Page 1





For more information, call Ahlan Ahli 1 899 899 or visit

Simpler Banking


• 40 monthly winners for 3 months • Each winner gets 50,000 Skywards Miles • Get up to 6 draw points for every KD10 spent • Skywards Miles can be used for Emirates flight bookings, flight upgrades, duty-free shopping and more • Offer valid from 1 June - 31 August 2018

Terms & Conditions apply.

Spend with your ABK Emirates cards and stand a chance to be one of 120 winners to share 6 million Skywards Miles






Honouring those who have made an outstanding contribution to the banking and finance community JULY 2018 | ISSUE 208

A CPI Financial Publication


MIDDLE EAST DIGITISATION Ahmed Al-Faifi, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at SAP Middle East North


JULY 2018 | ISSUE 208

22 SABB and Gulf Bank 24 ADS Securities and Housing Bank of Trade and Finance 25 GFH Group and Al Rajhi Bank 26 Global Investment Bank and Emirates NBD 27 AlKhabeer Capital and SEDCO Capital 29 FFA Private Bank and Gulf Capital 30 Standard Chartered Bank and Maveric Solutions




AHMED AL-FAIFI, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at SAP Middle East North Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority


MAY 2018 | ISSUE 206



EMBRACING THE NEW NORMAL Middle Eastern markets are adjusting well to current realities


14 Mohamed Said El Saka of Kuwait International Bank 16 Yaser Alzubaidi of Avaya International 18 Raja Reddy Sandireddigari of SR Intelligent Technologies

Global macroeconomic climate bodes well for investment

THE HOLISTIC APPROACH Tackling the changing trend in private banking

A CPI Financial Publication



Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority


APRIL 2018 | ISSUE 205




For many years, Iraqi citizens have felt that the only way is up—and analysts are finally starting to agree


Where can asset allocators find ballast when both volatility and correlations are rising?


AI is the key to the future of banks and to banks of the future

A CPI Financial Publication



Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority



31 Alawwal Bank and RAKBANK 32 SAP KSA and Equitativa Group 33 National Bank of Fujairah and Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait 34 EdgeVerve Systems and Kuwait International Bank 36 Al Ramz and Avaya 39 Dubai Islamic Bank 40 Boursa Kuwait and SAMBA 42 Mashreqbank and Trade Bank of Iraq 43 Warba Bank 44 First Abu Dhabi Bank 46 BLOM Bank and Cedar Consulting 48 National Commercial Bank 49 Tabarak Investments and Bahrain Middle East Bank 50 Bank of Beirut Lifetime Achievement Award – Salim G. Sfeir

P.O. Box 502491, Dubai Media City, UAE Tel: +971 4 391 4681 Fax: +971 4 390 9576 CHAIRMAN Saleh Al Akrabi CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER TONY LONG Tel: +971 4 391 4681 EDITOR - BANKER MIDDLE EAST NABILAH ANNUAR Tel: +971 4 391 3726




MATT AMLÔT Tel: +971 4 391 3716





NIKHIL NIDHAN Tel: +971 4 391 3717 DANIEL BATEMAN Tel: +971 4 375 2526 ADVERTISING










ADMINISTRATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS CAROL BASA Tel: +971 4 391 3709 ©2018 CPI Financial. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form of advertising without prior permission in writing from the editor. Printed by United Printing & Publishing - Abu Dhabi, UAE




Methodology Once again, key players within the banking and finance industry gathered to celebrate the best in the business at the annual Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018.


he Banker Middle East Industry Awards, in association with Maserati, took place on 3 May 2018 at the Ritz-Carlton, DIFC in front of a packed audience from across the MENA region’s banking and financial services industry. Leaders from across the industry were among the 400 guests who attended the gala evening compèred by Dubai Eye’s Business Breakfast presenter, Richard Dean. The achievements of banks and financial institutions in specific sectors and countries were celebrated through awards based on the voting of Banker Middle East readers and other registered users of CPI Financial’s website at Categories and nominees were selected by an expert judging panel and winners were determined based on votes cast by the readership of Banker Middle East and the 75,000 registered users of, not only celebrating the successes of the financial services industry but also marking the approbation of winners’ peers. Individual recognition was also given to a select handful of bankers and financiers who, in the opinion of a panel of international judges, have shown outstanding qualities of leadership and performance in their respective fields. For the ninth consecutive year, awards were also presented for ‘Best Bank’ and ‘Fastest-Growing Bank’ in both Middle Eastern countries and regionally through the financial analysis that culminates in the publication of the annual BME100 index of regional financial institutions, using metrics derived from published financial data.



BME 100


he UAE and Saudi Arabia continued to dominate the top rankings, with Saudi Arabia’s banks making a noticeable climb. The number of Saudi banks in the top 10 quadrupled from one in 2016 to four in 2017. However, a UAE bank claimed the top spot and the number of UAE banks in the BME 100 climbed to 22 from 20 last year. Lebanese banks were noticeably absent from the top 10, in contrast to 2016 when Lebanese banks held the fourth and sixth spots. Bahrain made a reappearance in the top 10 after Ahli United Bank climbed six places to number nine, while the country managed to maintain 16 banks in the overall rankings— the same as last year.

First Abu Dhabi Bank Best Bank - UAE Best Bank - Middle East


emarkably, First Abu Dhabi Bank debuted at number one as a new entrant to the BME 100. In 2017, it grew its assets to $1.8 billion—the largest of any bank in the UAE. Its revenues touched $5.3 million in 2017, and it posted a net profit of $2.9 million.

Ahli United Bank Best Bank - Bahrain


hli United Bank jumped six places in this year’s BME 100, placing Bahrain back in the top 10. It grew its assets 6.1 per cent in 2017, to reach $332.4 million. With assets of $1.8 billion.



National Commercial Bank Best Bank - KSA


ational Commercial Bank climbed a remarkable 10 places to reach the number two spot in this year’s BME 100. It grew its net profit by 5.8 per cent in 2017, and reported assets of $118.4 billion. ROE was 16 per cent—the highest of any bank in Saudi Arabia.

National bank of Kuwait Best Bank - Kuwait


he National Bank of Kuwait saw steady growth in 2017, with revenues rising 1.8 per cent to $2.4 million and net profits climbing 1.1 per cent. National Bank of Kuwait made the top 10 in the BME rankings—the only Kuwaiti bank to do so.

Bank Muscat Best Bank - Oman

BLOM Bank Best Bank - Lebanon

Bank Muscat climbed five places in the BME 100, placing 26th overall

BLOM Bank was the highest ranking bank in Lebanon, after a tough year for the country’s banking sector



ank Muscat climbed five places, making it one of only three banks in Oman to move up the rankings this year. Bank Muscat grew its assets six per cent in 2017, and saw a steady rise in revenues to 1.2 million—a rise of 6.4 per cent. It also grew its assets three per cent to $28.9 million.

LOM Bank was named Best Bank in Lebanon, placing 12 overall in the rankings. BLOM Bank grew its assets 10.2 per cent in 2017 to $32.5 million—the highest asset growth of all banks in Lebanon. It also grew its net profit 4.6 per cent.

The Housing Bank of Trade and Finance Best Bank - Jordan


he Housing Bank of Trade and Finance grew its assets 4.1 per cent to $11.4 million in 2017, despite a challenging year. The bank posted a net profit of $184 million for the year— one of the largest in Jordan.

The Housing Bank of Trade and Finance posted one of the largest net profits of any Jordanian bank in 2017


BME 100


alestine dominated the list of fastest growing banks in this year’s BME 100 with three banks in the top 10, however none got near the top spot. On average, Palestinian banks within the BME 100 grew their assets by 21 per cent, revenues by 22 per cent and net profits by 6.2 per cent. By contrast, the average revenues of banks in Bahrain fell 22.7 per cent on 2016 while banks in Lebanon saw revenues plunge by an average 26.8 per cent. Many of our fastest growing banks appear to be bucking the trend. The fastest growing bank in the region came from Kuwait, where average revenues rose just 1.99 per cent.

Warba Bank Fastest Growing Bank - Kuwait

Ajman Bank Fastest Growing Bank - UAE

Warba Bank was named Fastest Growing Bank in Kuwait for the fourth year in a row.

Mohamed Amiri, Chief Executive Officer at Ajman Bank said, “I would like to extend our sincere thanks to all the staff of the bank for their continued commitment and outstanding efforts during the year.”


arba Bank is not only the fastest growing bank in Kuwait, but the fastest growing bank overall. Against a national backdrop of modest growth in 2017, Warba Bank grew its assets 45 per cent, its revenues 52.7 per cent and its net profits 142.3 per cent. This is the fourth year in a row that Warba bank has claimed the top spot in Kuwait.




jman Bank grew its assets 25.2 per cent in 2017, compared to an average of 5.3 per cent for banks in the UAE. It also grew its revenues 12 per cent and net profits 5.6 per cent.

Alinma Bank Fastest Growing Bank - KSA

Eskan Bank Fastest Growing Bank - Bahrain


skan Bank posted an extraordinary performance for 2017. In a tough climate that saw Bahraini banks’ revenues fall by an average of 22.7 per cent, Eskan Bank’s revenues rocketed 27.5 per cent. It also grew its net profit by 30.6 per cent and its assets by 16 per cent. Alinma Bank was named Fastest Growing Bank in Saudi Arabia, and 12th in the region.


linma Bank saw its revenues soar by 31.4 per cent in 2017, high above the Saudi banks’ average growth of 4.25 per cent. Its net profit also grew a remarkable 33.9 per cent.

Bank of Beirut Fastest Growing Bank - Lebanon

Bank Nizwa Fastest Growing Bank - Oman


t’s been a tough year for Lebanese banks, however Bank of Beirut grew its revenues 11.3 per cent against an average fall of 26.8 per cent.

