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Asian bankers begin conference on reinventing modern-day silk route

MUSCAT, 19 November 2014 – Over 100 leading bankers and banking regulators from around the Asia-Pacific region have converged in Oman to attend the 31st Asian Bankers Association (ABA) general meeting and conference which started on Wednesday (19 November 2014) at Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa. Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, is hosting the prestigious Asia-Pacific banking conference on the theme 'Asian Banks: Reinventing the Modern-Day Silk Route'. The conference takes added significance as it is the first time the ABA is organising its annual conference in the Middle East region.

H.E. Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, will be the guest of honour at the formal opening ceremony of the 2-day event on Thursday (20 November 2014). H.E. Hamoud bin Sangour Al Zadjali, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, will present the keynote address on the occasion.

AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive, said: “Bank Muscat is honoured to host the 31st ABA General Meeting and Conference which serves as a unique opportunity for the association and its members to share with bankers from the region the investment and business opportunities offered by Oman and the Middle East region as a whole.

The Asia-Pacific region is witnessing significant economic developments. As the real engines of growth and development in each country, Asia-Pacific banks can play a strategic role in supporting development and promoting stability in respective communities and societies. The ABA general meeting and conference provides an ideal platform to strengthen and expand relations among banking and financial institutions in Asia-Pacific countries and beyond." 

The conference started with a special session on 'Discover ABA'. Daniel Wu, ABA Vice-Chairman, President & CEO of CTBC Financial Holding, Taiwan, chaired the session which featured country presentations by member banks from Japan, India, Iran and the host country Oman. The presentations highlighted key information about the market conditions and opportunities prevailing in the presenting countries.

Another session initiated by the host bank focused on the 'Impact of social media on banking'. Sheikh Talal Said Marhoon Al Mamari, Chief Executive Officer of Omantel, chaired the session which highlighted the challenges facing financial institutions on social media channels and how social channels can be utilised to promote banking products and services.

In the conference sessions on Thursday, eminent banking experts will present their perspectives on various topics including: (a) 'Post-Quantitative Easing (QE): Its Impact on the Global Economic and Financial Markets"; (b) 'Managing the Impact of Basel 3: Business Model Strategies in the New Regulatory Environment'; and (C) 'Lifting the Veil off Islamic Banking: Challenges and Opportunities'.

The conference will also feature a CEO Forum to provide a high-level platform for top bank executives and thought leaders to share best practices and experience, debate current strategic issues in banking, and discuss winning business approaches.

Established in October 1981, the ABA is the biggest grouping of banks and financial institutions in Asia-Pacific. Its membership currently includes some 100 of the leading banks and bankers associations from 25 countries in the region.

The current Chairman of ABA is Lorenzo V. Tan, President and CEO of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation from the Philippines, and Vice Chairman is Daniel Wu, President of the Chinatrust Financial Holdings. AbdulRazak Ali Issa is member of the ABA Board of Directors.

The ABA aims to provide a forum for advancing the cause of the banking and finance industry in the region and promoting regional economic cooperation. Towards this end, the ABA holds annual meetings to broaden the perspective of members on developments and opportunities in the region. Seminars and workshops are held around the region to enable members to exchange their views on important financial issues and allow the association to take a lead role in policy advocacy. It also conducts training courses on advanced bank management for its members.