An Advisory Event in Dubai Unlike Any Other

This is not a typical conference

This is not a typical conference


Here we go again.


Another day, another city, another GTB Advisory event.
Well, not just any advisory event but the biggest, longest and first publicly advertised client Advisory event!  Held at the stunning Park Hyatt hotel (think typical opulent Dubai, lush, green grass everywhere, golf course…er hang on I thought you said Dubai, as in sand, desert, no water etc?  Ah but no this really is Dubai, not-a-problem Dubai, yes there was a huge sandstorm two days ago, nobody could see ANYTHING, but not today, clear, beautiful blue sky, gentle sun – what I call a glorious warm summer’s day and the locals call ‘cold’ – sand, not a problem, no water, not a problem, desert, not a problem, where there’s a will there’s a Dubai way, as I sit on the terrace overlooking the creek, thousands of $m+ yachts bobbing gently as seaplanes land and take off for my personal entertainment…well for five minutes anyway I can sit there, no more, before back to check the room etc…) – where was I? got a bit carried away there…yes…held at the stunning Park Hyatt hotel (etc etc) and deliberately timed to precede the EMEA Finance Awards dinner where our great friends Mashreq Bank would that evening sweep the Oscars with three trophies.
But I get ahead of myself.


So over 60 registrations from ALL the key, top UAE and many regional clients and banks, and in each case the right people, the right contacts, the right level, CEOs, COOs, top product managers, etc.  Fab job to the local team for mobilising the region and a tribute to both them and to our excellent standing in the region. Plus a few select corporations, from foodstuffs to ports to manufacturing etc.  And press, the editor of Cash and Trade magazine a speaker, even the Financial Times’s Gulf correspondent put his head in, and Government, David Kaye from the UK mission.  Plus us.


So here’s the thing, and this was my opening address. We meet as equals. We vote.  We discuss. We create output.  This is not a typical conference, with bepedestalled, bigged-up, gracious ‘presenters’ (performers) patronising count-themselves-lucky, lap-it-up, sit-back-and-relax, passive ‘listeners’ (delegates).  Oh no.  You can’t snooze at these events, check your email.  Pay attention!  Here’s another question for you…get out your voting machines. For example, the group decided (50% of them) that ME banks lag significantly in technology!  91% felt some sort of catch up was needed.  So I threw out the pompous ‘top table’, threw out seating ‘the speakers’ (bow now, please) being on a separate table, threw out fanfares for introduction, and instead we had fun making each table choose a name and contribute to the discussion.


What’s in a name?  We had ‘the Middle Eastern Wonders’ was one, modest table.  One was ‘the 7 Ds’ (a blatant attempt to upstage our own (now) Andrew England, who presented ‘the 7 Cs’ but only half hearted else they’d have been the ‘8 Ds’ or even the ‘30,000 Zs’ – that would be real ambition), the ‘Almost Arab Table’ and the ‘All Arab Table’ – enough of this nonsense, I named one table, where I was perched, ‘Phil’s Table’ and one ‘Next to Phil’s Table Table’.   Oh and I also showed them how to be rock stars, that is, how to hold a microphone (and why).


So Andrew up first.  His pedigree shouts and demands respect (running transaction banking at Lloyds, same for CEE at Unicredit, cash and trade at Deutsche, Citi before that, now holding down Senior Advisor on TB with McKinsey at the same time as our own Strategy Director, see last week’s press release) but what REALLY demanded respect and attention was what he said (and how he said it).  His devastatingly simple but insightful breakdown of the Transaction Bank’s head’s to-do list in terms of seven ‘C’s – made brilliantly memorable by Nancy’s ‘seven seas’ map graphics – all backed up by solid data from McKinsey, BCG etc, hyperlinked into the Powerpoint, drew great praise from the audience.


His pedigree shouts and demands respect.
Andrew England: His pedigree shouts and demands respect’


Mashreq Bank have done great things, winning three awards just yesterday, but showing a David-and-Goliath story taking on much bigger banks with their mashreqMATRIX – powered of course by iGTB.  Harshit, their product manager who turns out also to be a University Professor, took us through some learnings including how to buy bread, a well-appreciated turn of phrase ‘not growing is riskier than growing’ and reuse of Michael Porter’s ever-relevant warning about trying to be best in more then one of product leadership, customer intimacy and operational excellence (hang on, has he read our ‘key proposition’ slide?  Harshit, I mean, not Porter….though maybe….).


