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Banks must wake up to smartphone revolution or risk being left late: Expert

Chris Skinner boz story copy

Dubai / Emirates Business

Banks must wake up to the way technology affects the daily lives of their customers or risk being left behind in the smart phone revolution, a digital banking expert will tell a major assembly of financial service decision-makers in Abu Dhabi.
Chris Skinner, Chair and founder of the European networking forum, the Financial Services Club, says there is an urgent need for an “Uber” of the banking world to shake up antiquated technologies and poor customer experience.
He will drive home that message at MEFTECH 2016, the combined financial services conference and exhibition taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 22-23 March.
“Technology is changing every aspect of our daily lives and its march is getting louder, faster and stronger as each day goes by,” said Skinner, one of the keynote speakers at the conference. “The smartphone revolution has radically restructured every industry from booking a trip (TripAdvisor), a room (Airbnb) or a taxi (Uber), but where’s the Uber of banking?
“There isn’t one yet, and consumers will soon defect to new players unless high street banks wake up. You only have to look at the total immersion of people in their smartphone screens on the train or street to see the impact of consumer technologies.
“That is what disruptive innovators have achieved in travel and related markets, but what is happening in banking? Not a lot. Most large banks have just taken their internet services to a mobile screen or, as I like to think of it, they’ve taken a big-screen banking system and converted it to a small screen.”
Re-launched this year the new-look MEFTECH exhibition and conference is the largest event in the Middle East and North Africa that connects the region’s the entire financial technology community.
Vimal Sethi, Middle East Managing Director, Synechron said, “MEFTECH 2016’s theme of ‘discovering why the future is digital’ is exactly what Synechron is all about.
“As the world’s largest, independent technology services and consulting firm to the financial industry, we want to bring an international presence to this reputable local event. This year, we are MEFTECH’s official Digital Innovation Partner, and will be giving attendees the chance to experience digital banking through our showcase at the event.”
A tightly focused trade exhibition showcasing a wide range of FinTech solutions will feature live demos from some of the industry’s most exciting start-ups.
This is aimed at promoting collaboration between regional banks and FinTech companies, leading eventually to the emergence of new FinTech hubs in the MENA region.
“MEFTECH 2016 is the go-to event for all involved in shaping the future of financial services in the region,” said Chris Fountain, Managing Director, Turret Media, the event organisers. “We’ve set out to attract the industry’s best and brightest minds and create a platform for innovative ideas and thinking.”
Among the international line-up of exhibitors, global software enabling solutions provider Hatstand will use MEFTECH to showcase its expertise in trading systems and connectivity, data management, and regulation and risk.
CEO Brad O’Brien said: “We look forward to showcasing our solutions and services that help banks and other financial institutions across the Middle East meet industry regulations and their own strategic objectives.
“We will be speaking about our new cybersecurity risk assessment model that enables businesses to better understand the current state of their preparedness against the risk of cyber-attacks and identify any shortfalls within their existing governance programmes. With cybersecurity directly affecting clients’ data, networks, hardware, software, and operations, it is crucial that organisations have sound governance practices in place in order to protect them from theft, business disruption and destruction.”

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