Bank Al-Etihad Fastest Growing Bank - Jordan Khalid Al Kayed, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Nizwa, collects the Award for Fastest Growing Bank in Oman


ith a growth in net profits of 3,350 per cent, it is hardly surprising that Bank Nizwa was declared the fastest growing bank in Oman. It also grew its assets by a remarkable 35 per cent in 2017, and posted a 28.8 per cent rise in revenues against a country average of 2.7 per cent.


ank Al-Etihad grew its assets by an outstanding 39.6 per cent in 2017. It also grew its revenues by 46 per cent, in contrast to a national average of just 2.6 per cent. It posted a growth in net profits of 19 per cent.


Selected images from the Awards evening

Tony Long, Chief Executive Officer, CPI Financial

All photographs by Florante Magsakay / CPI Financial

DIFC_DWIC_Ad DIFC_DWIC_Ad Banker Banker ME ME 42x27 42x27 CM CM 19042018 19042018 AW.indd AW.indd All All Pages Pages

19/04/2018 19/04/2018 11:41 11:41


The changing face of KIB Mohamed Said El Saka, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Kuwait International Bank, explains how the bank embraces change while holding to its values


IB won the award for Best Customer Acquisition at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards; what has made the bank a leader in this field? “A few decades ago, banks seeking to grow their customer base had a few options; customers were predictable and easy to find. In today’s market, finding potential customers is a much more challenging feat. “We have learned that we must come to terms with shifts in consumer preferences, as well as their rising expectations for efficient personalised services. At KIB, having a strong customer acquisition strategy is an essential component. Understanding the demographics of our customers is critical to the growth of our customer base and the success of our business. Without this, we would not be able to figure out which channel is the most sustainable for bringing in new customers. A key success factor is our ability to select the proper channels to engage with our target market by utilising digital channels for customer acquisition and retention. “Of course, transferring the activity into the digital world is not sufficient on its own. KIB has also placed the customer in the center of its business universe and strengthened efforts in ensuring the highest quality products and services to deliver a reliable, and personalised customer experience. KIB has been successful in creating and sustaining its brand loyalty by offering an authentic and personalised digital experience to all its customers.”



Mohamed Said El Saka

How does KIB view change? “In order to survive and thrive in today’s competitive landscape; banks must be inherently flexible. KIB has always recognised that change is not only inevitable, but it is a vital necessity. “KIB is no stranger to change. It was 10 years ago that the bank underwent its first strategic transformation, when it made the transition from a specialised real estate bank, to a full-fledged Shari’ah-compliant Islamic bank. In 2015, KIB embarked on a comprehensive strategic plan, aimed at improving the Bank’s performance indicators, as well as enhancing the quality of its products and services.

“Today, KIB is in the midst of its new strategic transformation: a comprehensive and long-term programme which is aimed at transforming the way KIB engages with customers across every touch point and communication channel. This new strategy focuses on offering a next-level customer experience that delivers much more than just ‘banking’ in the traditional sense—but rather establishes KIB as a partner in every aspect of its customers’ lives; a true ‘Bank for Life’. “In today’s rapidly-evolving world, change is a must to ensure growth, development and sustainability—in individuals and organisations alike.” How important is change management at KIB? “KIB is well aware that constant change is the new reality. With this unprecedented scale of change sweeping the banking industry, we realise that change management must be institutionalised across the entire organisation for greater internal agility. Successful change management has become increasingly important for the sustainable development of organisations including financial institutions. “KIB has adopted a formal change management approach, which has led to the seamless adoption of new products, systems, channels and process. Our effective change management process has us on top of changes in compliance rules, bank processes, and practices which ultimately, results in a strong competitive advantage while mitigating risks.” How does KIB’s new brand identity tie into its new strategic direction? “The underlying spirit of KIB’s unique strategy is embodied in its new brand and corporate identity. More than just being an update to a decade-old logo, the fresh and modern look is reflective of the re-energised, progressive and innovation-focused Bank that KIB is being transformed into.

“The new corporate identity marks KIB’s emergence as a partner to customers, delivering increasingly specialised capabilities and leveraging emerging technologies, while the new brand represents KIB’s future outlook and integration of leading technology and expertise, and consistently delivering world-class integrated, capabilities and services; it also highlights the bank’s strong heritage and capabilities for the future. Our brand identity is a visual expression of what we do and mean, for our clients.” Explain KIB’s new slogan ‘Bank for Life’. “Our new strategic transformation is both comprehensive and long-term, aiming at transforming the way we engage with our customers across every touch point. We are no longer just a bank, as we now offer next-level customer experience which establishes us as partners in every aspect of people’s lives. KIB has become an active member in the community, understanding customers’ needs and building trust through proactive, personalised services.” How do you preserve a personalised service in the digital age? “In the age of hyper-relevance, delivering a personalised experience is extremely important. New players are carving out market share with creative, original and innovative ideas. The rise in new options for financial services means that banks can no longer compete solely on offering new products. Consumers have come to expect individualised experiences at every touchpoint. For retail banks to thrive in this new world, they must adopt an integrated digital banking platform and emphasise personalisation. Robust analytics provided by these new platforms facilitates strategic decision making. “In the digital age, we can see that personalisation is on a whole new level. Financial institutions can use data to achieve valuable insight, with greater timeliness than ever possible. Analytics and machine learning provide relevant,

individualised know-how that is delivered in real-time via digital devices. Banks can now analyse available data to enhance the customer experience by offering bespoke banking solutions; thereby strengthening customer relationships and enhancing existing trust. New marketing automation and brand management platforms optimise the content being offered though these digital channels.” Kuwait has a young population; how does this affect your clientele’s expectations? “Expectations have changed at an unbelievable rate. With a median age of 29 years, Kuwait has a young population. With it, comes a generation affected by a technology boom which made way for a modern generation of tech natives; who are increasingly mobile savvy and have greater access to media and technologies. “This new digital world has created new behavioral patterns. Our young customers must be engaged with via multiple platforms. As omni-digital customers, they prefer to use digital channels to sort out their banking needs rather than conventional channels. Recent reports suggest that one-third of Millennials use their bank’s mobile app for most of routine transactions. “Accordingly, KIB has adopted a number of digital banking solutions to accommodate for our clientele’s expectations.To remain relevant in a swiftly changing world, the banking customer experience must have technology play a crucial role, as young customers expect a seamless omni-channel experience with access to information whenever and wherever they want it.” How is KIB an active member in the community? “Over the years, KIB has done a great deal in fulfilling its social responsibility towards the community in Kuwait by focusing on more than just profits. Its encompassing and diverse social

responsibility programme has driven the bank towards supporting various social and economic development initiatives, as well as civil society organisations across Kuwait. “In addition to focusing on a wide range of basic needs programmes, the bank has dedicated a large portion of its efforts towards two flagship platforms: the financial literacy programme and supporting local, young talents. As a financial institution, KIB has been placed in a unique position to spread financial awareness and economic education across Kuwait, as well as offer moral and financial support to aspiring young Kuwaiti talents. “Nowadays, it is important for all organisations, particularly those than can give back, to find ways to support and reach out to all segments across their communities.” What is KIB’s secret to staying true to itself amidst changes sweeping the market? “A pillar of the local banking sector since 1973, KIB has built a stellar legacy by embracing positive change; adapting to the economic landscape and the ceaselessly fickle financial market with precise and forward-thinking strategic development plans. Since then, KIB has undergone several transformational changes. For KIB, life is a journey of continuous evolution, as our secret to success is to never stop adapting to changes. “We have realised a long time back that the secret to preserving our corporate essence is to maintain an agile identity. While some companies might prefer to keep things the way they are, change is necessary every now and again if organisations want to keep up with the foreseeable future. “Even though strongly rooted we are in our rich history and extensive past experiences, we always have our eyes set firmly on the future and aspire to be the ‘Bank for Life’.”



Digital transformations Avaya International explains what it takes to be a market leader. Following their victory at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018, Yaser Alzubaidi, Digital Engagement Solutions Sales Leader at Avaya International, caught up with Banker Middle East to talk about how they can help businesses in the Middle East to up their game.

Yaser Alzubaidi


hat makes Avaya the leader in communications software? “Avaya helps organisations around the world succeed by integrating communications with business strategy and operations. Our expertise and experience in this area enables us to shape intelligent connections, creating seamless communication experiences for our customers and their customers. “In recent years, we’ve focused on software, services and devices for organisations of all sizes. We recognise that the unique needs of a start-up, a global enterprise or a government ministry. We work accordingly to deliver customisable solutions that offer organisations unparalleled flexibility as they evolve in a digital world.” What is unique about Avaya’s offerings? “We are the customer experience experts. We’ve earned this reputation by taking a holistic approach in helping organisations to better engage with their audiences. Today we sit at the nexus of connectivity for the enterprise with more than 130,000 customers in 220,000 locations worldwide, serving over 90 per cent of the Fortune 500, with more than 100 million users around the world. “We believe that Avaya’s heritage, expertise, and technology make us well-positioned to guide the future of connectivity. Today we’ve also successfully transitioned to a software and services-led organisation; providing solutions through a highly-flexible approach whether hosted on-premise, delivered through the cloud, or in a hybrid model.




“We also appreciate that success is not achieved alone. We have invested heavily in development and orchestration platforms that give our partners and our customers many of the same tools as our own R&D teams. These Avaya platforms are based on next-generation, open approaches that contrast to the monolithic structures used by many of our competitors.” What advantages can a global provider offer a regional bank or business? “Within the region’s banking sector, a world-class customer experience can often be your greatest competitive edge. Understanding the customer is the only way to plan for long-term growth. “We recently conducted a study with IDC in which one of the outtakes was that digital transformation success fundamentally relies on customer experience. Organisations that focus their digital transformation efforts on improving customer experience—as well as employee productivity—have the highest growth from a profit and revenue perspective. “Bringing more than 25 years of international experience to the table, we are preferred partners to organisations in a range of industries, from banking and financial services to government and public safety, healthcare, hospitality, telecommunications and more. How can financial institutions in the Middle East improve their customers’ experience through digital innovation, and what are your most popular products for financial institutions in the Middle East? “Ultimately, we help banks to deliver convenient, personalised services through mobile and digital channels. This supports them to attract the most tech savvy of consumers. As the line between the physical and digital branch continues to blur, our solutions take friction out of the customer journey and enable seamless transactions


across any channel. We also leverage powerful collaboration tools, social media, and HD video to maximise banks’ highly-skilled resources. “These capabilities are supported by a range of omni-channel customer engagement technologies. In particular, our Avaya Breeze real-time collaboration and application-development platform has proven especially valuable to banks with a clear digital transformation mandate. Using Avaya Breeze, banks can easily build apps from reusable parts, integrate their communications apps with other business processes, or even start from scratch in designing their own omnichannel customer experience.” How can corporations in the Middle East better prepare for the digital transformation, and what are the latest innovations you see in customer experience? “For us, the conversation is not just about technology but what you do with it. Technology is an enabler, not an end in itself. In fact, the issue we see most often in working with local partners is that digital transformation projects are mostly viewed as just IT transformation projects.

