July, 2024

4th Regulatory Conference focuses on initiatives and efforts in building secure and transparent banking

Abu Dhabi: The fourth edition of the Regulatory Conference, organised by UAE Banks Federation, the sole representative and unified voice of UAE banks, focused on efforts to enhance compliance with laws, regulations and regulatory guidelines and to meet the highest standards of governance, transparency and risk management in the UAE banking sector. The annual event is part of the Federation’s initiatives to promote a safe and secure financial sector in line with the directives of Central Bank of the UAE, which is working to develop an appropriate framework to maintain the UAE’s leading position as a global financial and banking hub.

The annual Regulatory Conference witnessed the participation of prominent officials and experts from Central Bank of the UAE, member banks of the Federation and the banking and financial sector to discuss key trends and initiatives in the area of enhancing customer confidence, improving financial infrastructure and creating a suitable framework for smooth, progressive and secure banking.

H.E. Fatima Al Jabri, Assistant Governor for Financial Crime, Market Conduct and Consumer Protection at Central Bank of the UAE, presented a comprehensive overview of the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations and the efforts of various entities in the UAE led by Central Bank of the UAE, the National Committee and the Executive Office for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illicit Organisations.

Another key presentation by Mr. Abdulla Al Mheiri, Head of Banking Supervision and Payment Systems Supervision at Central Bank of the UAE, focused on supervisory priorities, compliance, expectations and best practices. Ms. Faiza Al Awadhi, Head of Consumer Protection Department at Central Bank of the UAE, expounded on the role of “Sanadak”, the recently created ombudsman unit for the settlement of banking and insurance disputes to enhance consumer confidence and ensure their rights efficiently, effectively, transparently and impartially following directives of the wise leadership to develop the service system, and in compliance with the provisions of the legislation issued by Central Bank of the UAE. Meanwhile, Ms. Amira Ahmed, Acting Head of Financial Crime Supervision at Central Bank of the UAE reviewed effective strategies for financial crime supervision in the banking and financial sector.

In his opening remarks, Mr.Jamal Saleh, Director General of UBF, said: “The rapid technological developments are changing the financial and banking landscape in an unprecedented way, which drives us to develop innovative solutions that ensure the necessary balance between meeting the growing demands of customers on the one hand and complying with the highest international standards, laws, regulations and regulatory frameworks on the other, which provide a firm and solid foundation for the banking and financial sector, which is a key pillar of economic and social development.”

He added: “With the foresight and proactive approach of Central Bank of the UAE, the UAE is evolving its financial system to keep pace with the latest technological developments by developing ambitious strategies to maintain its leading position as a global financial centre. We at the UBF are keen to enhance the framework and procedures necessary to develop processes and steps to ensure compliance with all laws and regulatory guidelines to improve the effectiveness of the banking and financial system in risk management, enhance transparency and governance, and combat fraud and financial crime.”

The Director General of the UAE Banks Federation said that the UAE takes a multi-pronged approach in developing policies, procedures, processes, systems and controls to address a wide range of risks and safeguard the interests of stakeholders and preserve the financial stability and the integrity of the banking system. “Improving regulatory frameworks to embrace new and emerging technologies, and to cooperate with strategic partners to promote a strong and effective infrastructure for the  banking and financial system,” he said, praising the initiatives of Central Bank of the UAE is leading and implementing initiatives to enhance cooperation, share knowledge and best practices, and stimulate innovation and discipline, which contributes to creating a regulatory framework that supports financial stability, promotes growth, and keeps pace with various developments to provide advanced and secure services to various customer segments.”

Several senior compliance officers from UBF member banks took part in panel discussions focussing on the use of artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning and advanced data analytics in the financial sector, risk assessment and financial crime risks in particular, and the public-private partnership to promote compliance.

Mr. Scott Ramsey, Head of Compliance and Money Laundering Reporting Officer at Mashreq Bank, and Mr. Abdulla Al Marzouqi, Head of Compliance – UAE at Gulf International Bank, presented the highlights of the conference and its results.

On the second day of the conference, panel discussions covered topics such as ESG frameworks and associated risks, current trends in bank fraud, financial crime in the MENA region and an assessment of the general principles and frameworks for dealing with them, two-panel discussions on the future of compliance officers and requirements to keep pace with developments in the industry, cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

The conference was attended by more than 300 bankers representing all members of UAE Banks Federation, including compliance, control, anti-fraud, financial crime, governance and information security, as well as representatives from strategic partners and other relevant bodies in the country.

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