Al Maraj urges financial institutions to embrace technology

Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj,

MANAMA: Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), on Tuesday urges banks and financial institutions to embrace the latest technology to keep abreast wit the rapidly changing global economic climate.

The CBB Governor was speaking as he attended the opening session of the 7th edition of the GCC Financial Forum by Euromoney Conferences which was co-hosted with the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), and kicked off on Tuesday at the Four Seasons Hotel, Bahrain Bay and attended by over 700 delegates from 24 countries.
The Governor who attended the traditional interactive town-hall session where he talked about the unique characteristics of Bahrain’s banking system and the potential of Fintech.

“What we have to keep in mind is that FinTech solutions have the potential to optimise cost structures by cutting out the middle man. We encourage all Bahraini financial institutions to take the leap and embrace the new technologies. The Central Bank of Bahrain is committed to not only keep up with the changes, but enable them for the benefit of our local economy and our people.”

The event was officially inaugurated by David Pritchard, acting chair of Euromoney Institutional Investor, who addressed the audience with a welcome speech on behalf of Euromoney Conferences. Leading financial experts, regulators, policy makers business leaders and government officials attended the event from across the MENA region as well as from Europe and Asia.

The opening keynote session was delivered by leading international economist Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz, who focused on the current economic climate, geopolitical risks and the implications of digital disruption for the financial industry worldwide.
Lord Mervyn King, Economist and Former Governor of the Bank of England, who delivered a keynote interview during event touched upon the global history of transformation in the banking sector, by drawing a comparison to the technological innovation drive being adopted by the banking and financial institution in this age.
He shared his insight about the crucial role of central banks in anticipating the needs of market participants and ensuring financial soundness of the sector amidst monumental changes.

In a keynote interview with Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), he shared insights into Bahrain’s collaborative approach bringing together government, regulators and the private sector to create an enabling environment for disruption and innovation.

He highlighted the significant progress made over the past twelve months, including Amazon Web Services’ decision to launch its first Middle East Region in Bahrain, the CBB’s establishment of a regulatory sandbox and crowdfunding regulations. He explained how this underpins the growing momentum behind Bahrain’s FinTech ecosystem with the launch of Bahrain FinTech Bay later this week.

The opening panel on day one focused on Innovation and the shape of the financial system of the future which featured speakers from Bank ABC Group, C5 Accelerate, Amazon Web Services and IBM who explored how the financial sector of the future will look in 20 years’ time covering topics such as; CryptoCurrency, Big Data, cloud computing, reg tech and artificial intelligence.

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