“We believe the days of leading with IT products are clearly over. When it comes to the digital transformation of business communications, IT and the lines-of-business need to share the ownership of initiatives to ensure that the value of the transformation is fully realised. This goes from employee training all the way out to customer feedback.” What are the major challenges for regional financial institutions in terms of technology? “At Avaya, we work collaboratively with partners and customers to understand their real business requirements and identify their pain points. For example, in a recent study we conducted, we found that around 40 per cent of banking customers in the UAE and KSA would likely change their banks if customer service was poor. The bulk of respondents in these countries also prefer to utilise digital self-service channels to access banking services. This is where new technologies can really make a difference—helping customers do what they want to do as fast and effectively as possible. How will emerging technologies help to shape economies in the Middle East? “The Middle East’s transformation to digital is already having real consequences. People now expect anytime, anywhere responses for local businesses. Smart businesses must also now predict customer needs faster and with more accuracy than ever before. The reality is that companies now rise and fall based on how they communicate with and among their customers, employees, investors, regulators and other stakeholders. “Emerging technologies play a critical role in this communication. By applying more advanced artificial intelligence, analytics, blockchain and IoT applications to this process, we are able to help organisations create additional value in today’s digital age.”



Quality assured Raja Reddy Sandireddigari, CEO, SR Intelligent Technologies (SRIT) took home the Best Quality Testing and Assurance Provider-Middle East Award at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018

Raja Reddy Sandireddigari, CEO, SR Intelligent Technologies (SRIT), receives this award from Saleh Al Akrabi, Chairman, CPI Financial, and Nabilah Annuar, Editor, Banker Middle East




peaking on the success, Raja Reddy Sandireddigari, CEO, said, “We are extremely delighted to receive the prestigious Banker Middle East Industry Award for ‘Best Quality Testing and Assurance Provider-Middle East 2018’. We sincerely thank all our clients for their great support and dedicate this achievement to our employees.” As Chief Executive Officer of SR Intelligent Technologies (SRIT), Raja Reddy Sandireddigari is responsible for formulating the organisation’s global strategies and technology adoptions. He leads global sales and marketing, operations, end-to-end oversight of onsite and offshore delivery centres, business expansions, investments and operational excellence worldwide. SRIT shifted its strategies and adoptions in Testing and Quality Assurance to solutions such as automation, continuous testing, adoption of cloud practices to improve time-to-market, optimisation

cost of various offerings, and protecting the best corporate image and delivering the best-in-class customer experience and keeping up the success. SRIT serves for several top banks and financial organisations across GCC which includes Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic Bank, Mashreq Bank, CBD, RAKBANK, CBI, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Network International, Mercury Payment Services, DP Trade, AMLAK and many more. SRIT’s Five Key Pillars: • Software Testing and Quality Assurance • Project Management • Consulting • Outsourcing • Managed Services SRIT operates across five industry verticals: • Banking & Financial Services • Insurance & Reinsurance Services • Retail & Logistics Services • Telecommunication Services • Health Care Services


To know more about our services & offerings please drop us an email at


INDIVIDUAL AWARDS Every year, Banker Middle East honours those who have made an outstanding contribution to the banking and finance industry in the region

Hisham Al Rayes Investment Banker of the Year

Steve Bertamini Banker of the Year - KSA

Hisham Al Rayes, Chief Executive Officer of GFH Group

Steve Bertamini, Chief Executive Officer, Al Rajhi Bank


isham Al Rayes is the Chief Executive Officer of GFH Financial Group, one of the regional leading financial groups. Al Rayes took the helm in 2012, with an objective to establish a diverse and well-recognised regional financial group offering a remarkable platform for wealth management, real estate, commercial banking and asset management. Prior to his role as the Group’s CEO, Al Rayes was GFH’s Chief Investment Officer, responsible for driving the development and execution of its regional and international investment strategy along with management of the bank’s liabilities. Before joining the Group in 2007, Al Rayes was part of the senior management team of the Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait, a leading commercial bank in the Kingdom of Bahrain. During his tenure at BBK, Al Rayes was responsible for a number of key projects and new venture initiatives. Al Rayes is the chairman of Balexco, Gulf Holding Company and holds directorship in GFH financial Group, Khaleeji Commercial Bank, Falcon Cement Company, GFH Capital and Shuaa Capital.




teve Bertamini became Al Rajhi’s Chief Executive Officer in May 2015, and has since driven the bank into a new era of innovation and profitability. Steve Bertamini previously held the position of Group Executive Director and CEO for Global Consumer Banking at Standard Chartered Bank. Steve Bertamini was appointed Group Executive Director to the Board of Standard Chartered PLC in May 2008 and a member of the Board of Standard Chartered PLC between 2008 and 2014. Prior to his time at Standard Chartered, Steve spent 22 years with GE, most recently as Chairman and CEO of GE North East Asia. He was also responsible for GE’s acquisition and merger business in the Asia-Pacific region from 2004 and President of GE Capital Asia since January 2001. Steve is an active member of various external organisations including World Presidents’ Organization, CEO Forum, Global 50 and Global Executive Group. Steve graduated from University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor’s degree of Business in Finance and Management in 1985 and earned his MBA at the University of North Texas in 1991.

Khaled El Salawy Banker of the Year - Egypt

Faisal Al Haimus Banker of the Year - Iraq

Khaled El Salawy, Chief Executive Officer of ABK-Egypt

Faisal Al Haimus, President & Chairman, Trade Bank of Iraq


l Salawy was recognised for the bank’s stellar profit growth in Egypt and for introducing innovative products into the market while raising the bar on customer service excellence. Khaled El Salawy said, “I would like to thank the organisers for this recognition. I am truly honoured to be receiving this award in a room full of outstanding bankers. We have worked extremely hard as a team to position and grow ABK and to make a difference in a very competitive environment.  “We strive to provide innovative products coupled with an unprecedented emphasis on superior customer service. This award validates our endless efforts to adapt to the constantly evolving financial sector in Egypt and is testament to the hard work put in by all the employees who have contributed to the growth and success of ABK-Egypt.”


aisal Al Haimus is the President & Chairman of Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI). He has led the bank in a rebranding exercise and is currently seeing through an expansion strategy for the bank. TBI has opened an office in Abu Dhabi, UAE, last November, and plans to open its next branch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this year. Al Haimus was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Baghdad and prior to joining Bank of Baghdad, Al Haimus served as the Head of Wholesale Banking—Iraq for Standard Chartered Bank, playing a vital role in growing the Iraqi market as well as engaging with relevant stakeholders to establish the presence of Standard Chartered in Iraq.

Dr. Adnan Chilwan Excellence in Global Islamic Banking and Finance

D Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Islamic Bank

r. Adnan Chilwan has been a figurehead for Islamic banking since he joined the world’s oldest Islamic bank. Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO at DIB, said, “I consider myself extremely fortunate to be not just a part of a truly exciting industry, but also to be leading the most prolific and exciting player within it. Islamic Finance today is a global force that is now generating strong interest from all corners of the world. “Whilst at DIB our commitment to becoming a global powerhouse remains unabated, on a personal front, I wish to use the strength of the franchise to promote Islamic Finance as an economically viable and robust model, bridging the gap between the traditional and non-traditional markets globally. We thank Banker Middle East for the accolades received and remain committed to the continuous evolution of this industry into a global norm.”


SABB Best Human Capital Development - KSA Best CSR in Banking - KSA


ABB won the important awards for Best Human Capital Development (KSA) and Best CSR in Banking (KSA) – SABB at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018. SABB’s CSR programme thoroughly deserves its accolade. SABB knows that there’s more to being a successful business than simply making a profit, and is working tirelessly to leave a positive imprint on Saudi life and society. SABB has always aimed to be a good corporate citizen – playing an active role in Saudi life. Its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes have been extensive and highly successful. SABB gained the edge on CSR’s programmes by researching best practice around the world. SABB’s human capital development also deserves to be applauded. Every year, SABB works with the Human Resources Development Fund to offer a

SABB celebrates it win with Saleh Akrabi, Chairman of CPI Financial, and Nabilah Annuar, Editor of Banker Middle East.

SABB sets the standard for CSR in the region.

financial, administrative and educational programme consisting of on-the-job training for both men and women. SABB has also contributed enormously to the Kingdom’s Saudisation efforts. Whilst many Saudis are employed by the Government, the private sector has historically been dominated by expatriate workers from around the world. SABB is actively supporting the Saudi Government’s policy to increase the percentage of Saudi nationals in its workforce. It has set up three specialist recruitment centres operating training courses for Saudi graduates from universities, colleges, institutes and high schools, as well as for individuals who have a proven track record of performance within banking and other industry sectors.  The percentage of Saudi staff employed by SABB has grown from 47 per cent in 1990 to over 90 per cent in February 2015.

Gulf Bank Best Retail Bank - Kuwait


ulf Bank was voted Best Retail Bank in Kuwait by the readers of Banker Middle East. No stranger to the Industry Awards, this is the third year that Gulf Bank has won the title. Gulf Bank is one of the largest banks in Kuwait with a broad offering of consumer banking products. It continues to provide its customers with pioneering services while safeguarding them with cuttingedge security.



Gulf Bank takes the title of Best Retail Bank for the third year in a row.

