Published April 2nd, 2006 - 10:48 GMT

More than 300 regional delegates are gathered at the 2nd Financial Technology Summit and Exhibition which opened today (Sunday, 2nd April 06) and will run until Tuesday 4th April at the JW Marriott Hotel in Dubai. The organisers of the event, Dubai-based World Development Forum (WDF), have received an impressive response from the industry’s Chief Information Officers (CIOs), representing the cream of the region’s Arab banks.

Under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Mohamed Khalfan bin Khirbash, UAE Minister of State for Finance and Industry, the Summit is an exclusive invitation-only event for CIOs of the top 100 Arab Banks, Central Banks and leading IT vendors, from throughout the region. According to organisers, the response from the industry’s CIOs has been remarkable, with more than 75 per cent of the region’s top Arab banks being represented and delegates from Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and the GCC countries.

Khaled Eid, Managing Director, The World Development Forum, stated, “The key to our success is the event format. The FT Summit uses a qualitative approach, to offer a strategic platform for the CIOs and IT vendors to interact one-on-one in a professional and friendly atmosphere.”

“It is wholly appropriate for the complexity and sensitivity of the financial technology sector, which undoubtedly suits the high profile participants,” added Eid.

With today’s modern financial services, essentially being a technology-driven industry, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Khalfan bin Khirbash urged the regional banking industry to invest more in financial technology, to maintain their competitive edge in the global economy. “Currently, the financial industry is moving ahead and new technology is at the forefront of this change,” he said.

Other senior figures addressing the summit this morning were H.E. Jassem Al Shamsi, under secretary, Ministry of Finance, who delivered the keynote address on behalf H.E. Dr. Khirbash; Ayman Abu Saif, managing director of Oracle Middle East; Giancarlo Sassi, Systems Consultant Director, FileNet, SEMEA; Yasser Wardany, Director, STME and Taha Husseini, CIO, National Commercial Bank (NCB), Saudi Arabia.

Amongst the 36 expert speakers lined-up, some of the industry’s leading minds will be featured over the three-day event, such as DR. Stephan Schonwalder, Business Partner of the Business Technology Group at McKinsey & Co. who will make a presentation on ‘Linking IT Strategy with Business Strategy’ and Sami Al-Ali, General Manager of IT at Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait who will argue that with the technological advances over the last 15 years, it is imperative that banks recognise that the CIO today has to be an integral element of any business decision.

Other eminent speakers include, Derek Sham, Chief Technology Officer at SAMBA Financial Group, Dr. Fadi Chehayeb, CIO at National Bank of Kuwait, Andrew Johnson, Senior Technology Architect at Allied Irish Bank and Hosam Al-Yousof, Support Services Division Head at Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank who will deliver a case study on the benefits technology outsourcing.

The FT Summit is sponsored by Oracle, STME and FileNet as Gold Sponsors; Knowledge Partner Cisco Systems; and Silver Sponsors are Novell and Xerox.

About the FT Summit:
The FT Summit is an exclusive event - by invitation only- for the senior IT decision makers of the financial sector in the Middle East. The annual assembly is now in its second year and has been designed for industry leaders to exchange their knowledge, insights, and discuss the financial industry's most pressing issues.

The aim is to offer an opportunity for the financial institutions to meet with the preeminent IT vendors & Solution providers in a professional and friendly atmosphere, to discuss how technology can turn their strategic vision into reality.


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