At this year’s BAFT MENA Bank to Bank Forum, we will rebuild connections as we return in-person to Dubai, UAE on May 24 – 25, 2022. A virtual offering is available for those who cannot join us in-person. The forum is a unique opportunity to discuss pressing industry issues with a regional focus, share insights, and network with senior transaction banking, trade and payments executives, subject matter experts, and other industry leaders within the wider Middle East and North Africa region.
During the two-day MENA Bank to Bank Forum, the program will feature emerging issues within the transaction banking, trade and payments businesses. A broad range of speakers will cover ongoing industry topics from ESG, digitization, and the evolution of fintechs within the region.
We know how much you have missed meeting in-person – we have carved out dedicated times for bilateral meetings and networking as part of the program to allow you to reconnect. Now is the time to rebuild connections with your colleagues, clients and prospects in the transaction banking industry. And there is no better place regionally than BAFT’s MENA Bank to Bank Forum!
All Program Session Times are in Gulf Standard Time (GST)
H.E. Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair
Chairman, Mashreq Bank
Chairman, UAE Banks Federation
During this fireside chat Ahmed Abdelaal, Mashreq Group CEO, discusses the future role the UAE will continue to play as an international economic hub, its contributions to the global drive to reach net-zero, and sustainability in the region more broadly. This session will also cover the development of industries of the future and the major strategic and economic initiatives the UAE is planning.
Joel Van Dusen
Group Head of Corporate and Investment Banking
President & CEO
This session will take a deeper dive into aspects affecting trade finance in Egypt. Some of the topics covered will include regulatory changes, shifts in trade corridors in light of the geopolitical environment, FX rates, impact of GSS financial support on financial markets, inflationary pressures driven by commodity prices and impact of IMF program on the reforms progress in Egypt.
Partner & Leader, Payments and Financial Services Digital
Executive Director & Senior Country Officer, Egypt and North Africa
Hicham El Khaoudy
Managing Director & Head of Global Transaction Banking, International
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)
Executive Director & Economist MENA, Financial Markets
Standard Chartered Bank
The Middle East is witnessing the gradual rise of fintech’s with the launch of digital and neo banks across the region ready to challenge traditional banks. Is the Middle East banking industry prepared to face disruption or remain competitive by collaborating with fintechs? The learnings from the fintech evolution in the West provide a proven path in embracing disruption. In this session, we speak to experts from both traditional banks and fintechs on their journey from competition to collaboration and the future that awaits the banking industry.
Executive Director & Country Head, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, SWIFT
Vice Chair, ICC UAE Banking Commission
Andrew C. Haskell
Director & Product Line Manager, Immediate Payments and Disbursements Products
Ramana Kumar A
Managing Director & Global Head of Financial Institutions and Non-Bank PSPs
12:30 - 14:00 GST
12:30 - 18:00 GST
Private meeting rooms are available to conduct your bilateral meetings.
12:50 - 14:00 GST
12:50 – 13:20 GST
Workshop 1: Digitization and Data Standards in Trade – The Time is Now
Digitization has the ability to bring many new opportunities to trade finance – the removal or better management of paper documents, greater standardization of data, simplification of transaction costs and easier to coordinate compliance risk. As the pandemic accentuated the friction with manual trade processes new technologies and datasets have been identified as a foundational basis for improving and creating a digital trade ecosystem. At the ‘Digitizing Trade’ workshop, industry experts will discuss the obstacles banks face and how to overcome them.
Trade Compliance Regional Subject Matter Expert
S&P Global Market Intelligence
Director, Operations and Trade
13:30 – 14:00 GST
Workshop 2: How Can a Modern Commercial Finance Software Boost Your Ops Productivity?
With the commercial/trade finance markets becoming more mature in many regions – an ever tighter regulations, fraud technics using old tricks and new technology – the back office users tend to suffer additional process burden. Let’s review how modern commercial/trade finance software packages can help mitigate those necessary constraints to ensure and boost your operational efficiency.
Chief Financial Officer
Our esteemed panel of transaction banking leaders share their perspectives on the current state of the industry in the MENA region – what we learned during the past few years, where we are headed, and the challenges and opportunities facing transaction banking in the region and elsewhere.