The award recognises the bank’s outstanding performance in the retail sector, and highlights its understanding of its customers’ needs and its commitment to delivering superior services and products. Gulf Bank was founded in 1960, and today has a large network of 57 branches and total assets of KWD 5,467 million, as at 31 December 2016. The bank is currently ranked ‘A’ by the three leading international credit rating agencies.

ADS Securities Best Wealth Management Firm - Middle East Best Online Trading Platform - Middle East


DS Securities picked up the Awards for Best Wealth Management Firm Middle East and Best Online Trading Platform Middle East at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018. Dr. Ryan Lemand, Managing Director – Head of Wealth Management at ADS Securities, said, “For many years we have been investing in the services and the technology our clients need to manage their portfolios. These two Awards are

very important to us because they have been voted for by investors from across the region. “For wealth management clients our goal is to provide very high quality products and services backed by market leading platforms, which deliver real value. We are here to help investors and traders achieve their goals.” The development of financial services across the UAE has made Abu Dhabi increasingly attractive for regional and

Housing Bank of Trade and Finance Best Provider of Innovative Financial Services - Jordan Best Bank - Jordan

Housing Bank of Trade and Finance has been serving Jordan for over four decades.


he Housing Bank of Trade and Finance scoped the Award for Best Provider of Innovative Financial Services in Jordan, as well as the coveted Best Bank in Jordan title.



Housing Bank of Trade and Finance was declared the Best Bank in Jordan. (see pg 7)

The Housing Bank of Trade and Finance provides innovative banking services of high quality to its retail and corporate customers, which meet their needs and exceed their expectations, in line with

international investors. Many clients are looking at basing all or part of their portfolios out of this market, which now offers a secure, stable and wellregulated environment. Mathieu Ghanem, Managing Director – Global Head of Sales at ADS Securities, added, “We are especially delighted to receive the Best Online Trading Platform Award. We have continually invested in technology, bring in the latest thinking and systems, resulting in a multi-asset trading platform which gives traders access to the liquidity and pricing they want, over a very wide range of financial instruments. We will continue to push the boundaries and invest in the future.” ADS Securities offers a range of FX, CFD and precious metal trading, as well as Global Market, Investment Banking, Wealth and Asset Management. It is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, and has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and London.

the latest developments in international financial and banking markets. The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance (HBTF) was established in 1973 as a public shareholding limited company with a capital amounting to half a million JOD. The primary focus of the Bank was to provide housing finance, hence the name. After 24 years of operations, the bank embarked on a new era, when it diversified its scope and became a comprehensive bank, providing full commercial banking services. The bank’s capital was increased several times, and currently amounts to JOD 315 million; the equivalent of $444 million. The bank’s management has continuously focused on strengthening its capital base year by year, the total equity amounted to JOD 1.1​ billion ($1.6 billion) at the end of 2017.

GFH Financial Group Best Asset Manager - Middle East Best Investment Bank - Middle East


FH Financial Group celebrated a double win, taking home the Awards for Best Investment Bank Middle East and Best Investment Bank Middle East. GFH is a well renowned financial group in the GCC region, with a diversified offering and pioneering track record. Headquartered in Bahrain, GFH’s innovative approach to Islamic investment banking services has been recognised internationally for over a decade. GFH has developed a strong and consistent ability to identify, successfully bring to market and capitalise on a wide range of solid investment opportunities in some of the world’s most dynamic markets and sectors. This approach signifies the Group’s investment insights and commitment to increase the value of its assets, and financial returns to its investors and shareholders. As an innovative investment Group, GFH has an enviable track record in conceiving, funding and developing large,

GFH celebrated a double win.

GFH has a global reputation for excellence.

Al Rajhi Bank Best Retail Bank - KSA


audi Arabia’s Al Rajhi walked away with the Award for Best Retail Bank in the Kingdom. Founded in 1957, Al Rajhi Bank is one of the largest Islamic banks in the world with total assets of SAR 343 billion, a paid up capital of $4.33 billion and an employee base of over 9,600 associates. Deeply rooted in Islamic banking principles, the Shari’ah-compliant banking group is instrumental in bridging the gap between modern financial demands and intrinsic values, while spearheading numerous industry standards and development.

Al Rajhi Bank is one of the largest Islamic banks in the world.

With an established base in Riyadh, Al Rajhi Bank has a vast network of over 570 branches, over 152 dedicated

complex and innovative real estate and infrastructure projects in the GCC, MENA and India. Residential and commercial projects include Bahrain and Tunisia’s iconic Financial Harbours, and Energy Cities in Qatar and India. As part of GFH’s vision, the Group adopts a dynamic, entrepreneurial investment approach underpinned by solid professional credentials. Furthermore, the group pursues a diversified asset allocation strategy to adapt to the multitude of challenges in an ever-changing macro environment whilst working closely with our stakeholders to realistically meet expectations. In terms of asset class diversification, GFH has participated in and brought privileged access to unique private equity investments and in wide-ranging sectors such as real estate, consumer goods, retail, healthcare, industrial, education, technology and sports. Geographically, GFH initially had an investment focus on the Middle East, North Africa and India, but in recent years the Group has further diversified its holdings across the US, UK and Turkey to take advantage of emerging opportunities in these markets.

ladies branches, more than 4,794 ATM’s, 74,612 POS terminals installed with merchants and the largest customer base of any bank in the Kingdom, in addition to 233 remittance centres across the kingdom. As one of the leading and most progressive banks in Saudi Arabia, Al Rajhi Bank recorded net income profits of SAR 9,121 million in 2017. Al Rajhi Bank continues to develop banking programmes and projects with a focus on the latest electronic services and investment products, in order to offer innovative banking and investment services. Al Rajhi Bank has achieved leadership through offering new digital channels that answer customers’ needs and aspirations, simplifying their efforts while saving time.


Global Investment Bank Best Investment Bank - UAE


or the second year running, Global Investment Bank took home the Award for Best Investment Bank in the UAE. Global Investment Bank is an independent asset management and investment banking advisory firm offering a wide range of best-of-class financial services to High Net-Worth Individuals, corporates, and institutional and private clients worldwide. Global is an exclusive community of expert banking executives, industry experts, financial and research analysts leveraging the organisation’s intellectual assets, deep industry knowledge, and global network of professional associations to provide clients with bespoke and innovative solutions.

Global Investment Bank bags the Award for Best Investment Bank UAE for the second year in a row.

Global Investment Bank was established in 2010, headquartered in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) as a prudential Category 3 firm. Global operates on a simple strategy centred on the client. The greatest emphasis is placed on client interest and sustainable growth. In an attempt to redefine the traditional investment banking model, Global has expanded its business strategy to include global standards of excellence for banking and finance by embedding integrity and innovation at the core of its corporate values.

Emirates NBD Best Retail Bank - UAE


mirates NBD was crowned Best Retail Bank in the UAE at the Banker Middle East Awards 2018. Emirates NBD’s retail banking division registered a double-digit growth in revenues and profits in 2017, gaining market share across most retail products and segments. Emirates NBD has continued to strengthen its market leadership with first-to-market innovations and pioneering digital banking solutions. Among the bank’s significant retail launches last year were Liv., the UAE’s first digital bank for millennials; SkyShopper e-commerce portal offering online shopping across categories with the convenience of a single check out; EVA, the region’s first virtual chat bot powered by artificial intelligence; paperless personal loan and card applications; and the opening of fully



Emirates NBD is leading retail banking into the digital age.

digital branches offering self-service and assisted banking solutions. Emirates NBD recently signed a Premier Partnership agreement with Expo 2020 Dubai to become its official banking partner, and will offer a range of innovative financial products and services to visitors, participants and organisers of the global event. Emirates NBD is a leading banking group in the region with total assets of AED 475.6 billion as at 31 March 2018. The Group has a significant retail banking franchise in the UAE and is a key participant in the global digital banking industry, with over 90 per cent of all financial transactions and requests conducted outside of its branches. The bank currently has 228 branches and 1,057 ATMs and SDMs in the UAE and overseas.

Alkhabeer Capital Best Private Equity - Saudi Arabia


lkhabeer Capital, the asset manager specialising in alternative investments, was voted the best Private Equity firm in Saudi Arabia for the second year running. Ahmed Ghouth, Chief Executive Officer of Alkhabeer Capital, said, “We are glad to have won this award, which highlights how the company is well positioned to adapt to market challenges and leverage new investment opportunities as Saudi Arabia undergoes a remarkable transformation of its economy and society. “I want to express my appreciation for our Private Equity team, whose dedication, foresight and hard work have enabled our success. We look forward to a prosperous and diversified economy for Saudi Arabia and beyond.” Alkhabeer Capital is a prominent asset management company providing innovative world-class products and

Abdulrahman Baroom, Director of Corporate Services Division with Saleh Akrabi, Chairman of CPI Financial, and Nabilah Annuar, Editor of Banker Middle East.

services to institutions, family offices and qualified high-net-worth investors. The company’s Shari’ah-compliant business  activities are distinguished by the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct, executional vigour, and a profound understanding of clients’ investment needs and risk profiles.

Alkhabeer Capital is recognised as the company of choice for sourcing Shari’ahcompliant products and  solutions through its insightful  approach to creating partnerships with clients. The company has developed distinctive  values to strengthen such partnerships,  and endeavours to invest its capital  to maximise its value proposition  to shareholders and clients. This is supported by a high-calibre team of professionals with diverse expertise and extensive experience.  Alkhabeer’s track record in the Saudi Arabian market capitalises on investment opportunities created by economic and regulatory developments. The company’s investments are well diversified by sector and geography across the GCC region, together with selected global markets including the US and the UK.

SEDCO Capital Best Asset Manager - Saudi Arabia


EDCO Capital was declared Best Asset Manager in Saudi Arabia at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018. SEDCO Capital is a global asset management firm that offers attractive investment opportunities across global markets through carefully engineered public and private funds and special instruments. Established in 1976, SEDCO Capital has crafted a three-decade long track record of robust performance combined with prudent investment strategies. It has pioneered a world-class Prudent Ethical Approach (PEI) that combines the best of Shari’ah-compliance with ethical investing to create exceptional performance while minimising downside risks.

