UAE capital hosts event aimed at re-shaping future of financial services industry
Industry experts are encouraging banks to keep on top of latest finance innovations as the UAE capital prepares for the re-launch of MEFTECH, an event which can play a key role in shaping the future of the financial services industry in the Middle East and North Africa.
With over 50 exhibitors registered already, it means MEFTECH 2016, hosted by the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau and taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 22-23 March, will be the largest event in the MENA region that connects the entire financial technology community.
“We are excited to bring back a new-look MEFTECH, and are indebted to the Abu Dhabi Government for recognising the significance of the event through the support it is providing,” said Chris Fountain, Managing Director, Turret Media, the event organisers.
“This is a key time for the region’s financial services industry which is being swept by a wave of innovation as banks seek to align with digital age realities. The combined MEFTECH 2016 exhibition and conference will serve as the focal point for MENA banks to discover latest innovations and stay abreast with global developments in this fast-evolving field.”
The organisers says US$13 billion is spent annually in the Middle East on financial services technology, with 95% of this total spend controlled by hosted buyers at MEFTECH, the only financial technology event used by key decision makers as a purchasing platform.
They are assembling a world-class line-up of expert conference speakers, including digital banking wizards Michal Panowicz, Chris Skinner and Brett King. Skinner, Chair and founder of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club, is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets.
In a special ‘fintech’ report for The Times and The Financial Times earlier this year, he said that banks are in danger of being left behind in the smart phone-driven revolution unless they wake up to the way technology affects the daily lives of their customers.
Skinner said: “I have been involved in MEFTECH since its inception and believe it is an incredibly important event, as there is no other meeting of this size, quality and depth in the MENA region. In particular, it’s a key annual event as the first conference and exhibition focused upon ‘fintech’ in MENA for over a decade. With that track record and pedigree, you cannot afford to miss this key moment of the year.”
Panowicz is currently SVP and Deputy Head of Digital Banking at Nordea Bank Denmark, with a proven track record of successfully implementing world-class innovation in multicultural environments around the world. His industry experience focuses on financial services and technology, while functional expertise lays in operations and sales, strategy and finance management.
King, founder and CEO of Moven, the first direct mobile bank in the US and the UK, was recently named “Innovator of the Year” by American Banker and Bank Technology News magazines.
In addition to more than 50 exhibitors displaying a broad range of solutions, MEFTECH 2016 will also showcase live demos from some of the most exciting ‘fintech’ start-ups.
The organisers hope this initiative will help promote collaboration between regional banks and ‘fintech’ companies, leading eventually to the emergence of new ‘fintech’ hubs in the region.
Another first sees the introduction of the Innovation Theatre offering exhibitors an opportunity to share perspectives and establish their thought leadership.
The MEFTECH Innovation Awards, running alongside the conference, will recognise MENA-based financial institutions that have demonstrated strong commitment to innovation over the last year by leveraging cutting-edge technology to off¬er innovative products or services, enhance customer experience and improve efficiency. Categories to be announced include Best Digital Bank, Best Cyber Security Initiative and Most Innovative Product or Service.