Head, Financial Institutions
Motasim Hasan Iqbal
Managing Director, Transaction Banking, UAE
Standard Chartered Bank
Senior Vice President & General Manager for Middle East, Turkey and Africa
Managing Director & Head of Trade Finance Product Innovation
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)
As the world appeared to have emerged from the grasp of the COVID-19 pandemic, the glimmer of hope was rather short lived from what followed on during first quarter of 2022. The surge in demand post pandemic coupled with supply chain disruption sent prices of goods soaring and in turn inflation at record high levels. This has been further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine resulting in oil & gas prices rising to record levels. The year is certainly proving to be challenging for policy makers who are seeking to create the fine balance between inflation and growth in a perfect storm. The much anticipated Interest rate hikes have set the tone but how much of this will impact future growth is to be seen. In this session, we will hear from some of the renowned economists of the region on the impact of the global crisis on Middle East markets and its Sovereigns. Are higher oil prices a boon or bane for the region and where is the inflection point?
Managing Director & Global Head of Market Insights & Strategy
First Abu Dhabi Bank
Chief Economist & Head of Research
Director & Head of Emerging Markets Research, EMEA
The global economy faced novel challenges in the past turbulent couple years, pressing organizations as well as banks to rethink their business models. For Saudi Arabia, the government launched support programs to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on individuals and local businesses. In parallel, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) played a fundamental role, providing guarantees for banks for loan deferrals with other mitigation measures. Banks facilitated the government and SAMA’s financial support mechanisms, while at the same time weathering their own storms though business continuity management systems. This session will focus on the “Saudi Banking Perspectives” proven on the current industry performance and its resilience along with 4 rising pillars impacting directly and indirectly the Banking sector: Growing ESG Commitment, Regulatory and compliance, Digital banking, and the opportunities from growing infrastructure (Pursuit of Vision 2030).
Managing Director & Regional Head of Correspondent Banking, Africa and Middle East
Standard Chartered Bank
Harith A. Abussaud
Executive Director, MENAP Rates Trading
Standard Chartered Bank
General Manager, Global Trade and Receivables Finance
Turkey is at the forefront for new supply chains hubs, yet the country is struggling with an exchange rate crisis and a recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Geopolitically, we have recently witnessed some realignment with cash-rich gulf states. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has threatened the supply chain globally and has highlighted vulnerabilities and opportunities elsewhere. In this session, we hear from industry experts about the role of Turkey in trade finance, opportunities in the digital space, the depreciated exchange rate, and even touch upon compliance.
Director, Structured and Trade Finance Sales Head, Middle East
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Managing Director & Global Head of Core Trade
Fatma Nilgün Emrem
Turkish Business Council, Dubai and Northern Emirates
Senior Vice President & Regional Head, Group Financial Institutions
Habib Bank AG Zurich
Sustainability linked businesses have seen impressive growth in the MENA region driven primarily by sovereign entities and financial institutions. Albeit, much of this has been in the sphere of capital markets and Corporate Finance. However, sustainability in transaction banking continues to remain a rather nebulous and untapped territory owing to its own complexities. In this session, we talk to experts on some of the opportunities and challenges in adopting sustainability principles in transaction banking and what lies ahead for us. We also hear from a budding start-up on how new digital business models in Transaction banking as well as fintechs can integrate and address the areas of ESG to contribute to a sustainable future.
Managing Director & Head of Banks and Transaction Services
Swaroop N L N
Director, Alternate Distribution and Sustainable Trade Finance
CEO & Co-Founder
Portfolio Manager, Middle East and Africa
IFC (International Finance Corporation)
13:45 - 18:00 GST
Private meeting rooms are available to conduct your bilateral meetings.
His Excellency, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mashreq. Previously, His Excellency was the CEO of Mashreq for nearly 30 years and under his leadership, Mashreq has grown from a small local bank to a leading customer centric financial institution in the region known for its innovative products and services. Furthermore, His Excellency is also a member of the Board of Directors of Abdullah Al Ghurair Group of Companies, one of the biggest and most successful business groups in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East, with operations spanning more than 20 countries and business roots stretching back half a century. His Excellency holds an Honors’ Degree in Industrial Engineering from the California Polytechnic State University.
