aman Union Database has now been launched by Dr Abdel Rahman El-Tayeb Taha, the Secretary General of the Aman Union, who is also the chief executive officer of the Islamic Corporation for the insurance of Investment and Export Credit Insurance (ICIEC), and  Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, chief executive officer of Qatar Development Bank. The event took place in Doha ... Read More »

Standard Chartered ‘first’ in Iraq

Standard Chartered has launched a wholesale banking operations in Iraq with the opening of a head office (and first branch) in Baghdad inaugurated by Nuri Al Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq.  This makes Standard Chartered, which has been operating in the Middle East for more than 90 years, the first international bank to have full-fledged, on-the-ground wholesale banking operations in ... Read More »

Mozambique joins ICIEC

Mozambique has recently joined the Aa3-rated Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), bringing the number of member countries to 41. Dr Abdel Rahman El-Tayeb Taha, CEO of ICIEC, said, “The Republic of Mozambique’s membership opens the door for its private and public sectors to benefit from the risk mitigation services offered by ICIEC to expand ... Read More »

MECA hits another milestone

The second regional CFO conference organised by the Middle East CFO Alliance last December at the Ritz Carlton, Dubai, was judged another huge success. With this event, MECA accomplished the prestigious milestone of successfully organising four CFO Conferences within a record period of 12 months. More than 200 CFOs and senior finance executives from organisations across the region representing multiple ... Read More »

Accolade for Euler Hermes

The Capital Finance International (CPI) 2013 award to Euler Hermes GCC as the “Best Credit Insurance Services and Solutions Provider in the Middle East” was said to recognise the company’s profitable regional growth, particularly in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The judges also “particularly noted the customer service quality that led to a higher retention rate than that of ... Read More »

Reaching for the sky…

The ‘cloud’ is the next big step in IT for treasury operations. PAUL MELLY looks at the advantages and risks Can you afford to invest in the right technology – or can you afford not to ? That’s the conundrum that so often faces finance  directors today. Is it possible to remain competitive without regularly refreshing your IT to keep ... Read More »

Gulf oil producers face shale challenge

As the US limbers up to become the world’s largest oil producer by 2015 thanks to fracking, OPEC members are confident that they can ride out the competition. MELANIE LOVATT looks into the future Glf oil producers reaped the benefits of sustained high crude prices in 2013, enabling most of them to enjoy budget and current account surpluses accompanied by ... Read More »

SABB slips into the No 1 slot for trade finance

In Q3 2013 the corporate banking and trade finance segment in the KSA continued its strong performance against the key measures, with total trade-related contingent liabilities setting record levels. CAROLINE MAGINN reports Riyad Bank retained its lead in the overall CMM Corporate Banking and Trade Finance League Table but lost its number one position in the trade-related contingent liability table ... Read More »

Eurozone to get its first Islamic bank

A MENA consortium is preparing to start up a banking operation that will be headquartered in Luxembourg and have branches in Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands A consortium comprising a reputable bank, royal families, and a group of leading businessmen in the GCC, has announced that an agreement to set up the first Islamic bank in the eurozone has now ... Read More »

The industry hoping to go into top gear

If 2013 was a year of consolidation following the record year of 2012 especially for Sukuk origination and syndicated Murabaha loans, then the coming year of 2014 promises to be a potential game changer in several key respects for the global Islamic finance industry. MUSHTAK PARKER looks at what’s ahead. Judging by developments in the last quarter of 2013, the ... Read More »