Country Focus

Page 1 of 5

A Technology Transformation in the Middle East In the second part of this D+H-hosted roundtable, the panel discuss the changing challenges, priorities and role of corporate treasurers in the Middle East, with a particular focus on the role of technology in facilitating corporate treasurers’ objectives.

A Technology Transformation in the Middle East

A Technology Transformation in the Middle East 

In the last edition of TMI (edition 244), we featured an edited transcript of the first part of a roundtable held in Dubai in April 2016, kindly hosted by D+H, chaired by Jags KothandaPani, Citi, which focused on the changing challenges, priorities and role of corporate treasurers in the Middle East (click here to read the article). In the second part of the same roundtable, the panel discuss the role of technology in facilitating corporate treasurers’ objectives in more detail. Edited by Helen Sanders.

  • Adam Boukadida, Deputy Group Treasurer, Etihad Airways
  • James Adams, Group Treasurer, Chalhoub Group
  • Haytham Maayergi, Head of Transaction Banking, ADIB
  • Rahul Jayakar, Head Global Transaction Services – Products & Trade, Mashreq Bank
  • Sherie Morais, Head of Cash Management Sales and Advisory, National Bank of Abu Dhabi
  • Jagadeshwaran KothandaPani (‘Jags’), Head of Cash Management, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citi (chair)

With the conference season approaching, most notably Sibos (September), EuroFinance and the AFP Annual Conference (both in October) this topic is particularly timely. In particular, banks, technology vendors and infrastructure providers are considering areas in which emerging technologies, such as blockchain, and solution offerings from the fintech community, can deliver value to corporate treasurers. This is far less straightforward than glossy brochures and slick presentations would appear. Treasurers are already highly technology-literate in many cases, and are quick to see potential value of tools that solve existing problems or create new opportunities. However, they also recognise that introducing new technology brings costs and risks, which may outweigh the benefit. Furthermore, prioritising these projects can be difficult, particularly with stretched IT departments, and during periods of volatility and change. 

In the Middle East, the focus of treasury technology projects, whether supported by banks and/ or vendors, is less on smaller, tactical tools than implementing stable, robust platforms that support efficient, integrated cash and treasury processes, provide greater security and control, and offer transparency and richness of data to facilitate decision-making and automation. 

Jags KothandaPani, Citi

One of the points we touched on in the first part of this discussion was treasury technology. While some companies are investing in treasury management systems (TMS), we still receive manual instructions. In what areas do you still see technology playing a role and improving efficiency and automation?

Adam BoukadidaAdam Boukadida, Etihad Airways

We aim to automate our end-to-end treasury lifecycle as far as possible, from financial market execution that’s done electronically through to transaction management and confirmations and payment via SWIFT. From an operational point of view therefore, we are only managing exceptions. Some countries in which we operate are not SWIFT- enabled, so we have to use manual payment methods, but we try and avoid this wherever possible. We have also integrated our treasury management system (TMS) with our ERP, and last year implemented an automated supply chain finance programme with both a regional and international bank. So for us, technology is an enabler, and helps with controls and segregation of duties. In addition to reducing operational risk, automation enables us to free up people to plan and deliver on our 36-month treasury roadmap.

James Adams, Chalhoub Group

We use a TMS integrated with an online dealing platform; we are also looking to enhance integration with our ERP. One area of focus from a technology and process standpoint is payments. As each company in our Group grew in a decentralised way, payment systems had become quite fragmented.  We are therefore considering an electronic payments process, potentially via a central shared service centre. This level of change takes time though, particularly in a family-owned business.

Jags KothandaPani

I understand you’ve also implemented an in-house bank: how have you managed the organisational impact, people change management etc.?

Next Page   2 3 4 5 

Save PDFs of your favorite articles, authors and companies. Bookmark this article, or add to a list of your favorites within mytmi.

Discover the benefits of myTMI

 Download this article for free