Soha Ali joined J.P. Morgan Chase Bank in 2010 as Senior Country Representative for Egypt Office of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A. She is responsible for managing J.P.Morgan on the ground key relationships across Financial Institutions, Government entities and Corporations, and directly involved in developing the business strategy, identifying key opportunities and target names and leading the regional sales and client service teams in the region. She works closely with country & credit risk management, investment banking, markets, global corporate banking and product teams to coordinate and facilitate their business in Egypt.
Tod Burwell is the President and Chief Executive Officer of BAFT. Prior to being promoted to CEO, he served as the Senior Vice President of Trade Products with oversight of all trade-related initiatives including the Global Trade Industry Council, Trade Committees, and other strategic initiatives of the organization. Mr. Burwell has nearly 30 years of trade, supply chain and cash management experience as a banking practitioner, as well as serving as a consultant to global corporations and suppliers of strategically integrated trade solutions. Prior to joining BAFT, Mr. Burwell was a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Chase and held senior global management roles responsible for trade operations, launching the logistics business and managing global product sales for trade finance and logistics management.
Suruj Dutta is EY MENA Lead Partner for the Financial Services – Digital Transformation. Launched new digital challengers by Incubated new digital transaction bank for largest CIB bank in Africa, to provide cross-border and high-value payments services for corporate treasury clients. Launched an ecosystem business enabling a major South African bank to manage cash-flows for small merchants, and provide transactional data and services to global FMCG clients. Remediated resilience issues impacting $200M cross-border payments for the largest bank in Africa using AI Ops. Transformed corporate client onboarding journey at global bank, speeding up onboarding by 60%, reduced costs by 23%, and increased mandate renewals from priority clients by 15%.
Hicham El Khaoudy is the Head of MEA Global Transaction Banking (GTB) at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). Hicham has 25 years of experience and has held various banking & finance roles in Sales, Channels & Product Management. Prior to joining FAB, Hicham was the Head of GTB Sales at ADIB and before that founded the Fintech startup Mitigram, currently used by many large Corporate and banks in the world. Earlier, Hicham was Global Head of GTB at CBQ, and prior to that worked at Standard Chartered Bank, as Regional Head of Strategic clients in MEA out of Dubai, before taking the role of Global Head of Mobile Money and GTB Innovation out of Singapore. Before banking, Hicham worked as Consultant for many Consulting and treasury software houses such as Kyriba (France), Trema/Wallstreet (Sweden) and helped many treasury departments to reengineer processes and roll out new platforms and solutions, to optimize their liquidity and risk exposure management systems.
Huny Garg is the Country Head for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at SWIFT. Huny has over 23 years of corporate and transaction banking experience working for organizations like SWIFT, Standard Chartered, ABN AMRO, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank in transaction banking, corporate and commercial banking roles across in Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
Girish Hanumegowda is the Asia based Trade Compliance Subject Matter Expert for Maritime & Trade at S&P Global Market Intelligence, fromerly IHS Markit, based out of the Singapore office. His role is to provide solutions to customers by helping them address the challenges faced with respect to Trade Finance and to help them achieve transparency through incorporating technological solutions. He has around ten years of experience in the banking sector across varied roles of Relationship Management, Corporate Lending, Trade Finance, Regulatory Compliance and Anti Money Laundering. Previously, he was leading the Corporate Banking Compliance team at ICICI Bank Limited, Singapore. He holds a degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering and MBA in Finance & Banking.
Andrew Haskell is responsible for BNY Mellon’s strategy and development of USD Immediate Payment solutions including Real-Time Payments and Tokenized Payments® now available with Zelle®. Before Immediate Payments, Andrew managed a wide range of payables and receivables products including: Wire Transfer, Account Reconciliation, Positive Pay, Online Cash Management Portal and Electronic Bill Presentment & Payment. Andrew is a Certified Treasury Professional® and holds a Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Finance and Bachelor of Business Administration, all from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.
