Region's Banking and Finance Market Experiences Rapid Growth

MEFX to showcase latest technology solutions and services in the industry

The curtain is all set to rise on the first Middle East International Banking, Financial Technology and Services Exhibition and Conference (MEFX), an event that promises to reinforce Dubai's position as a global financial hub.

Presented by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and organised by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), MEFX will be held from 1 - 3 June, 2008 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The event will bring together professionals from financial technology companies and financial service providers in a wide range of sectors including banking and brokerage, Islamic finance, wealth management, asset management and capital markets.

Over 70 participating companies from 20 countries will showcase advancements in products, technologies and services in the financial industry.

Several international companies are participating in the exhibition to tap into the rapid expansion of the banking and finance sector in the region. The UAE banking sector is the largest in the GCC and its annual growth rate of 35 per cent exceeds the country's GDP growth rate.

Leading companies like Orion Tradesoft (UAE), Temenos (Switzerland), NCR Corporation (US), Wincor Nixdorf (Germany) and Olivetti (Italy) will showcase their latest solutions for financial markets, customer facing technologies and enterprise applications, making MEFX an invaluable sourcing and procurement platform for the industry.

Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of DWTC, said: "As the regional financial industry continues its unprecedented growth, we are delighted to create an annual fixture in the event calendar to facilitate the networking of the region's market leaders and emerging players with global suppliers in financial technologies and services. MEFX will evolve to be a most productive platform to accelerate the product and knowledge exchange within the regional financial community to ensure it keeps abreast of the dynamic momentum of development."

Abdulla Al Awar, Managing Director of DIFC Authority said: "The launch of MEFX comes at a time when the regional financial market is entering a new phase of development. Overall economic growth has enhanced the financial industry and markets within the region have become vital for global financial institutions seeking to grow. MEFX provides a great opportunity for industry professionals to share ideas and best practices that will foster further growth in the industry. DIFC is supporting MEFX as part of its objective of promoting financial business events that showcase new products, technologies and initiatives that can drive industry development."

IT security is among the sectors that will be riding on the back of increased spending by financial companies. Spending in IT security in the GCC has increased 38 per cent this year. Irisguard, a leading manufacturer of accurate Iris Recognition camera systems, will be showcasing turnkey iris biometric identification management systems, offering banks solutions for reducing the risk of fraud, identity theft and unauthorized access by protecting confidentiality and integrity.

Usability solutions will be one of the other key technologies showcased at MEFX. Human Factors International, a global leader in software usability, will showcase its Usability Central - Best Practice solution at the event. The solution provides usability standards, methods, knowledge and tools for web design and software products that can be customised to suit different business purposes and technical environments. Human Factors International will present a case study with RAKBANK at the Technology Forum on 3 June.

Another specialised session will focus on the Islamic Finance market, which is growing at a phenomenal rate of 20 per cent annually. The session will feature Mr. Naveed Ahmad, Head of Investments, Dubai Islamic Bank, who will discuss Wealth Management Solutions and Shari'ah compliant products for high-net-worth individuals. Other thought leaders who will speak at the event include Mr. Ghazanfar Naqvi, Director, Islamic Products, Saadiq, UAE; Ms. Susan Duncan, Financial Leader, IBM; and Professor Stephan Szymanski from the Cass Business School, London.

The MEFX Technology Forum will spearhead the communication and exchange of news and dynamic solutions for the industry. Headlined by IBM, the Forum will see innovative presentations from industry leaders including SunGard Ambit, Sybase 365 and Infrasoft Technologies. The complimentary sessions will provide visitors with an invaluable opportunity to interact with leading suppliers of financial technology

Mr. Hesham Amiri, Director of Sales, Dubai Outsource Zone, said: "Being a key industry event, MEFX will provide the ideal forum for us to meet decision makers and top-level executives from finance institutions. As the world's first dedicated free zone for outsourcing, DOZ offers a combination of cost-effective options, world-class infrastructure, political stability, a very pro-business environment and quality talent, which make it an ideal outsourcing destination for banking and financial firms across the region."

"Our participation at MEFX 2008 indicates the importance of the banking industry for Etisalat," commented Amir Rashid, Director -Product Marketing, Enterprise Solutions, Etisalat. "Etisalat has over the years formed strong ties with the banking sector by enhancing its value proposition to the industry through offering a portfolio of Business Mobility, Managed ICT, Business connectivity and eBusiness solutions," he added.

MEFX will also bring together high-profile and influential professionals in the finance and banking industry. These hosted delegates will come from Bahrain, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and the UAE, representing leading banks including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank; Arab Bank plc; Banque Saudi Fransi; Burgan Bank; Cairo Amman Bank; Central Bank of Oman; Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA; Doha Bank; Dubai Islamic Bank; Lloyds TSB; Qatar Islamic Bank; Saudi British Bank; The Saudi Investment Bank.

MEFX is sponsored by Dubai Outsource Zone, Etisalat, IBM, EastNets, Emcredit, CNBC Arabia, The Monarch Dubai, Emirates Business 24/7 and Emirates Airlines.

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