After lunch we had two iGTB sessions, from Phil and Henry.  Phil deferentially spent most of his time wagging his finger at the bankers and saying ‘you must do this’ and ‘you must do that’.  Reminded me a bit of KS’s spirited approach to negotiation ;-). But he was talking about regulations so got away with it. Henry gave a laconic and I-don’t-know-if-you’ve-ever-heard-of-lit’l’ol’-Oklahoma sort of talk on payments with a southern drawl explaining how backwards we all were in banking payments.


After a provocative talk from the Deputy Chairman of the Kanoo group – which divided the audience – we drew together the themes of the day from the various interactions and votes, courtesy of Hani al Maskati, editor and publisher of Cash and Trade magazine. Some interesting results came up you’ll no doubt read about there.   A veteran of, you’ve guessed it, Citi!  Also transaction banking consultant with the excellently named company Cash Management Matters.


Manish closed, emphasising our strength and depth in the region (first time really we talked about us) then Henry knocked their socks off with Onyx.  And all the time we were tweeting, filming, recording, interacting, overacting (in my case, at least) and we announced already the NEXT ME CLIENT ADVISORY EVENT – WEDNESDAY 24 FEBRUARY, 2016.


My special memories:


– Dinner with Hani, a very interesting man.


– The Financial Times interviewing Manish.


– Meeting the classical trio we sponsored at the Awards dinner.  (Competition time: Irena plays flute.  The girl from Argentina does not play violin.  The girl from Belarus has a bow.  Clara’s Cello comes from the flute player’s home town in Macedonia. Olga speaks better English than the girl on either side.  The flute needs space on its right hand side.  Work out who plays what, from what country, and in what order they are sitting. And yes they really ARE their names. And instruments and home countries.)


Lara, Irene and Olga

Lara, Irene and Olga


– Silversmith course and childrens’ cause. To get people used to the voting machines we had a ‘fastest finger’ competition – who could first guess the correct number of companies in the world?  The winner was a banker, Neena, and her prize is a free four hour course with a silversmith making herself some jewellery. This is something we bid on and won at the charity EMEA Awards dinner, and so all the money will also go to the Save The Children Fund.  So two good things at one go.
A marvelous evening.

A marvelous evening.


Global Transaction Banking – Stability in an Unstable Environment

Customers today are more sophisticated, tech-savvy and complex than ever before. Companies need to create highly innovative and superior IT strategies and business models. To implement these strategies, they require the banking industry to provide financial mobility, flexibility, accessibility, control and visibility.

Moreover as economic pressures continue to affect the banking industry, banks need to gear up for continuous changes in the expanding roles of banks, corporate treasurers and regulatory landscape. In the banking fraternity, global transaction banking is considered as one of the more stable and profit-making business sections. It is important that banks stay tuned to the latest trends to stay a step ahead in the industry. Some of the top trends in the global transaction banking industry include:

  1. The rising risk of digital currency adoption: There is increasing adoption of digital currency like Bitcoin owing to the reducing confidence in banking systems. As peer-to-peer technologies are introduced and open source P2P Money is being used, widespread adoption in corporate banking is highly unlikely. For banks that have a footprint in many markets, it may be necessary in the future to support emerging digital technologies such as digital currencies, to stay a step ahead in global banking.
  2. The convergence of corporate-centric, multi-products and services: Driven by the expanding role of corporate treasurers, there is an increasing expectation from banks to provide integrated solutions through a single point of contact. As the responsibilities of corporate treasurers have extended to a wider range of activities, they expect their banks to support them by providing cutting edge, on-the-go service and products.
  3. The increasing demand for international banking services in emerging markets: As developing countries emerge as key players, banks need to extend their services to meet the cash management needs of their clients. As corporate clients look at increasing their global footprint and FIs seek solutions to support expansion, banks need to upgrade their capabilities. They need to adopt emerging banking technology to provide clients with payments and liquidity solutions, internationally. With the expansion of operations and transactions, what is expected from banks is the need for centralized functionality with easy accessibility, flexibility, control and visibility.
  4. Compliance with the ever changing regulatory landscape:The banking industry today is not only pressurized by a challenging economic environment, they also face the never-ending issue of keeping up with changing regulations. As FIs and corporate clients expand into emerging markets and look for worldwide transaction banking solutions, complying with different regulatory requirements is complicated. In order to comply with many regulations, which are different across geographies, corporate investors are interested in sourcing solutions from global banks and banking technology providers.
  5. The shift of expectations from core banking services to value added services: Cash management is a critical component for companies, and banks that are involved in cash management maintain a long standing relationship with their clients. However, unlike traditional banking, corporate clients today expect their banks to be more than transaction service providers. They expect additional value added services such as accessibility, flexibility and security.

