Experts in Executive Search and Recruitment Services for the Banking and Financial Services Industry
The Banking and Financial Services Practice has been a strong pillar for Lobo Management since its inception in 1993 when Lobo Management played a pivotal role in headhunting and attracting leaders in the Banking Industry from various parts of the world to the UAE at a time when local and multinational banks were at the nascent stages of growth in the region. Since then, Lobo Management has placed several hundred key personnel across middle and senior level positions and built strong relationships in the industry across the GCC.
At the end of 2022, S&P Global Ratings reported that the earnings performance of banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was set to recover to almost pre-pandemic levels, owing to a rise in profitability on higher oil prices, improving confidence, and large-scale government projects in countries such as Saudi Arabia.
Economies in the GCC have bounced back strongly from the pandemic driven-slowdown and the economic momentum has picked up pace this year despite global economic headwinds. In the third quarter of 2022, 20 of the largest GCC banks recorded net interest incoming of $14.66 billion, up from previous quarters in 2022 according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.
Lending is expected to grow in Saudi Arabia, strengthened by projects related to the government’s Vision 2023 framework, other member states within the GCC can also expect lending to grow as a total of $ 121 billion worth of social projects has been planned and are already underway across the region. Mortgages will also contribute to growth.
The GCC is also set to see more activity in capital markets during 2023 with more companies seeking public listings. In a bid to take more share of the IPO boom, major banking groups have bolstered their teams in the region. A major U.S based major banking group, as well as several others, have plans to hire more wealth managers and investment bankers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Trends in 2023
The rise in Fintech has led to a growth in its adoption rates globally. According to EY (Ernst & Young), 64% of global consumers use Fintech with a rate as high as 87% in China and India. Although banks in the MENA region have historically lagged compared to hubs such as Europe, Asia, and Africa, many are embracing Fintech.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the corresponding health measures have changed consumer behavior immensely, as demand for contactless paying services grew exponentially in 2020. In the GCC, Neo banks have started to appear, with some traditional consumer banks launching their own independent companies.
The need for traditional banks to focus on enhancing products & services with mobile app data, as well as automated onboarding and support for digitalization and remote service will continue to grow as Fintech and Neobanks continue to change the banking model and the convenience of contactless banking.
There are several overarching themes that will influence the local banking sector in the coming years, it will be;
Shaped by a progressive economic and fiscal environment, with the introduction of the corporate tax and withdrawal of fiscal and monetary support that had been provided in previous years, a ‘next normal’ will need to be established along with solutions for a host of challenges: organization silos, the imperative to reduce fraud and waste, an aging workforce and the war for talent, achieving a clean audit opinion, and budget constraints.
Driven by innovative, responsible, and disruptive trends, with the growth of digitization, UAE regulators are keen to align the UAE’s digital goals with its banking industry. Consumer behavior is evolving and demanding more technologically sound advisors. The sector is also under mounting pressure to incorporate ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations.
Reinforced by evolving infrastructure capabilities, technological frameworks continue to evolve, increasing the speed of sophisticated enterprise-class applications, and allowing banks to adopt a more data-led strategy and solutions for their consumers.
Supported by connected control and risk frameworks, in this volatile environment, strengthening corporate governance practices will continue to be on banks’ agendas, especially since the issuance of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates’ (CBUAE) Corporate Governance Regulation and Standards in July 2019. As banks adapt to the post-pandemic economy, they are relying heavily on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to manage these diverse regulatory developments.
Thus, the sector with the UAE as well as surrounding member states of the GCC is looking for expert talent and experienced leaders in the digital arena, as well as compliance, and traditional banking functions, to pave the way with new initiatives and innovation into the future.