Posted on December 10, 2019

The Euromoney Qatar Conference drew to a close yesterday following a successful two days of high-level discussions. H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani (pictured), Governor of Qatar Central Bank, opened day one of the forum, followed by a keynote address by world renowned economist and author Roger Bootle. On day two, bestselling author and award-winning speaker Brett King shared with the audience his vision for Banking 4:0.

Brett, who is founder and executive chairman of Moven spoke further on this in his key-note address saying: ‘By 2025, more people will have a bank account through their smart phone than have ever visited a banking branch within their lifetime. Banks today need to think technology first, to move their services from physical to digital distribution services, and for banking to be made available in real time. Predictive customer experiences, with banking built into them, will be key for the banking sector to sustain themselves in the future. To be competitive, banks need to redesign banking to fit into this new world that is digital first’.

Today’s discussions included a series of thematic panels focused on the future of banking and the future of investment. Chaired by Sarkis Yoghourtdjian, Former Advisor and Assistant Director for Supervision and Regulation, Federal Reserve Board, the panel discussed the future of traditional banks and how technology can be leveraged to build financial sector competitiveness in a small economy like Qatar.

Dr. Leonie Lethbridge, EGM, Chief Operating Officer, Commercial Bank of Qatar said: “The conference is an excellent opportunity to get industry professionals together and get new ideas injected into the conversation. I believe that banks face both challenges and opportunities, and in light of the world becoming increasingly more digitized, the question remains that how do banks participate in this digital revolution, and how do we as banks deliver maximum value to our customers.” Dr. Lethbridge continued adding: “The answer to this question is by delivering leading edge solutions that meet customers’ needs by using the right technologies. I am proud to say that Commercial Bank is following the right steps towards achieving this goal. We have great products that take clients data and combine it with great technology to provide meaningful life solutions for them.”

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The concluding panel on Day 2, including panellists Ataf Ahmed, Managing Director, Global Head of Asset Management, QInvest, Fahmi Alghussein, Chief Executive Officer, Aventicum MENA and Frontier Markets, Aventicum Capital Management and Sami Boujelben, Chief Adviser and Acting Director, Governance and Disclosure, Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) spoke about the future of investment – what does the industry look like in five years, what are the main trends in the global investment management business, and AI, big data and robo-advisory – how will this affect asset gathering, performance and compliance.

Sami Boujelben, Chief Adviser and Acting Director, Governance and Disclosure, Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) said in answer to a question from the audience on introducing ASG funds to the Middle East and Qatar; ‘It would be great to have an ASG Equity Fund in Qatar, to continue with the good business practices it holds. But first we need to further educate the market and raise awareness on what is ASG. It is important to have this information in the public domain. And then to work with the providers that offer these services to help on building this eco-system. And as a regulator to have the right benchmarks – eventually making it appealing for investors to have access to these funds.’

Ataf Ahmed, Managing Director, Global Head of Asset Management, QInvest concluded the panel saying ‘The blockade has proven to be a good catalyst for Qatar in accelerating the change that needed to happen. Qatar have done a lot to meet their Vision 2030 goals and there is a lot to look forward to in the future’. Victoria Behn, Director, Middle East and Africa, Euromoney Conferences commented: “Euromoney Qatar is an important conference in the financial calendar and the 2019 edition was an extremely successful and interesting one. We’ve focused this year on how the small but resourceful and capital-rich economy is transforming to meet the demands of the 21st century. It’s an exciting time to be here and we look forward to returning in 2020.”

The panels were attended by financial and business leaders in addition to industry practitioners, investors and globally influential commentators at the forefront of digital transformation. Sponsors of this year’s Euromoney Conference include Senior Lead Sponsor, QNB; Lead Sponsors, The Commercial Bank of Qatar and Qatar Islamic Bank, Co- Sponsor Qatar Development Bank; and Exhibitor CFA Society Doha. The conference is also supported by the QFMA.

Mr. Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Development Bank, said: “We are pleased to participate at such significant events as the Euromoney Conference. QDB has been working hard for years on implementing Qatar's economic and industrial diversification strategy, by extending all kinds of possible support to SMEs and budding entrepreneurs. Moving forward, our success will lie in our ability to embrace the fast pace of development in the world of technology, strengthen our connectivity with one another and the markets around us, and truly immerse ourselves in the digital age”.

Euromoney Conferences, the world’s leading organiser of events for capital markets and investment professionals, offers companies and governments a chance to connect with financial institutions. The two-day conference provided a coherent and consistent strategic overview of the opportunities and challenges in Qatar over the coming years, through a series of presentations, interviews and panel discussions.