With the explosion of financial technology (fintech) and the resulting disruption of traditional business models, banking financial services and insurance (BFSI) firms have no choice but to now adopt new technologies to adapt to the changing market dynamics.
For our latest interview, we sat down with Sagheer Mufti the Chief Operating Officer of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. He spoke about the ways technology is changing the finance industry in the Middle East, the technologies his bank is looking to invest in, and the regional initiatives that are encouraging the adoption of financial technology.
In next 2-5 years, what role do you think enterprise fintech will play in BFSI industry?
Banks are increasingly paying closer attention to what is happening in fintech, both to learn from fintech enterprises and to partner with them. I think the greatest opportunities lie in customer experience and shorter time to market for technology solutions. We will see banks acquiring or collaborating with fintech companies, or adopting their technologies as they evolve.
The presence and growth of the fintech sector has been an exciting wakeup call for many banks, although many do not yet have the scale and track record to fully compete with banks by themselves. The future is in creating partnerships between us and them
What are the top 3-5 enterprise fintech /technologies you are looking to procure within the next year?
We are constantly evaluating technologies that can support ADIB’s overall strategy and enhance our customers’ experience. In the next few months, we will largely be focusing on developing the partnership we have already established with German-based fintech Fidor Bank to launch the region’s first online based community and digital bank.
We are also engaged with DIFC in the Fintech Hive initiative, the region’s first fintech accelerator program, where we aim to grant the best entrepreneurs within the financial services industry invaluable feedback that will help them grow.
Lastly, a key area of interest for many banks including us will be machine learning/ artificial intelligence and identity management.
In 2016, ADIB partnered with Fidor to launch the region’s first “online-community bank”. What was the rationale for this initiative and what were some key takeaways from the launch?
Digital banking is a core pillar of ADIB’s growth strategy and, today, well over 90% of the retail bank’s transactions are conducted via digital – internet and mobile. Enrolments on our mobile app have increased 40% in the last year, while the volume of transactions through the app has increased by over 50% in the last 12 months, so the rationale for launching the digital bank is clearly to provide our clients more convenience in how they deal with us.
The new platform is designed to fit the lifestyle of millennial consumers also known as Generation Y, as well as those looking for a digital offering that matches their banking needs. Through the online community, people will be able to exchange experiences, give and receive advice on personal finance, but also everything behind personal finance. It is also a co-creation platform, so the bank can help provide the services that people want.
You were a speaker at Naseba’s Fintech Summit last year. How has the BFSI technology landscape changed since then and now?
This has been a wonderful year for BFSI technologies, with an exponential increase in new initiatives and more work being done by the government to support burgeoning fintech businesses. From DIFC’s Hive accelerator to the Dubai Government’s new cyber security strategy, we see a strong interest in making the UAE a global tech and fintech hub.
The Smart Dubai initiative has been an especially encouraging move toward transforming the landscape for all companies in the emirate looking to leverage technologies to do business more efficiently and serve customers better.
Such initiatives have put UAE in the top quadrant of stand out as per a recent 2017 study of Mckinsey. However, to keep the momentum going such forums create the avenues for discussion and call to action.
Sagheer Mufti is one of the 12 confirmed speakers attending our upcoming 2ND FINTECH SUMMIT, a private platform dedicated to enterprise-grade financial technology.
Naseba has been working with the BFSI industry since 2003, and has recognised the tremendous shift in business models and consumer attitudes driven by technology.
The summit is a culmination of this experience and will deliver actionable solutions to business, strategic, and technological needs of BFSI enterprises.
While the MENA region remains a technologically sophisticated BFSI market, many financial organisations are still missing the digital innovations that are radically changing business models and redefining customer experiences.
The summit will facilitate knowledge sharing, high-level networking, and most importantly, pre scheduled one-to-one business meetings between BFSI IT decision makers and top-tier solution providers who are ready to transform the digital future of BFSI enterprises in the region.
Visit the summit website here or fill out the form below for more information.
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