(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
The College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University recently hosted the '6th CEOs and Islamic Finance Leaders Roundtable' virtually under the theme 'Digital Transformation Enablers and Prospects – Are Qatari Financial Institutions Ready to Embrace FinTech?'.
The speakers include Dr Emad el-Din Shahin, dean, College of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University; Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, board member and CEO, Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority; Dr Syed Nazim Ali, director of the Research Division and director of the Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance (CIEF); Dr Ahmet Faruk Aysan, professor and programme co-ordinator for Islamic Finance and Economy, College of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University; and Dr R Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank.
Seetharaman said the fourth industrial revolution combines advanced technologies in innovative ways, dramatically reshaping the way people live, work, and relate to one another.
“Various industries are getting redefined; the health sector can be reimagined; the workspace is undergoing changes; robotics and artificial intelligence are going to play important roles and the customer will be more empowered in the digital environment. Banks need to manage the change by redefining their business models and to manage various stakeholders such as customers, regulator and shareholders,” he said.
On fintech developments, Seetharaman said:“Financial institutions worldwide are realising that they need to focus on a different sort of innovation, better technology, modernise infrastructure, and improve customer experience. Retail can monetise data using big data analytics. Fintech is one of the developments arising from the fourth industrial revolution. Fintech is the application of technology and innovation to solve the needs of consumers and firms in the financial space – think credit cards, online banking, and blockchain-powered cryptocurrencies.”
He said fintech startups are not only spearheading innovation but are also prompt banks and financial institutions to explore new technologies and invest in digital service delivery channels.
“Fintech is a key enabler for banks in the digital ecosystem. Covid-19 acted as a catalyst for digitisation and the new digital business models will emerge from the same. Fintech enables digital transformation in banks. It has compelled banks to level up their digital transformation and actively seek to implement the latest advancements.
“Roughly 85% of the fintech firms in Mena operate in the payments, transfer, and remittances sectors. Fintech firms in Qatar are focused on improving the customer experience by providing more accessible financial services. According to KPMG, global fintech investment reached a record $98bn in the first half of 2021, up from $87.1bn in the same period in 2020,” said Seetharaman.
Highlighting the role of Doha Bank in fintech, Seetharaman said that since the beginning, Doha Bank has been an active member of Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH) – Qatar Development Bank's (QDB) fintech incubator.
“As one of the leading commercial banks in the State of Qatar, we are constantly innovating and seeking to partner with and help the fintech ecosystem grow. It is a key objective for Doha Bank to support the transformation of the financial ecosystem in Qatar to achieve the vision set by the Qatar Central Bank.
“That is why we value and appreciate the work conducted by QDB and QFTH in providing such important programmes. We have previously built customer-centric propositions leveraging on fintech collaborations. Our digital wallet, which has seen very high customer adoption and engagement, is a result of fintech collaboration. Our face and voice authentication on mobile banking is another successful use case of fintech adoption,” he said.
Seetharaman said Doha Bank has also provided payment gateway solutions to certain fintechs.
“Among our key initiatives is partnering with fintech startups. The QFTH programmes have been very beneficial in providing us access to leading fintechs that are eager to explore the Qatari market.
“We are ecstatic to partner with a few of them and provide innovative technology first solutions to our customers. As a whole, Qatari financial institutions and fintechs collaborations would lead to customer value advantage,” said Seetharaman.
He also lauded for the role the College of Islamic Studies is playing in bringing industry stalwarts and academia on the same platform to engage in an interactive and productive dialogue with an aim to eventually create better synergies and bridge the gap between the theory and practice.
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