SEDCO Capital has forged a stellar reputation over three decades.

SEDCO Capital offers advisory, discretionary management and asset allocation services that deliver access to high-performing public and private equities, commodities, income funds, and real estate assets. Its clients benefit

from world-class investment instruments, including those offered through its international Luxembourg platform. “SEDCO Capital has established itself as a partner of choice for sophisticated investors seeking diverse Shari’ahcompliant investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and around the world,” said Samer Abu Aker, Acting Chief Executive Officer of SEDCO Capital. “We are proud to have aligned our interests with those of our clients by generating market-beating performance through careful and prudent asset allocation, and by innovating investment instruments that offer exposure to a promising set of diverse asset classes worldwide,” he said.


FFA Private Bank Best Private Bank - Middle East


FA Private Bank was named Best Private Bank in the Middle East at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018. The award was received by the group chairman and CEO, Jean Riachi. “We are pleased and proud to receive this prestigious award and will thrive to continue serving our clients with the highest standards of professionalism and ethics,” said Riachi.  Over the years, FFA has become one of Lebanon’s leading investment firms in the fields of capital markets and wealth management.  In 2007, FFA was granted a specialised bank licence, increased its capital and changed its name to FFA Private Bank.

Jean Riachi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FFA Private Bank, collects the Award for Best Private Bank Middle East

Today, FFA Private Bank Group operates from its headquarters in Beirut and in Dubai (DIFC) and is one of the region’s leading specialised banks with a consolidated shareholders’ equity in excess of $40 million and over $1 billion in total assets under management. FFA covers a spectrum of services in the fields of private banking, capital markets, asset management and investment banking, in addition to real estate investment services. Headquartered in Beirut with a fully -owned subsidiary in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), FFA Private Bank caters to affluent private investors, family offices, corporations and financial institutions in the MENA region.

Gulf Capital Best Private Debt Provider - Middle East


ulf Capital, one of the largest and most active alternative asset managers in the Middle East, was named Best Private Debt Provider at the Banker Middle East Awards. Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer at Gulf Capital, said, “We are immensely proud to have won this award and to be recognised as the Best Private Debt Provider in the region. This year has been quite active for the Private Debt team at Gulf Capital. We have completed six transactions across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region, in the consumer, oil and gas, logistics, industrials, manufacturing and petrochemicals industries. “Our Private Debt business has become the provider of choice of growth capital for entrepreneurs seeking to take

Gulf Capital has had a busy year, and was rewarded with the title Best Private Debt Provider.

their companies to the next level. We see this award as a fitting testament to our strong deployment productivity and to the momentum we have gathered over the last year.” Walid Cherif, Senior Managing Director Private Debt at Gulf Capital,

added, “Gulf Credit Opportunities Fund II provided over AED 327 million in private debt through six investments in Jordan, Egypt and Turkey. The fund also completed its first private debt transaction in sub-Saharan Africa in Q4 2017. This transaction marked a new milestone for Gulf Capital for being our first transaction in that area.” Established in 2006, Gulf Capital has become the region’s most successful alternative investment firm with a track record of industry-leading returns and performance. It has grown its shareholders equity by 125 per cent in the last seven years and today has over $4 billion in assets under management—prudently invested in the most commercially vibrant sectors of one of the world’s highest growth regions.


Standard Chartered Most Innovative Wealth Management Solutions - Middle East


tandard Chartered bagged the Award for Most Innovative Wealth Management Solutions in the Middle East. Standard Chartered has a long history in the UAE, having opened its first branch in Sharjah in 1958. The group’s business gradually increased in the UAE and today, Dubai is the bank’s regional hub for the Africa and Middle East region and is the centre for its Islamic Banking arm, Standard Chartered Saadiq. Standard Chartered offers an extensive range of Islamic and conventional banking products and services for retail, private, commercial and corporate clients. Its main objective is to offer outstanding value to its clients by providing a knowledgeable, efficient and reliable service in a personal, helpful and responsive manner. Central to this philosophy is the professional

Standard Chartered is ‘Here for Good’.

consultative approach it takes with each customer. By getting to know its cutomers better, it identifies their needs and matches them with quality products to suit them. To put it simply, Standard Chartered is committed to helping its clients manage their money in the best possible way. Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India. Standard Chartered is a leading international banking group, with more than 80,000 employees and a 150-year history in some of the world’s most dynamic markets. It banks the people and companies driving investment, trade and creation of wealth across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Standard Chartered’s heritage and values are expressed in its brand promise, Here for good.

Maveric Systems Best IT Solutions Provider - Middle East


averic Systems went home with the Award for Best IT Solutions Provider in the Middle East at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018. Started in 2000, Maveric Systems helps global banking and fintech leaders drive business agility through effective integration of development, operations and quality engineering initiatives. Its strong banking domain competency combined with expertise across legacy and new age technology landscapes makes it a preferred partner for customers worldwide.



Maveric Systems was recognised for its role in helping banks into the digital age.

It offers product implementation, integration and quality engineering services across digital platforms, banking solutions and regulatory systems. Its insight-led engagement approach helps clients quickly adapt to dynamic technology and competitive landscapes with a sharp focus on quality. It has a dedicated offshore delivery and research centre in Chennai, India. Its 1200+ software development life cycle professionals operate across centres in UK, US, Europe, Middle East and APAC and provide services to more than 50 financial services organisations across the globe.

Alawwal Bank Most Innovative Bank - Saudi Arabia Best Private Bank - Saudi Arabia


lawwal Bank was honoured twice at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018, picking up the awards for Best Private Bank in Saudi Arabia and Most Innovative Bank in Saudi Arabia. Soren Nikolajsen, Managing Director of Alawwal Bank, said, “As the Kingdom’s longest serving bank, it makes me extremely proud that we’re still recognised as leaders in this hugely competitive market. We have a long tradition of pushing the boundaries of banking in the Kingdom that we work very hard to maintain.” The Award marks another step in Alawwal bank’s 92-year history of leading positive change in the Kingdom’s financial services industry. The bank has

Alawwal Bank has been leading positive change in Saudi Arabia’s financial services industry for nearly 100 years.

invested heavily in developing a marketleading range of digital banking services in recent years. Over the past 12 months the bank witnessed a 50 per cent increase in both online and mobile transactions. Alawwal Bank was first in the Kingdom to launch transactions on Apple Watch, as well as a celebrated digital branch that doubles as a café in one of Riyadh’s busiest shopping malls. Alawwal’s private banking arm has excelled in serving the complex needs of wealthy individuals. The bank has a long history of serving high net worth individuals and recently revamped its private banking centres enhancing the overall experience offered to customers.



AKBANK, also known as the National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (P.S.C), received the Award for Best SME Bank in the UAE. RAKBANK is one of the oldest and most dynamic banks in the UAE. Founded in 1976, the bank underwent a major transformation in 2001, with a shift in focus from corporate banking to personal and business banking.  Today, the bank offers a wide range of personal and business banking services throughout its 38 branches. It also offers Shari’ah-compliant personal and business banking services via its Islamic banking unit, RAKislamic. RAKBANK is now one of the largest SME banks in the region. RAKBANK’S strategy focusses on offering customised

RAKBANK is one of the largest SME banks in the region.

solutions that support an SME’s entrepreneurial journey. This opens up a new platform to introduce the Bank’s services to start-ups and companies In addition to banking solutions, RAKBANK offers company registration and licensing, insurance, office leasing, furniture, digital marketing solutions and business devices. Last year, RAKBANK’s CEO reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to supporting SMEs. “The bank remains very committed to the SME segment despite the challenges faced in this area in the past two years,” he said. Small and medium enterprises are the lifeblood of the UAE economy, comprising some 85 per cent of the country’s business sector.


SAP KSA Best Technology Provider - Middle East


AP KSA was voted Best Technology Provide in the Middle East. SAP is the world leader in enterprise applications. Based on market capitalisation, it is the world’s third largest independent software manufacturer. The SAP for Banking solution portfolio streamlines core processes with a comprehensive collection of integrated technologies applicable to multichannel management, transactional banking, payments, finance and risk management, customer engagement, human resources and procurement. It is the direct result of the company’s more than 40 years of industry knowledge and a spirit of co-creation with banks in pushing cutting-edge technologies to the forefront of financial services. More than 14,100 banks, both large and small, in 150 countries rely on SAP for banking solutions to help them become more customer-centric, reduce complexity and

SAP is the third largest independent software manufacturer in the world.

manage regulatory and risk compliance more easily. “As the market continues to expand, we’re seeing banks move away from legacy systems and adopt new functionalities and enhancements,” said Falk Rieker, Global Head of Banking at SAP. “To stay ahead of the curve, we’ve invested heavily in innovations such as SAP Leonardo and SAP HANA to ensure we provide customers with a rich and diversified product suite. These technologies can combine blockchain, analytics, Big Data, the Internet of Things and machine learning in a single platform that simplifies banking IT while enhancing the customer experience.” In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, SAP counts more than 1,000 customers and more than 50 partners, and has localised solutions to more than 25 industries. In the Middle East, more than $1.6 trillion worth of banking assets run on SAP.

Equitativa Group Best REIT Manager - MENA Sukuk of the Year - Middle East


he Equitativa Group celebrated a double win at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards, taking home the Awards for Best REIT Manager (MENA), Sukuk of the Year (Middle East). The Equitativa Group is a leading regional asset manager focused on creating and managing real estate investment trusts (REITs). The group offers innovative risk-adjusted, income generating financial products that cater to institutional and retail investors. As the founder of the UAE’s first Shari’ah-compliant REIT, Emirates REIT,



The Equitativa Group celebrated a double win.

established in the DIFC, Equitativa is today the largest REIT Manager in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the biggest REIT Manager for Shari’ahcompliant REITs in the world. Equitativa has about $2 billion of assets under management in the UAE including Emirates REIT and The Residential REIT, the latter incorporated in Abu Dhabi Global Markets. Equitativa is further diversifying its REITs by launching a hospitality REIT, a logistics REIT, and several other REITs in emerging markets.

