A Strategic Approach to Investment in Cash and Trade
by Murali Subramanian, Executive Vice President, Head of Transaction Banking Group, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Transaction Banking is the largest segment in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank’s (ADCB) Wholesale Banking group, covering cash management, trade finance and client services. Murali Subramanian, Head of Transaction Banking, and his team, support nearly 40,000 corporate customers, which amounts to one third of the UAE economy. ADCB offers these customers both comprehensive bank account services and a range of value-added offerings according to their specific needs, such as electronic payments, automated receivables processing and reconciliation, direct debits etc. as well as a comprehensive trade finance offering. In this article, Murali Subramanian describes some of the investments and innovations that have taken place in recent years, and the impact on ADCB’s customer base.
Supporting UAE as a financial centre
ADCB’s strength in transaction banking may come as a surprise to some organisations that see ADCB predominantly as a lending bank. However, over the past few years, we have invested heavily in our solutions and services to become a leading provider of cash management and increasingly trade finance solutions too across all ADCB’s customer segments, including corporations, financial institutions, non-bank financial institutions and public sector organisations through to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Although UAE is not a large area geographically or in population terms, it is a crucial financial centre for the region as a whole, leading to a concentration of corporate entities that require sophisticated cash management and trade finance solutions to support their business both regionally and globally.
An integrated approach
As a result of its pivotal financial role in the region, a number of global banks have established a business presence in UAE, with a particular emphasis on foreign multinationals doing business in the region. At ADCB, however, we pride ourselves on our ability to support both domestic and foreign institutions of all sizes and industries, whether state-owned, privately owned or publicly listed. In addition to our unrivalled depth of understanding and engagement in the business, regulatory and cultural environment in the region, we offer integrated solutions that enable our customers to achieve complete, accurate and timely visibility over information, whether for cash balances, liquidity and risk positions or the status of financial transactions and processes. For state-owned entities, this requirement is often more challenging given that in some cases, cash may be comingled across entities whereas in others, it may need to be kept separate.
Automation and control
As financial sophistication increases across the region, the demand for automated processes to support greater efficiency and control is increasing, such as electronic signatures on transactions and remote cheque printing to reduce processing and transportation costs. This does not apply only to larger corporate and financial institutions, or government entities: a growing number of mid-cap companies and SMEs are also looking to move away from predominantly manual and spreadsheet-based processes to more structured, automated solutions that allow better visibility and control over balances and transactions.
Taking a global view
The demand for greater automation is becoming more compelling for customers’ business within UAE: they also aim to achieve comparable levels of efficiency, control and transparency globally. In addition to providing integrated services within UAE, our unique partnerships with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Santander, as Padmanabha Mishra describes in detail in this Guide, enables us to support our customers’ local, regional and global requirements in a cohesive way.