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A Technology Transformation in the Middle East

A Technology Transformation in the Middle East 

In the last edition of TMI (edition 244), we featured an edited transcript of the first part of a roundtable held in Dubai in April 2016, kindly hosted by D+H, chaired by Jags KothandaPani, Citi, which focused on the changing challenges, priorities and role of corporate treasurers in the Middle East (click here to read the article). In the second part of the same roundtable, the panel discuss the role of technology in facilitating corporate treasurers’ objectives in more detail. Edited by Helen Sanders.

  • Adam Boukadida, Deputy Group Treasurer, Etihad Airways
  • James Adams, Group Treasurer, Chalhoub Group
  • Haytham Maayergi, Head of Transaction Banking, ADIB
  • Rahul Jayakar, Head Global Transaction Services – Products & Trade, Mashreq Bank
  • Sherie Morais, Head of Cash Management Sales and Advisory, National Bank of Abu Dhabi
  • Jagadeshwaran KothandaPani (‘Jags’), Head of Cash Management, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citi (chair)

With the conference season approaching, most notably Sibos (September), EuroFinance and the AFP Annual Conference (both in October) this topic is particularly timely. In particular, banks, technology vendors and infrastructure providers are considering areas in which emerging technologies, such as blockchain, and solution offerings from the fintech community, can deliver value to corporate treasurers. This is far less straightforward than glossy brochures and slick presentations would appear. Treasurers are already highly technology-literate in many cases, and are quick to see potential value of tools that solve existing problems or create new opportunities. However, they also recognise that introducing new technology brings costs and risks, which may outweigh the benefit. Furthermore, prioritising these projects can be difficult, particularly with stretched IT departments, and during periods of volatility and change. 

In the Middle East, the focus of treasury technology projects, whether supported by banks and/ or vendors, is less on smaller, tactical tools than implementing stable, robust platforms that support efficient, integrated cash and treasury processes, provide greater security and control, and offer transparency and richness of data to facilitate decision-making and automation.