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Oman Banks Association forum highlights cyber risk mitigation strategy

MUSCAT, 7 February 2017 - The Oman Banks Association (OBA), as part of its commitment to facilitate global best practices in risk management, hosted a forum on ‘Cyber Defence and Network Security’ under the auspices of H.E Hamoud bin Sangour Al Zadjali, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman. The forum held at Bank Muscat head office was attended by OBA Board Members, officials and key representatives of the banking fraternity in Oman.

The forum on cyber security marked the first major event of OBA in view of cyber risk being the top operational risk for the banking and finance industry. The forum discussed cyber threat landscape in the Middle East; essential steps for effective management of cyber risk; best practices around managing cyber risk; developing a cyber risk mitigation strategy; the impact of cyber risk on reputation and how to stay protected.  

AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chairman of the Board of Directors of OBA, said: “Cyber security affects all and OBA is proud to host the first forum aimed at highlighting the best practices in cyber security. At a time when cyber crimes are widespread, the strengthening of cooperation and coordination among the regulatory, law enforcement and banking institutions is vital to prevent and control crimes through the latest technological applications and exchange of expertise.The banking sector is committed to contributing to the Omani economy and supporting economic diversification and development projects. In order to remain competitive, Omani banks require to adopt the best international practices, including sound risk management systems. The OBA seeks to help Omani banks achieve these objectives.”

The OBA was formed as part of an initiative to foster closer co-operation and joint efforts by the banking institutions in Oman. The Omani banking sector comprises nine local banks, two specialised banks, nine foreign commercial banks, two full-fledged Islamic banks and six Islamic banking windows of conventional banks.  

The banking sector in Oman is governed by policies defined by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO). The OBA brings together banking professionals who are keen to share knowledge, resources and expertise to promote banking excellence and professionalism in Oman.

Abdul Hakim Al Ojaili, Member of the Board of Directors of OBA, said: “The OBA serves as the platform to strengthen and expand relations among banking and financial institutions in Oman. The association brings together member banks to collectively confront the challenges and identify opportunities. The cyber forum was designed to help banks look at cyber risk mitigation plan. The journey together will yield valuable experience for all to benefit from each other and collectively address the challenges ahead.”

The objectives of OBA include coordinating with CBO and other institutions on issues related to banking laws, regulations and policies and implement best practices within the banking sector; supporting training and professional programmes in the banking sector; developing strategies and initiatives aimed at consolidating the position of the Sultanate and its reputation in the banking sector globally.