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Fintechs blend technology and traditional processes Filed on October 30, 2018
Fintechs blend technology and traditional processes
Nicholas Watson, chairperson Naseba; Nick Lee, authorisation director, BFSI; Peter Smith, MD, DSFA; Abdul Malik Al Shiekh, senior advisor, SAMA; and Sami Saliba, board member of Capital Market Authority, Lebanon. - Photo by M. Sajjad

The UAE has been proven to be a test-bed for innovation and fintech sector is among the top three sectors to have not only attracted new startups with latest solutions but traditional finance firms are now tapping ideas that could help them blend technology with traditional processes.

Fintech Summit, organised by leading regional deal facilitation company Naseba, brought together the Middle East and Africa region's most prominent Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) institutions, technology providers and funders to share the latest trends and disruptive developments transforming the industry. Innovations in the field of RegTech, blockchain, robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital-only banking are fuelling fintech's rapid growth in the region.

Ankur Modi, CEO and Co-Founder of StatusToday, said: The company of the future will be driven by data and AI, optimised and efficient and will use employee analytics to make decisions. The UAE is definitely ahead of the curve, however more can be done inorder to gain full potential of what technology has to offer to businesses."

With a significant amount of capital waiting to be deployed, investment in finech is expected to remain strong. According to industry forecasts, the Middle East and North Africa region's financial technology market is predicted to grow by 270 per cent achieving a growth of approximately $125 million a year to reach $2.5 billion in 2022.

The Mena fintech market is currently worth $2 billion but increased annual investment will boost the number of fintech start-ups from six in 2005 to around 250 by 2020. The market's largest segment is digital payments with a total transaction value of $41,447 million in 2018. Total transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 12.8 per cent resulting in the total amount of $67,004 million by 2022.

Max Liu, Co-founder and CEO of EMQ, said: "The whole payments ecosystem is undergoing significant transformation with the rise of local and cross-border cashless payments underpinned by a tech-savvy population. For this reason, enterprises will increasingly require a settlement network that streamlines cross-border payments that are low-cost, secure, and real-time. Currently EMQ is in the process of setting up their office in Dubai, as the emirate is proved to be leader in financial innovation and with one of the largest foreign working populations sending money home to Asia, it's a market that is sizeable with attractive growth characteristics."

The panelists from different verticals of the financial services sphere, exchanged their views on fintech's power to disrupt the financial sector across the Mena region with innovative solutions. Digitalisation of financial services is still the greatest opportunity for fintech with banks being the largest investors. Changes in customer preferences and technological advances have pushed large banks to take a lead in digitalisation in the region followed by Islamic finance. A great example is Emirates NBD that increased its investments in digitalisation to 1 billion over the last three years.

Naseba's production director Naveen Bharadwaj said: "To evolve with customers' preferred trends, stay ahead of competition and achieve a cashless economy, all major banks and financial institutions are placing huge strategic bets on blockchain, robotics, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics under the umbrella of Fintech. Naseba is very proud to continue helping the region's fintech transformation and bridge the ecosystem through our Enterprise Fintech Summit."


Sandhya D'Mello

Journalist. Period. My interests are Economics, Finance and Information Technology. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, I have worked with some leading publications in India, including the Economic Times.

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