National Bank of Fujairah Best Corporate Bank - UAE Best Commercial Bank - UAE


ational Bank of Fujairah (NBF) was named Best Corporate Bank UAE and Best Commercial Bank UAE at the 2018 Banker Middle East Industry Awards. This is the seventh year that NBF has held the title of Best Commercial Bank, and the fourth time in a row it has received the accolade for the Best Corporate Bank.  With relentless efforts to build meaningful relationships with clients, NBF has created a reputation for itself as the partner for businesses in the UAE. With its multi-disciplinary approach and unmatched sectorial expertise, NBF’s corporate banking business deserves its recognition.  Over the years, the bank has remained committed to supporting the SME sector. Testament to the success of this approach, the bank’s commercial banking portfolio has seen a steady increase over the years as the unit continues to deliver consistent and solid growth for its

National Bank of Fujairah has won the Award for Best Commercial Bank a remarkable seven times.

National Bank of Fujairah bags the Award for Best Corporate Bank for the fourth year in a row.

loan book, contrary to the experience of many others. NBF’s CEO Vince Cook said, “It is such an honour to celebrate seven years of unprecedented success thanks to the support of our clients, employees, and partners. This solid track record is testament to our dedicated efforts in continuing to add value to our clients, while growing our business and enhancing our service offerings. These recurrent wins will only push us to reach new and improved heights as we work on meeting our clients’ demands in a rapidly-changing environment. Once again, I would like to extend my gratitude to all the voters for their continued support.” These awards build on the bank’s strong show at the Banker Middle East (BME) Product Awards earlier this year. Scooping five awards, the event highlighted the bank’s unparalleled track record in the UAE with a focus on service excellence and innovation.

Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait Best Commercial Bank - Kuwait


or over four decades, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) has been known for the quality of its customer service and its range of financial products. It was awarded the title of Best Commercial Bank at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards. The bank provides commercial banking services in Egypt, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, ensuring a seamless banking experience across all its markets, facilitating consumer banking and business

Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait provides a seamless banking experience across borders.

banking relationships across the Gulf and into North Africa. Over the last half century, ABK has grown to become one of the most respected and innovative banks in the region. With a clear regional vison of strong leadership, simpler banking, and an unrelenting focus on continual renewal and investment in its customer service, technology and products, ABK has set new benchmarks for banking in the Middle East.


EdgeVerve Systems Best Digital Banking Technology - Middle East


dgeVerve Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Infosys, took the prize for Best Digital Banking Technology in the Middle East. EdgeVerve Systems develops innovative software products and offers them on premise or as cloud-hosted business platforms. EdgeVerve Systems powers its clients’ growth in rapidly evolving areas like banking, distributive trade, credit servicing, customer service and enterprise buying. Today, global corporations across financial services, insurance, retail and CPG, life sciences, manufacturing, and telecommunications use EdgeVerve products. Infosys Finacle is the industryleading universal banking solution from EdgeVerve Systems.

Banks powered by Finacle report up to 50 per cent higher returns.

The solution helps financial institutions develop deeper connections with stakeholders, power continuous innovation and accelerate growth in the digital world. Today, Finacle is the choice of banks across 94 countries and serves over 848 million customers—estimated to be nearly 16.5 per cent of the world’s adult banked population. Finacle solutions address core banking, e-banking, mobile banking, CRM, payments, treasury, origination, liquidity management, Islamic banking, wealth management, and analytics needs of financial institutions worldwide. Assessment of the top 1,000 world banks reveals that banks powered by Finacle enjoy 50 per cent higher returns on assets, 30 per cent higher returns on capital, and 8.1 per cent points lesser costs to income than others.

Kuwait International Bank Best Customer Acquisition - Kuwait


uwait International Bank (KIB) received the Award for Best Customer Acquisition in Kuwait at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018. KIB’s Acting Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed El Saka, received the award on behalf of the Bank. This latest accolade came after extensive deliberation by the judging panel regarding the bank’s outstanding ability to offer innovative banking solutions, attract customers, as well as improve the customer banking experience through all means including ATMs, online and mobile banking. El Saka said, “KIB was recognised with this award from amongst a number of other banks, as a result of its highquality and innovative Islamic banking



Mohamed El Saka, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Kuwait International bank.

offerings, which offer our customers a more convenient banking experience. “Additionally, we continuously strive to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction by providing customers

with the latest promotional campaigns, countless benefits, exclusive rewards, and many digital banking services; all of which have helped distinguish KIB from other players in a highly-competitive market.” El Saka added that KIB’s latest accolade is a strong testament to the success of its new strategic transformation, which is aimed at transforming the way KIB engages with customers across the years. This new strategy focuses on offering a next-level customer experience that delivers much more than just ‘banking’ in the traditional sense—but rather establishes KIB as a partner in every aspect of its customers’ lives; a true ‘Bank for Life’. Accordingly, the Bank is committed to redoubling its efforts to maintain this prestigious achievement in the coming years.

Al Ramz Best Brokerage Company - Middle East Best Market Maker - Middle East

Al Ramz celebrated a double win.


t was a double win for the UAE’s Al Ramz, which took home the awards for the Best Brokerage Company in the Middle East, and the Best Market Maker in the Middle East. Al Ramz Corporation has been striving

The award-winning corporation has its sights set on expansion across borders.

for its clients for the best part of two decades. Backed by its strategic partners and guided by a highly-experienced management team, it goes the extra mile to provide its clients with specialist advice, active support and assistance.

Avaya Best Banking Service Provider - Middle East


vaya was deservedly voted the Best Banking Service Provider. Avaya is a global leader in digital communications software, services and devices for businesses of all sizes. Avaya enables the mission critical, real-time communication applications of the world’s most important operations. As the global leader in delivering superior communications experiences, Avaya provides the most complete portfolio of software and services for contact centre and unified communications—offered on premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid. Today’s digital world requires communications enablement, and no other company is better positioned to do this than Avaya.



Avaya is favoured by companies in over 150 countries.

Al Ramz offers a wide array of products in brokerage, investment management, corporate advisory and market making. As a company, it boasts a deep knowledge and expertise in trading securities. Al Ramz’s operations are based on sound foundations based on core values of honesty, integrity, creativity, and accountability. Al Ramz truly places its clients’ needs at the forefront of its activities while delivering unparalleled services. In line with its continuous efforts to meet the diverse needs of individual and corporate clients, it maintains a network of branches in strategic locations across the UAE, offering clients ease and convenience. Al Ramz has set its sights across borders, with future plans including expansion across the GCC, the Middle East and North Africa. Working on the launch of pioneering investment banking products, Al Ramz is committed to becoming one of the biggest financial power houses in the UAE and the region.

Through its open, intelligent and customisable solutions, Avaya shapes intelligent connections and creates seamless communication experiences for its customers and their customers. Its professional planning, support and management services teams help optimise solutions, for highly reliable and efficient deployments. Companies in over 150 countries around the world choose Avaya contact centre solutions to transform their customer service and support operations, including Alorica, Eletropaulo, Exelon, Florius, Liberty Mutual, Yanfeng Automotive Interior Systems, among others. Avaya’s comprehensive, end-to-end portfolio helps drive digital transformation. It provides the ability to create and integrate applications in house, from Avaya or other third parties, and the workforce management tools to ensure continuous improvement.

EXCEPTIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. Best Retail Bank in Lebanon Best Commercial Bank in Lebanon for the 3rd consecutive year Best Transaction Bank in Lebanon for the 3rd consecutive year Fastest Growing Bank by BME100

Lebanon | Australia | UK | Germany Sultanate of Oman | Cyprus | UAE | Nigeria | Ghana

1262 BOB trophies Mag 21x27 AW.indd 1

7/4/18 3:00 PM

Dubai Islamic Bank Best Islamic Retail Bank - UAE Best Islamic Corporate Bank - UAE Best Sukuk Arranger - Middle East Best Islamic Bank - Middle East


ubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the largest Islamic bank in the UAE, once again triumphed at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018. For the third consecutive year, DIB was awarded the prestigious Best Islamic Bank, Best Islamic Retail Bank, Best Islamic Corporate Bank and Best Sukuk Arranger awards. Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO at DIB, said, “I consider myself extremely fortunate to be not just a part of a truly exciting industry, but also to be leading the most prolific and exciting player within it. “Islamic finance today is a global force that is now generating strong interest from all corners of the world. Whilst at DIB our commitment to becoming a global powerhouse remains unabated, on a personal front, I wish to use the strength of the franchise to promote Islamic finance as an economically viable and robust model, bridging the gap between the traditional and non-traditional markets globally. We thank Banker Middle East for the accolades received and remain committed to the continuous evolution of this industry into a global norm.” Islamic banking started when DIB opened its doors as the world’s first Islamic bank. Today, it is a pioneering institution that has combined the best of traditional Islamic values with the technology and innovation that characterise the best of modern banking.

Dubai Islamic Bank was named Best Islamic Bank, Best Islamic Retail Bank, Best Islamic Corporate Bank and Best Sukuk Arranger for the third year in a row.

Dubai Islamic Bank celebrates a quadruple win.

Dubai Islamic Bank is the world’s first Islamic Bank.

Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO at Dubai Islamic Bank.


Boursa Kuwait Most Improved Company - Middle East


uilding on an already impressive start to 2018, Boursa Kuwait won the Most Improved Company’award at the 2018 Banker Middle East Industry Awards. The award was received by Nasser AlSanousi, Director of Marketing at the company. Boursa Kuwait’s CEO, Khaled Abdulrazzaq AlKhaled, said, “Boursa Kuwait is honoured to receive this award. We would like to thank Banker Middle East and CPI Financial and their readers for their recognition of our efforts in building a better, more transparent stock exchange. “Our goal of operating an efficient capital market platform that services all relevant asset classes saw amazing

Nasser AL Sanousi, Director of Marketing at Boursa Kuwait.

