Banks and financial institutions in the Middle East are expected to invest $2 billion (Dh7.3bn) on IT solutions to protect financial transactions in 2008 and 2009, a significant portion of which will be spent on anti-money laundering software and technology, according to the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force.
This reflects the massive 70 per cent growth in anti-money laundering-related spending in the region over the past three years, and is in line with the projected $6bn investments institutions in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia have made toward solutions aimed at protecting financial transactions.
In a bid to address the increasing need for robust protection for financial transactions, SAS, a business intelligence and analytical software and services provider, held an Enterprise Risk Summit in Dubai on Monday.
“It is crucial for practitioners to be able to discuss and debate ideas openly in order for us to take progressive steps and effectively build on our strengths as well as overcome our weaknesses,” said Harry Pretorius, head of risk practice, SAS – Middle East and Africa.
“Through the summit, we have shared our best practices and views on the market and financial services industry, which has also afforded attendees an opportunity to learn from industry experts. We have designed the summit to gain relevant information regarding the concerns of decision makers in the financial services industry and in turn educate them on the latest Enterprise Risk Management solutions.”
Over 30 participants representing Basel ll and risk teams from leading UAE-based banks and financial institutions such as Mashreq Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Noor Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and HSBC attended the summit. In addition to gaining relevant information to ensure their organisations’ protection from illegal financial transactions, the delegations from the banking organisations also gathered significant awareness of the advantages of SAS’ wide range of solutions and services.
With the Middle East banking and financial services sector growing at an unprecedented rate, effective risk management has become one of the most important aspects of a successful financial institution’s operation, said the organisers.
Pretorius added: “With the region’s booming economy and the rapidly growing markets, banks and financial institutions today face a wide range of risks in the normal course of their day-to-day business.
“Through our Enterprise Risk Management solutions, managers can focus on the risks that have the biggest influence on their ability to achieve strategic goals, going forward.
“Having successfully improved the financial performance of our clients, we are looking forward to administering this solution to more financial organisations throughout the region.”
Finance industry foots $2bn security bill