Khadim has extensive experience in leadership positions in international banking across Europe, Middle East, Africa with Citigroup & in Habib Metropolitan Bank (HMB). He is now using his expertise to create solutions that address the key ‘pain points’ in the banking industry specifically in the Trade Business. For 15 years with HMB - a subsidiary of Habib Bank AG Zurich. HMB is the biggest Trade Bank in Pakistan and has won International recognition and awards in Trade Product Business for SME Segment. Khadim has played a key role in the banks transformation where, as a Senior Executive, he: Led the Digital Strategy for the bank, upgraded the operating structure, created an effective enterprise-wide risk management infrastructure & developed and established the compliance system. Prior to HMB, Khadim was with Citigroup for 25 years. Khadim has held country and regional operations and technology head positions in various countries and has a proven track record and expertise in: Transforming the work culture and leading teams in diverse cultures to execute challenging business strategies. Establishing and Managing Trade, Cash and Custodial Services Business. Creating products and delivery systems that are “market and customer driven” cost-effectively and with robust controls
Ramana Kumar is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Magnati, which is the payments subsidiary of First Abu Dhabi Bank. Previously, he was EVP & Head of Payments and Digital Banking for First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). Under Magnati, He is responsible for building lifecycle solutions for Corporates encompassing Merchant acquiring, Government solutions, Prepaid solutions built on futuristic platform supported by data and artificial intelligence. He is responsible for building future proof payments company driven around the vision of digital first and works with fintech’s and tech companies providing market leading solutions to become the payment platform of choice for the customers. Previously, he was Head of Global Transaction Banking (GTB) for NBAD and was instrumental in building Middle East regional proposition for the Bank including products and channels across cash, trade and cards. Ramana has special interests around innovation/ fintech/ data and artificial intelligence / blockchain and the impact on the payments space. He was instrumental in many “first in the market” initiatives across payments driving data driven business growth, digital payments, cashless initiatives, and financial inclusion. He has participated in many forums focusing on future of payments, financial inclusion, digital wallets, KYC and Identity, fintech / blockchain.
Sabry Salman is Global Head FI & Non Bank PSPs, which includes Correspondent Banks, Barclays Affiliates, FMI Broker dealers, FinTech and MSBs. He is a member of the International Corporate Bank Management Forum. Sabry has 24 years of experience in global corporate banking, having lived and worked in Asia and the UK. Prior to his current role, he was Global Head of Banks Coverage and Head of UK MNC subsidiary banking for 6 years, covering client markets in the Americas, UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Since joining Barclays in 2004, he has held many leadership roles spanning industry sectors and geographies including Africa for 7 years. Prior to Barclays he worked at Standard Chartered and RBS Group.
Carla Slim is an economist at Standard Chartered Bank covering the Middle East based in Dubai. She provides on-the-ground analysis of macroeconomic and financial-market developments in the region to external and internal stakeholders of the Bank, including clients and senior management. Ms. Slim is a regular presenter at industry conferences and in the media.
Laurent is Managing Director of CODIX Group, the international provider, editor and integrator of the iMX solution. The iMX Commercial Finance software supports all aspects of Corporate/Commercial Finance, including PO Finance, Factoring (international/two-way, reverse/NAFIN, classical, etc.), Invoice Discounting, Asset-Based Lending, and Supply Chain/Inventory Finance and Leasing, the solution also embeds advanced Debt Collection capabilities. With a staff of 800+ business and technical experts located in 16 countries, CODIX delivers its iMX solution worldwide to clients of various sizes from SMEs to international groups, always with comprehensive implementation services, such as system customization, on-site training and assistance, expert-level business recommendations and project management. Laurent’s entire career has been in IT for the financial/SCF industry, first as the Business/Systems analyst, then as Projects & Products Manager, leading to various Management roles, and Codix Group COO since 2010.
Harith is based in Dubai and has been with the bank since August 2010, and before that he worked for 5 years with SAMBA Financial Group in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Harith joined the bank initially as part of the SCB CAPITAL Saudi Arabia office, but shortly after moved to Dubai to be part of the MENA Trading team. Harith manages risk on behalf of the bank in the MENAP rates & FX space catering to sales and interbank clients, in addition to prompting the bank and its capabilities externally in collaboration with sales and predominately focusing on the Saudi business. Harith holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from King Fahad University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM). Harith Speaks Arabic and English fluently.