SAMBA Best IT Risk Management - KSA Best IT Solutions - KSA


AMBA took home the Awards for Best IT Risk Management KSA and Best IT Solutions KSA at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018. Ever since its first branch was established in Jeddah by Citibank in 1955, SAMBA has upheld a history of excellence. Samba is very particular about the security of its customer’s personal and financial information, which is why it was voted as having the Best Risk Management and Best Solutions in IT. SAMBA’s security technologies and processes are being continuously upgraded to ensure that they are the highest possible standards. It employs



a diverse range of security technologies to ensure the safety, confidentiality and integrity of its customer’s information and transactions. Some of cutting edge solutions it employs include second factor authentication, which is a security measure that requires a unique one-time password in addition to a username and password.

progress with the introduction of phase two of our Market Development Plan. As we continue on our mission to develop a liquid, reliable and sound capital market providing issuers with efficient access to capital and investors with diverse return opportunities, and continue on our journey of evolving into a leading regional exchange, I have no doubt that the future holds great things for us at the company as well as for the economy of Kuwait.” Boursa Kuwait was founded on 21 April 2014. Boursa Kuwait is responsible for introducing new trading rules, risk management practices, price discovery mechanisms and new technology to ensure that the exchange is as robust and secure as possible. The establishment of Boursa Kuwait marked the first step in privatising the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange, which was founded in 1983.

Every time a customer accesses online banking, all account information transmitted during the session is encrypted which makes it nearly impossible for intruders to decipher it. Samba uses TLS encryption to protect the information that is sent or received from its secure site. This provides for confidentiality of sensitive data and integrity of the transactions performed. Samba’s systems are protected 24 hours a day by multiple layers of firewalls that block unauthorised entry. Digital Certificates also provide the user with evidence of the server’s authenticity. This safeguards users from trusting unauthorised sites and allows the session to be encrypted. SAMBA is at the forefront of IT security; its customer’s data is safe, and so is the bank’s reputation as a leader in risk management.

Mashreqbank Best Regional Retail Bank - Middle East Best Digital Bank - UAE

Mashreqbank celebrated a double win after 45 years of serving the UAE’s financial community.


ashreq enjoyed a double win at the Banker Middle East industry Awards 2018, picking up Awards for Best Regional Retail Bank - Middle East and Best Digital Bank in the UAE.

Established in 1967 by the Al-Ghurair Group, Mashreqbank it is the largest private sector bank in the UAE. With more than 45 years of experience in the UAE banking and financial services market, Mashreqbank is well established as a leading commercial and retail bank in the region. Beginning 2011, Mashreqbank crafted its strategic vision “to provide customers with the most rewarding banking relationships”, putting the customer at the centre of all its efforts. Mashreqbank operates as a Universal Bank offering a comprehensive array of products and services to a wide range of customer segments in corporate and retail banking in the UAE and has a strong regional presence in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt. Mashreqbank also has a presence in international financial centres such as London, New York, Honk Kong and Mumbai. It has a widespread network with 44 branches in the UAE and 20 branches and representative offices in the MENA region, Asia, Europe and the US enabling regional trade flows.

Trade Bank of Iraq Best Trade Finance Bank - Iraq


he Trade Bank of Iraq won the title of Best Trade Finance Bank (Iraq) at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards. The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) was established in 2003 to facilitate Iraq’s domestic and international trade dealings; the bank answered a dire need for facilitating the trade of humanitarian goods and services once the United Nations’ Oilfor-Food Programme ended in 2003. TBI is playing an important role in revitalising the Iraqi economy, primarily by facilitating imports and exports and also through offering new and innovative customer-focused financial products to the public and private sector.



These include savings accounts, current accounts, payroll accounts, foreign exchange, trade services, trade finance, personal loans, working capital finance and project finance. TBI is prompt in adopting modern financial technologies. It was the first bank in Iraq to operate on a centralised banking solution. TBI was also first Iraqi bank to introduce credit cards, ATM, POS and e-commerce in Iraq. TBI is the first Iraqi bank to enter the list of the largest thousand banks in the world in 2017. TBI ranks 33 among Arab banks and 318 globally.

Warba Bank Best Corporate Bank - Kuwait Best Investment Bank - Kuwait Fastest Growing Bank - Kuwait Fastest Growing Bank - Middle East

W Warba Bank was named fastest growing bank in Kuwait for the fourth year in a row. (see pg 8)

Warba Bank has earned the trust of international investors after several mega financing deals.

arba Bank had a lot to celebrate at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018, scooping four awards for Best Corporate Bank (Kuwait), Best Investment Bank (Kuwait), Fastest Growing Bank (Kuwait) and the coveted Award for Fastest Growing Bank in the Middle East. Established in 2010, Warba Bank’s mission is to be a world-class bank that offers the entire gamut of banking and investment services in compliance with Shari’ah principles. It aims to achieve growth by continuously innovating on product quality, offering customised solutions and service excellence thereby gaining the confidence of customers from various walks of life. Rating agencies have observed the bank’s high quality of assets and its ability to achieve sustainable revenues and profits despite the challenges in the domestic and international markets. They have also noted the bank’s solid liquidity and a low rate of non-performing loans, allowing the bank to continue in its growth and expansion plan in the short and medium terms. The bank enjoys the confidence of Kuwaiti, Gulf and foreign investors, especially following its success in several mega financing deals in the region that have drawn the attention of investors all over the world.

Warba Bank is a young bank with big ambition.

Warba Bank visited the stage four times over the evening.


First Abu Dhabi Bank Best Bank - UAE Best Bank - Middle East


irst Bank Abu Dhabi celebrated a double achievement at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards, where it was revealed as the Best Bank in the UAE and the Best Bank in the Middle East. According to CPI Financial’s BME100 research, which is based on quantitative analysis of financials from the top one hundred banks across the region, First Bank Abu Dhabi has outperformed its peers across a variety of the most important key performance indicators and witnessed unrivalled growth and success in the last year. The merger of First Gulf Bank (FGB) and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) in April 2017 created First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) the biggest bank in the UAE, with approximately $182 billion of assets as at December 2017. The merger brought together two successful Abu Dhabi-listed banks to create a new, well-balanced bank with the financial strength, expertise and a global network to fuel growth in the UAE economy and drive the country’s international business relationships. FAB, now one of the world’s largest financial institutions, offers an extensive range of tailor-made solutions, and products and services, to provide a customised experience. Through its strategic offerings,



it looks to meet the banking needs of customers across the world via its marketleading corporate and investment banking and personal banking franchises. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi in Khalifa Business Park, the bank’s international network spans over 19 countries across the world, providing the global relationships, expertise and financial strength to support local, regional and international businesses seeking to do business at home and abroad. In line with its commitment to put customers first, to ‘Grow Stronger’, FAB will continually invest in people and technology to create the most customerfriendly banking experience, and will support the growth ambitions of its stakeholders across countries in which the bank operates. To empower its customers and clients to Grow Stronger, FAB is initiating a powerful movement, which goes beyond banking. The Grow Stronger movement represents the bank’s promise to support its stakeholders’ goals and growth ambitions, providing ideas, tools and expertise to help them become stronger, today and in the future. Through a strong, diversified balance sheet, leading efficiency and a solid corporate governance structure in place, FAB is set to drive growth forward.

For Forgenerations, generations, the thebetter betterway wayto tobank. bank. Over Over 40 years 40 years ago,ago, Dubai Dubai Islamic Islamic Bank Bank pioneered pioneered a way a way of banking of banking thatthat waswas truly truly better: better: Islamic Islamic banking. banking. Since Since then, then, many many generations generations of customers of customers continue continue to enjoy to enjoy world world class class products products andand services services backed backed by the by the veryvery latest latest in banking in banking technology. technology. ForFor them them as for as for you,you, thisthis is still is still thethe better better wayway to bank. to bank.

BLOM BANK Best Bank - Lebanon Best Corporate Bank - Lebanon

BLOM BANK crosses borders with a presence in 12 countries.


LOM BANK celebrated a double victory at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018, taking home the Awards for Best Corporate Bank in Lebanon and Best Bank in Lebanon. BLOM BANK is a leading Lebanese bank. As one of the oldest established banks in Lebanon, if not in the region,

BLOM BANK has faced down political and economic challenges.

BLOM BANK has always been at the forefront of the country’s banking system. Its universal banking services revolve around trust and credibility, built with its clients through long-term personal relationships, integrity, and the strong financial fundamentals that it has consistently achieved.

Cedar Consulting Most Innovating Consulting Firm - Middle East


edar Consulting was named Most Innovating Consulting Firm (Middle East) at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018. Cedar is a leading global consulting, research and analytics firm with network offices in 16 countries, 500 professionals and over 1000 clients. Since 1985, its team has been assisting clients in the area of strategy, process, strategic human capital, and business technology. As a general management consulting firm, it is able to assist clients across these areas in an integrated fashion— from formulation to execution.



Businesses have relied on Cedar Consulting for over three decades.

Throughout the years, BLOM Bank has consistently maintained a track record of solid performance and growth, even as the unstable political and economic climate in Lebanon continues. BLOM BANK’s strategy is based on measured regional expansion to markets with strong potential and on the continuous modernisation and diversification of its universal services, both placing it as a leading bank in the Arab region. As a result, BLOM BANK has the widest foreign presence among Lebanese Banks, and is currently present in 12 countries. In its drive to diversify its revenue base and enrich its asset class, the bank is constantly looking to strengthen its regional expansion. In addition, the bank will be intensifying its digitalisation drive to enhance the spread and depth of its digital services, and rely less on opening physical branches. The bank will continue to capitalise on its regional competitive advantages, namely common culture; business synergies; outstanding relationships; and the excellent development of its products.

Its business intelligence unit Cypress Analytica provides innovative analytic solutions across industry sectors. Its heritage includes being part of the former $1 Billion Renaissance Worldwide, whose leadership included the creators of the Balanced Scorecard— the world’s leading strategy deployment and performance management system. Its research division IBS Intelligence is a leading UK based financial technology research, publication and consulting firm. For over 20 years, IBS Intelligence has been the definitive source for independent, in-depth news, research and analysis of financial technology markets. With hundreds of consulting projects executed globally over the years, across industry sectors, Cedar’s experienced team is known for execution excellence.

