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Are the banks ready for tomorrow?

All the banks around the world are trying to evolve with the ever evolving trends of the banking sector. Middle Eastern banks are racing to catch up the technology updates shaping the way they operate and serve their customers. And one such financial institute Deloitte, recently launched their reports which has the strategies and key techs used in the banking sector by those in the top charts to the ones that will form the bridge tomorrow and also the ones over the horizon.

The report, ‘The evolving trends’ suggests that the middle eastern financial institutions were actually evolving at am impressive pace changing customer expectations and highly competing with the incumbent banks as well as the new entrants with evolving rapport and advancing tech pre Covid.  “In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 upended those conventions. As the threat and uncertainty from COVID-19 will remain for the foreseeable future, banks have no choice but to remain hyper vigilant and rewrite their business continuity playbooks as circumstances change. While it is reassuring to see some aggressive fiscal and monetary policy responses around the world already, clarity on how these actions will stabilize markets and accelerate the path to normalcy is slowly emerging, and in some cases yet to emerge”, said Khaled Hilmi, Consulting Partner, ME Financial Services industry leader, Deloitte Middle East.

Adopting the latest technologies like Cloud platforms, artificial intelligence, cognitive techs can helps the financial industries move faster to the trend of digitization. Meeting customer expectations to remain competitive in today’s challenging business environment is the ultimate goal. In order to achieve that there are certain keys which might unlock a better future for the finance industries.

To star with cloud computing, it is a cloud based service with which the banks are able to reduce the data storage costs by saving on capital expenditure ( CAPEX ) and the operating index (OPEX ), while assuring that the consumer data is secure. Cloud is an essential tool of today’s service delivery model, which is giving fresh business opportunities and new access points of delivery. Next is artificial intelligence ( AI ) and it is a part of every business environment and being reinventing the entire ecosystem of the banking sector. AI supports decision-making, enhances the customer experience, and improves operational efficiency, this is now absolutely needed more than ever due to data influx from a wide range of source. Fintech companies have defined the direction, shape and pace of change across almost every banking subsector. Customers now expect seamless digital onboarding, rapid loan approvals, and free person-to-person payments, all innovations that FinTech made popular. Next is block chain technology and it being associated distributed ledgers were devised as a simple yet smart solution to keep track of the Bitcoin crypto currency in circulation. The solution leveraged a ‘distributed ledger’ architecture under which all users who participated as ‘nodes’ in the network had a copy of the entire ledger. Banks need to actively consider the immediate needs of their customers and simultaneously the multiple near, short and medium-term operational, financial, and regulatory risk and compliance implications. Banks that have embraced today’s technologies may be better placed to weather this crisis and facilitate a quick return to recovery. Now more than ever, the accelerated adoption of these technologies can enable the industry to recover and thrive from the impact of COVID-19,” concludes Khaled Hilmi.

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Banking

Goldman banker hired by the Citi bank

Citigroup has hired Luisa Leyenaar-Huntingford from Goldman Sachs. This new hire is to co-head its global infrastructure franchise. Because, it seeks to win more business from cash-rich investment firms focusing on infrastructure deals. Leyenaar-Huntingford will be based in London. Responsibility will be shared with Todd Guenther in New York.

The pair will work closely with industry teams covering healthcare, industrials, natural resources and clean energy transition (NRCET), technology and communications. Leyenaar-Huntingford helped in the establishment of the Goldman’s infrastructure franchise in her time at the Wall Street bank. They will team up with Citi’s Iberia co-head of banking, capital markets and advisory (BCMA) Jorge Ramos will continue to be a senior member of the global infrastructure franchise.

The infrastructure sector is poised for further growth, according to the memo. The memo was released by Citi’s global co-heads of the alternative assets group Anthony Diamandakis and John Eydenberg, and its EMEA head of BCMA Nacho Gutierrez-Orrantia. There was significant private investment demand across the globe to deal with environmental, energy, transportation, waste, communication, digital and other social needs.

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Banking

Banks make slow progress on UK gender pay

Major banks in Britain made a slight dent in their gender pay gaps. Several insurers went backwards. Companies in Britain with more than 250 employees have been required to publish the difference between the pay and bonuses of their male and female employees. They got a reprieve due to the pandemic, last year. The financial services sector has shown one of the largest genders pay gaps in Britain. The lack of women in senior jobs is the main reason.

Pay gap data from 21 major financial institutions showed a narrowing in their average mean gender pay gap. This is just 0.4 percentage points. Banks alone had a pay gap which narrowed by one percentage point. Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute said that the UK’s financial services industry has often been singled out. It really does have to get its house in order. Goldman Sachs had the widest gender pay gap in the year to April 2020. Goldman posted a gender pay gap of 51.8%. The bank told the staffs that narrowing the gap further was a critical priority. A spokesperson for banking lobby group UK Finance said, that there is clearly more still to be done.

FTSE 100 insurers Prudential, Legal & General and M&G reported a widening in their pay gaps. Prudential’s UK gender pay gap widened to 45.2%. M&G also reported a widening in its pay gap in the most recent year to 30.5%. The M&G spokesperson said that they are determined to narrow their gender pay gap and will do this by achieving better representation of women in all roles at all levels of our organization. Legal & General’s mean gender pay gap widened to 30.8%.

The insurer said that the legal & general is tackling the underlying causes of its pay gap. This is by creating a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive culture through sustained, long-term action. Admiral had a gender pay gap last year of 12.8%. The 21 firms surveyed were Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Standard Chartered, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs International, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, PGMS (a Phoenix unit), abrdn, Schroder Investment Management, St James’s Place, Legal & General, Prudential, Admiral Group, Aviva and M&G.

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Banking

BOJ to lower inflation target-Japan’s finance minister

Japan’s outgoing finance minister, Taro Aso, said that he had proposed lowering the central bank’s 2% inflation target. This is when the prices took a hit from plunging oil prices. He was the finance minister for nearly nine years. The slump in oil price was among the main reasons the government could not officially declare an end to deflation. In his final news conference as finance minister, Aso said that he proposed to Governor Kuroda that, with oil prices falling this much, it would be hard to achieve 2% inflation. Hence, the target must be lowered at some point. He stated this by referring to Bank of Japan (BOJ) chief Haruhiko Kuroda.

Aso also said that the governor said he would do his best to achieve the target. This is stated by adding that policymakers must scrutinise at some point, why the BOJ’s inflation target of 2% has not been met. The remarks highlight how the government and lawmakers distanced themselves from the BOJ’s target years ago, despite central bank reassurances that achieving the target was possible by maintaining or increasing stimulus.

Aso was deeply involved in negotiations with the BOJ. After Kuroda took over as governor, he deployed a massive asset-buying program. This is for pulling Japan out of deflation. Aso supported the BOJ’s stimulus efforts. He is a member of the cabinet. And also, had raised many doubts that monetary policy alone can reflate the economy out of the doldrums. New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to form a cabinet.

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