The way ahead in global transaction banking, is for banks to move beyond their core service and product offerings. As corporate clients shift focus of their IT budget from basic compliance of regulations to creating a competitive edge, banks need to adopt emerging banking technologies in order to provide advanced services and products.

With focus on gaining a single platform to support high-speed banking activities, an ideal platform is required to provide an advanced highway to run customer payments services, receivables management, cash management, liquidity management, trade finance and supply chain finance thorough an integrated system.

Know more in this year’s annual conference of Sibos, where iGTB will be showcasing its core comprehensive products, from Corporate Banking Exchange, Customer Onboarding, Payments Services Hub to Liquidity Management.

Enable corporate clients to be…

Financially mobile, flexible and accessible…

With a high-speed banking platform. 


Globalization 3.0 for Customer 3.0 with Web 2.0 – The Future of Transaction Banking

In this era of Globalization 3.0, the next generation of Customer 3.0 dominates the market and companies have to keep pace by using innovative technology designs such as Web 2.0 to thrive in this hyper-connected, competitive environment.

In the banking industry, the role of bankers and corporate treasurers has evolved from being mere transaction providers. To service new age customers who demand real time transacting and access to information, the focus of banks should be on building integrated systems and flexible architectures to provide real-time data and relevant reports.

Create a Customer-Centric, Technology-Oriented Roadmap

With the digital transformation happening in the banking industry, banks need to upgrade their systems to make it more flexible, accessible, transparent and customer-centric. They need to create a roadmap to integrate technology that will revolve around customer behavior and preferred services and products. Some of the milestones that banks should work towards in their transformative journey include:

1 – Real-Time Data Accessibility

Majority of corporate treasurers state that it is critical to have access to real time information in order to optimize their online cash management experience. With the environment becoming highly competitive and the prolific use of devices, there is a frantic need for customers and bankers to access real time information and data. Banks will have to build systems that provide access to this real time information and a well-strategized communication plan as well.

 2 – Building Integrated Systems

As the role of banks and corporate treasurers evolve, integrated and consolidated transactional capabilities have to be improved. With corporate banking becoming more demanding, it will not be sufficient to build corporate portals that provide access to account information and payment transactions. Providing a 360 degree view of financial data and enabling detailed reporting using analytics will become necessary.

3 – Flexible Architectures

As emerging banking technologies are introduced, banks will need to improve their cash management systems based on flexible architectures. This will enable them to easily integrate systems efficiently and add new channels faster in order to offer new services and products especially in this age of social and local mobility in financial transactions.

4 – Use of Analytics

Analytics plays an important role in banking. However, it is fairly underutilized especially in the banking treasury services and corporate sector. Besides using behavioral tracking and risk management for fraud prevention, analytical methods such as trend analysis can also provide insightful direction for banks to better position their products and introduce higher level of services and value-adds.

5 – Relevant Reports

As stated by majority of the corporate treasurers, most of the static reports submitted by banks are not relevant and they prefer exporting data from the bank’s site to generate their own reports. It is high time that banks create dynamic and interactive reporting designs to enable multibank capabilities. The way forward is an advanced platform feature that will allow users to transfer funds and initiate payments within the report.


With these milestones in mind, banks and financial institutions need to increase technology investment and optimally utilize automated systems to provide customized products and services.

As the new generation of customers dominates an evolving market, banks need to differentiate themselves in this competitive market. They should be open to investing in emerging banking technologies which will be supported by an advanced transaction banking platform. Get to know about a high-speed banking platform which provides an advanced highway to run customer payments services, receivables management, cash management, liquidity management, trade finance and supply chain finance in an integrated set, through a single platform.


Find out more in this year’s annual conference of Sibos, where iGTB will be showcasing its core comprehensive products, from Corporate Banking Exchange, Customer Onboarding, Payments Services Hub to Liquidity Management.


Create a Customer-Centric, Technology-Oriented Roadmap and Invest in Technology to be a part of the Future of Transaction Banking