National Bank of Kuwait Best Bank - Kuwait


ational Bank of Kuwait was voted the Best Bank in Kuwait at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2018, and thoroughly deserves its accolade. NBK is frequently recognised as one of the region’s safest banks. It enjoys some of the highest ratings among all banks in the Middle East from the three international rating agencies, namely Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s. The bank’s ratings are supported by its high capitalisation, prudent lending policies, and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to its stable management team. NBK boasts a wide banking presence with a local and international network spanning four continents. It is Kuwait’s largest overseas branch network, touching many of the world’s financial centres. NBK’s has a presence in all corners of the financial world, including New York, Europe, the Middle East, Singapore and China. NBK’s international operations remain highly profitable, contributing 27% of the group’s total profits in the first quarter of 2018. NBK prides itself on being a well-diversified financial institution; not only by geography but also by product offerings. All of its key markets have

been strongly performing with crossselling opportunities emerging in different areas. Since its incorporation in 1952 as Kuwait’s first indigenous bank and the first shareholding company in the entire Gulf region, NBK has been known as ‘The Bank You Know and Trust’. Thanks to the recognised excellence of its management, along with its consistent profitability and high asset quality, NBK has built a progressive banking institution that offers a full spectrum of innovative and unrivalled financial and investment services and solutions to individual, corporate and institutional clients. NBK enjoys a dominant market share with a large and ever-expanding local and regional clientele. NBK’s robust financial position, strong franchise, diversified business model in addition to its regional and global presence, has positioned the Bank as the country’s foremost financial provider and the largest beneficiary of the growing government expenditure. NBK reported net profits of USD 1,068.3 million (KD 322.4 million) for 2017. NBK’s total assets were USD 86.3 billion (KD 26.0 billion) at the end of 2017, while shareholder equity stood at USD 9.5 billion (KD 2.9 billion).


National Commercial Bank Best Bank - KSA Best Corporate Digital Bank - KSA Best Digital Bank - KSA


audi Arabia’s oldest bank was rewarded for being the most digitally astute, receiving the awards for Best Corporate Digital Bank KSA, Best Digital Bank KSA – National Commercial Bank. It was also awarded the title of Best Bank in Saudi Arabia. National Commercial Bank has really upped the ante in digital offerings. It recently upgraded AlAhliOnline to be in line with the best international standards. It also offers an unparalleled number of services on mobile devices. The National Commercial Bank strives to provide the best digital experience to their clients, so they can carry out their banking transactions around the clock. It also offers a self-service kiosk as its fastest way to banking services.​ NCB has continued to develop IT infrastructure, making significant progress towards completion of the NextGen Technology project. In 2017, transactions conducted through its digital channels reached 96 per cent, helping to on its mission to becoming the best digital bank.



NCB understands the overwhelming demand for world class online banking services. NCB has set a target to be a leader in digital banking and the region’s best bank in digital services. Its plan focuses on developing all digital activities for individual and corporate customers across all its channels to ensure an easy, innovative, and streamlined service. It is using its technical capabilities to analyse customer feedback and maintain service excellence. The bank has continued to expand the scope of digital banking, increase digital transactions and digital banking activities, enhance its customers’ experience, increase digital sales, and coordinate the delivery of digital banking projects. NCB’s Digital Banking Division has launched a wide range of initiatives and improvements to its digital banking channels, providing several services to retail and corporate customers through AlAhliOnline, AlAhliMobile, and AlAhlieCorp.

The digital transformation has dispensed with the need to visit branches, fill out forms and stand in a queue. It has opened new horizons for customers, who can take advantage of the bank’s diverse banking services at the touch of a button, wherever they are, around the clock. NCB has also developed its POS network, modernised its infrastructure and attracted new traders. Its number of POS terminals has increased significantly, accompanied by growth in the volume and value of transactions. NCB’s market share in POS transactions reached 18 per cent in 2016, and the bank has been ranked in the world’s top 150 for volume of transactions processed using credit cards at POS devices and digital payment websites. Opening its doors in 1953, NCB was Saudi Arabia’s first bank and today it is one of the region’s most recognisable brands. It is considered the largest bank in Saudi Arabia and is a leading financial institution in the region.

Tabarak Investments Best Private Equity - UAE


abarak Investment—the Abu Dhabibased, Emirati-led private equity firm, took home the Award for Best Private Equity in the UAE at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards. The recognition reflects the firm’s successful track record of transforming underperforming companies into meaningful contributors to the UAE’s economy. “Tabarak was established in 2011 by a group of Emirati entrepreneurs with the ambition to play a meaningful role contributing to the UAE economy,” said Engineer Abdulla Atatreh, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Tabarak Investment. “We are highly focused on identifying businesses with unique set of challenges and promising potential.

Tabarak Investments is recognised for its contribution to the UAE’s economy.

By helping a broad range of companies become stable and productive, we are proud to contribute to an increasingly vibrant private sector.” Atatreh added, “This award reinforces our market leadership as a private equity firm that dedicates its focus and resources to invest and improve the industries we invest in, and this award is a great testimony to our successful approach and the efforts of our team for the past seven years.” The firm’s portfolio includes major equity stakes in different sectors such as real estate, infrastructure, construction, education, logistics, manufacturing, insurance and services. Most of Tabarak’s entities operate locally while few operate regionally or internationally.  

Bahrain Middle East Bank Best Trade Finance Bank - Bahrain


ahrain Middle East Bank (BMB) scoped the Award for Best Trade Finance Bank in Bahrain at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards. Korhan Alev—Chief Executive Officer, Bahrain Middle East Bank said, “We are delighted to be recognised by the industry and we are overjoyed to receive the Best Trade Finance Bank award in Bahrain. “This comes on the heels of diversifying our trade finance product into the MENA region. Above all it is the recognition of our strength and experience in the product as our core competency over the past eight years.”  

Korhan Alev, Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain Middle East Bank.

BMB offers a range of trade finance solutions for import and export transactions designed to meet the challenging needs of industrial companies in GCC and MENA countries. It undertakes both Islamic and conventional trade finance transactions BMB combines international expertise with a detailed and practical understanding of local markets. Many parties are able to provide detailed advice and support on the business environment, regulatory and legal matters in the GCC; however, this is often of little practical value on the ground. BMB focuses on providing pragmatic, frank and straightforward advice to its clients.


Bank of Beirut Best Retail Bank - Lebanon Best Transaction Bank - Lebanon Best Commercial Bank - Lebanon Fastest Growing Bank - Lebanon


ank of Beirut won an outstanding four awards at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards, where it was declared the Best Retail Bank, the Best Transaction Bank, the Best Commercial Bank and Fastest Growing Bank in Lebanon. Banking Beyond Borders is Bank of Beirut’s slogan, and the bank has indeed pushed itself beyond limits. It spans four continents through its subsidiaries, boasting a presence in Germany, Cyprus, Oman, UK, Australia, Nigeria and Ghana. However, it has not just tested the limits of its geography. In addition to being a universal bank offering commercial banking, asset management, capital markets services and consumer banking, Bank of Beirut was the first bank in Lebanon to open digital branches.



Bank of Beirut also introduced the ‘Hybrid Branch’, which offers a select number of traditional banking services while expanding its digital offerings. Along with the traditional, smart and hybrid branches, it has also introduced satellite branches in remote areas combining both traditional and digital banking. Uniquely, customers can open accounts and apply for loans through video conferencing and the bank’s contact centre. Bank of Beirut was the first Bank in Lebanon to launch asset management services targeting high net-worth customers in both domestic and regional markets. In Lebanon, Bank of Beirut has become the leading provider of business on line and cash management services to commercial corporations. The bank maintains an excellent transparent profile and is compliant with international banking standards and regulations.

Corporate Social responsibility is at the very heart of Bank of Beirut undertakings. Acknowledged for its keenness to be socially responsible towards the community, in 2016 Bank of Beirut established a two-year exclusive key partnership with the Lebanese Red Cross, ‘Banking for Good’. Bank of Beirut is committed to offering an unparalleled customer experience as it continues its mission to go beyond banking borders. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – SALIM G. SFEI The Bank of Beirut’s CEO and Chairman, Salim G. Sfei, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award reflecting his amazing service to Lebanon’s banking sector. Salim G. Sfeir has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Beirut since 1993; after acquiring a minor banking institution with five branches ranked 35th by assets in the Lebanese banking sector. Dr. Sfeir has played an active role in leading Bank of Beirut through both prosperous and challenging times and establishing its current status as a leading bank in Lebanon and the region. Dr. Sfeir launched his banking career in 1971 with Bank of Nova Scotia, Beirut. He later held the position of Deputy General Manager with Banque de la Mediterranée from 1980 to 1983. In 1983, Dr. Sfeir founded Wedge Bank (M.E.) s.a.l., Beirut, and took on the role of General Manager and Board Member until 1989. In 1987, he was appointed General Manager— Chief Executive Officer at Wedge Bank (Switzerland) S.A., and was appointed Vice Chairman in January 1992. Salim G. Sfeir holds both a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics and a Master of Science Degree from the University of Montreal, in addition to a Masters of Business Administration Degree from the University of Detroit. Dr. Sfeir received several honours and awards, including, in April 2014, an Honorary Doctorate in Business and Commercial Science from Holy Spirit University of Kaslik.

Blue should be your colour for the future. Think Innovation. The world is changing. Technology is disrupting all business models like nothing you have seen before. The next industrial revolution is upon us, and it’s CoolTech. Cool as the blue skies. AI, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Innovation, Cloud or the next best thing since sliced bread will either make you win or lose. And it’s not just happening to banks. So, make blue, the colour of innovation, your colour for the future and may the force be with you. Since 1999 Cedar has been assisting clients across the Middle East transform and succeed. In 2018 & beyond, we plan to assist in cool ways.

Instant. Paperless. Personalised. Brilliant. Mashreq Neo. A brilliant, paperless bank that lets you open an account on the move and tailor your rewards to suit your mood.

Download now

Neo Brand ad_21x27_V2.indd 1

7/11/18 5:42 PM

Industry Awards 2018 Special issue