Rana Beydoun is Head of Financial Institutions at BLOM Bank. She is responsible for relationships and business development activities with financial institutions globally. She is also member of the Treasury & Investment Committee at the Bank, ALCO, and Sustainability. Her career spans 20 years in banking, prior to which she was lecturer at the American University of Beirut.
Chavan Bhogaita currently works as Managing Director & Head of Market Insights and Strategy at First Abu Dhabi Bank. Earlier, he worked with the Alternative Investments and Fixed Income teams within the bank’s Global Markets Division. He joined NBAD in 2009, specialising in GCC credit markets (bonds and sukuk) across all sectors. He has over 25 years of professional experience in banking and finance, of which 20 years have been in credit research and analysis. His previous roles include Head of Middle East Credit Research at HSBC (Dubai), Head of Credit Research at Commerzbank (London), and senior credit analyst at Bear Stearns (London), and 6 years prior to his time in financial markets were spent in the areas of corporate recovery & insolvency, audit, and corporate finance in the UK.
Natasha Condon is the Global Head of Core Trade within Wholesale Payments at JPMorgan Chase. She has 15+ years of experience across trade finance and working capital solutions for both corporate and financial institutions. She has extensive experience with providing strategic working capital advisory, risk mitigation, sales growth, and digital efficiencies for the top multinationals in the world. Natasha comes to the firm from Citi, where she was the Global Trade Sales Head. While there, she led five regional teams around the world and provided personal leadership on large strategic deals.
Fatma Nilgün Emrem has a career history across multi disciplines and sectors from Banking, Textiles and Construction, which provided a natural appreciation of different sectors and organizational structures and managing skills to transfer to the consulting field. Her experience in markets extend from Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, United Kingdom, Baltic Region, Angola and Ethiopia. In 2010, established, Tamimi Consulting with Tarik Tamimi to extend her knowledge and experience to those investors looking for opportunities in the GCC region. Since its inception, Tamimi Consulting has successfully incorporated more than 600 companies in UAE and continue to be the leading company among Turkish Investors especially. Tamimi Consulting has been awarded 6 years in a row by DMCC Authority as the Top Performing Consulting Company in the UAE and awarded as the best International Service Provider in 2020. She is a committee member of Africa- Middle East-Gulf Committee in the World, Turkish Business Councils (DTIK) under Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) of Turkey.
Khatija Haque joined Emirates NBD in 2011 as one of the founding members of the research team, helping to build the bank’s macroeconomic coverage on the GCC and wider MENA region over the last decade. She was appointed chief economist and head of research in 2020. Khatija has more than 20 years’ experience as an emerging markets economist spanning three continents. Before moving to Dubai in 2008, Khatija was a vice president at Deutsche Bank covering several countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She is a frequent guest on local radio and television and is often quoted in both local and international press.
Faisal Hussain is responsible for the Correspondent Banking business for Standard Chartered for the Africa & Middle East region based in Dubai. Faisal heads a regional team covering over 25 countries. Faisal is a member of the MENA BAFT Council and has been closely involved in rolling out Standard Chartered’s Correspondent Banking Academy initiative in the region aimed at “de-risking through education”. Faisal has been involved in several thought leadership and product innovation initiatives with the objective of enhancing business collaboration for Standard Chartered with the region’s financial institutions. Faisal joined Standard Chartered in 2007 from Citibank. Faisal holds an MBA degree and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Motasim Iqbal is the Managing Director & Head of Transaction Banking, UAE for Standard Chartered Bank since January 2017. In this role he is responsible for the Bank’s Cash Management, Trade Finance and Securities Services Business for the UAE. Before taking on his current role Motasim was the Regional Head for Transaction Banking in MENA and prior to that during 2012-15 he was the Head of Transaction Banking for the Bank in Singapore. During his stint in Singapore he worked very closely with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on positioning Singapore as a premier Renminbi clearing centre outside China.v Motasim joined the Wholesale Banking business at Standard Chartered in October 1997 and was appointed the Head of Transaction Banking for Pakistan in 2003. In 2006, he moved to Dubai to head the Financial Institutions segment within Transaction Banking across MENA & Pakistan. Prior to joining Standard Chartered, Motasim began his career as an Assistant Manager in the Treasury Division of Shell Pakistan Limited.
Ehsan Khoman joined MUFG in 2016 and is the Head of Emerging Markets Research (EMEA), based in DIFC Branch – Dubai, UAE. Ehsan manages and handles MUFG’s emerging markets and commodity outlooks, producing regular research and strategic publications. Ehsan is known for applying global perspectives to provide easy-to-grasp, research-backed investment outlooks to institutional, corporate and retail clients, policymakers as well as across the bank. He also regularly delivers the bank’s emerging markets and commodity views to external audiences through a multitude of media platforms. Ehsan has over fifteen years’ experience in the banking industry and his last position prior to joining MUFG was with Qatar National Bank (QNB) in a similar capacity within the Research and Strategy fields. Prior to this, Ehsan worked in London for Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking (SGCIB) within the Research and Strategy Division.
David Leslie is the General Manager of the Global Trade and Receivables Finance business at Saudi British Bank (SABB), KSA’s largest Trade bank. The Trade and Receivables finance area is that which provides financing and risk mitigation solutions to meet clients' international and domestic trade requirements including Factoring. Prior to joining SABB, David has worked for 16 years around the wider HSBC Group in roles connected to International Trade in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Originally from Canada, David holds MBAs from INSEAD and Tsinghua Universities.
Jossan Maalouf serves as Regional Managing Director, Head of Middle East and Africa (MEA) region at Fiserv. In this role, Jossan drives the strategy, planning and execution of Fiserv MEA business, where the company serves clients across 15 countries throughout the region. Fiserv is the world’s leading entity in Financial Technology with 46,000 employees globally and $16.23 billion of revenues in 2021. We serve thousands of banks, financial Institutions and millions of merchants worldwide with our next-generation commerce-enabling solutions. Jossan joined Fiserv in March 2020 from JPMorgan, where he was based in Beirut for 7 years and served as General Manager for the Levant region and Head of Treasury Services/Transactional Banking for Levant, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Again with JPMorgan, Jossan was previously based in Bahrain for 4 years, where he was Head of Global Trade for the Levant region, Bahrain and Algeria.
N L N Swaroop is Director of Sustainable Trade Finance and Alternate Distribution at HSBC. Swaroop has over 16 years of rich experience across banking and insurance in varied roles ranging from risk underwriting, trade financing, business development, general management and coverage banking in across India and the UK. Swaroop is an active industry voice at ICC, BAFT and ITFA in developing trade as an investible asset class by attracting greater institutional capital and embedding ESG in trade finance.
Francois Oberholzer is a seasoned airline finance professional and Chartered Accountant with more than 20 years of aviation experience. He started his airline career with a low-cost airline in South Africa, Sun Air, which later merged with South African Airways. Prior to joining Etihad Airways in 2006 as Vice President Financial Planning and Analysis, he was Chief Financial Officer of South African Express Airways as well as a non-executive member on a number of their subsidiary companies’ boards of directors. Francois has worked at various international airlines, focusing on financing structures and Risk Management. Francois served as a member of the supervisory board of Air Serbia where he chaired the Audit Committee. He studied accounting sciences at the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa before qualifying in 1996 as a South African chartered accounted and completed his articles at Coopers & Lybrand / PwC.
Eren Omacan is a senior FIG coverage banker of 20 years experience with multiple financial institutions. Eren worked at Yapi Kredi, Turkey as regional head of MENA & Eastern Europe. From 2011 till 2014 he headed Yapi Kredi’s correspondent banking unit where he has oversight of the bank’s relationships with global financial institutions on trade, cash, borrowings and syndications. He joined Wells Fargo Bank NA as a senior coverage banker working both in the bank’s Turkey and Dubai offices covering financial institutions in Turkey and Qatar. Currently Eren is with Habib Bank AG Zurich as SVP & Regional Cluster Head of South Asia, Africa and Turkey working on the banks international strategy and helping on expansion plan.
Semih Ozkan is the head of structured & trade finance sales at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. In his role, he is responsible for marketing structured export finance and structured commodity finance solutions as well as trade & supply chain finance to corporate, public sector and financial institutions in the Middle East. Semih has more than 17 years of experience in treasury and trade solutions for corporate, public sector and financial institutions in the Europe, Middle East and Africa. Most recently Semih was corporate trade finance sales director at Deutsche Bank in the Middle East & Africa. At the same time, Semih also worked as a short-term consultant at the IFC Mongolia Mission to support developing supply chain finance practices in the market. Prior to that, Semih was at Standard Chartered Bank for FI trade finance and cash management sales.
Anirudha Panse (Ani) is the MD & Head of GTB Trade Finance Product Innovation (TPI) at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). The TPI team is responsible for launching innovative, and digitized Trade products and solutions globally for FAB across the traditional trade products and open account solutions. Ani’s maintains oversight on the team responsible for structuring and commercializing the complex trade solutions in the trade and commodity finance domain. Risk Management forms a critical part of Ani’s domain wherein the Trade Risk Distribution as well as the Trade Business Risk functions form part of Ani’s responsibilities. During this career, Ani has successfully launched several innovating and complex solutions in the Supply Chain Finance (SCF) / Receivables Finance / Inventory Financing space and commercialized them into multi-million $ businesses. Ani was part of the founding team that launched industry wide initiatives like UAE Trade Connect, a blockchain based AI/ML driven solution for reducing frauds in Trade, and in the past has represented his bank in national FATF assessments with Central Banks and also through Steering Groups related to SCF with No 10 Downing Street, and the NHS.
Azam has extensive cross-industry experience of more than two decades as head and senior advisor on supply-chain management having worked with world-renowned agricultural giants like Olam. He has delivered and advised several trade supply-chain infrastructure development projects with government agencies and free-zone & port development authorities like JAFZ which is part of DP World. He has advised and worked in supply-chain financing with multilateral and commercial banks which include Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, and Credit Europe Bank. His work in technology and strategic consulting has included mentoring small businesses with Stanford University's Stanford Institute of Innovation in Developing Economies and as an expert advisor to top-tier consulting firms. He has a doctorate from the prestigious SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy), and is now involved in expanding his fintech, with ESG deeply embedded in its business model, to help small businesses access finance for their cross-border trade in food and agriculture products.
Laura Vecvagare is Head of Portfolio at IFC overseeing investments in financial institutions in Africa. She has 20 years’ investment experience across broad spectrum of industries, including banking, insurance, power, transport, manufacturing and agribusiness. Mrs. Vecvagare has worked on investments in Europe, Africa and during the last six years the Middle East being based in Dubai, UAE. Mrs. Vecvagare started her carrier in consulting and audit business in Latvia, after which she joined World Bank and worked on housing finance reforms across a number of countries in Europe, Middle East and South Asia. She joined IFC in 2006. Mrs. Vecvagare holds Master’s of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University (USA) and a Bachelor of International Economics from the University of Latvia.
James has been at NatWest for seven years, having originally joined as Global Head of Subsidiary Banking. James previously spent 18 years at J.P. Morgan, initially through the Global Management Training Programme in New York, followed by two years in Paris covering French Corporate clients. He then returned to London and assumed a variety of sales leadership roles including running UK Corporate, US and Asia Multinational Coverage teams. James's last role at J.P. Morgan was as Corporate Sales Executive, Northern Europe. James has a B.A. Hons degree in French from University College, London and Montpellier University.
The BAFT MENA Bank to Bank Forum will be hosted at the Mashreq Bank HQ. A block of rooms at special attendee rates are reserved at the Habtoor Palace and Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City. Shuttle buses between the conference venue and hotels are available to attendees during conference hours.
Mashreq Bank HQ
Umniyati Street (Off Al Asayel Street, Burj Khalifa Community)
We have reserved a block of rooms at the Al Habtoor Palace and the Hilton Al Habtoor City for forum attendees. Connected to each other, the hotels are a short distance to the conference venue, DIFC and other key city attractions.
Al Habtoor City Hotels
Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Forum Attendee Featured Room Rates:
Featured Reservation Add Ons:
“Very useful from a networking perspective and the subjects discussed in the panels were interesting.”
Abu Dhabi, UAE
“The quality of the participants was very high, which provided a great opportunity for networking. ”
“Interesting subjects and discussions, well animated. Very good opportunity to network with regional peers.”
“The BAFT MENA Forum was an excellent event with high quality speakers presenting on important issues in banking both for the region and globally.”
Saint Paul, United States