BankMuscat signs up for City Dealer

As part of BankMuscat’s drive to extend its range of corporate services, the bank has signed a deal with Mida-Kapiti International (MKI) for its City Dealer DBA platform.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  May 29, 2001

|~||~||~|As part of BankMuscat’s drive to extend its range of corporate services, the bank has signed a deal with Mida-Kapiti International (MKI) for its City Dealer DBA platform. When in place, the dealing room platform will enable the 100-branch bank to introduce numerous risk management services to the local corporate segment.

“We are acquiring City Dealer DBA to be able to utilise our significant pool of treasury expertise and introduce very quickly a wide range of corporate products and enhance customer services,” says Abdulrazak Ali Issa, BankMuscat’s chief executive officer.

“For the first time the Omani corporate sector will be able to buy these products from the local bank, with all the associated advantages of local knowledge [and] speed of service,” says Issa.

The City Dealer platform is a front end ‘deal capture,’ application, which plugs into the bank’s existing treasury application. Currently transactions are conducted on paper, and the information is entered manually into the backend. The City Dealer platform will automate this process and enable BankMuscat to offer a greater range of treasury services, ranging from Foreign Exchange and Money Market, through to Capital Markets and Derivatives products. “The City Dealer platform is a front to the treasury system, it gives us a very user friendly way to capture deals and perform different types of transactions,” says Issa.

“The system allows all kinds of deals to be captured and different kinds of services to be offered by our treasury department. That has to be linked into the back office treasury system,” which is hosted on a Unix box.

Integration of the City Dealer platform is going to be key to the delivery of BankMuscat’s next generation corporate services. For the last three months the bank has been working on the implementation of a Trade Innovation System — also from MKI — that requires the development of an interface between the NT-based system and the backend NCR Unix machine. It’s likely that the interface for the Trade Innovation system will form the basis for future integration work between the City Dealer application and the MIE Treasury application. “We’re already developing an interface for the Trade Innovation system based on TC/IP. We will probably use the same technology for developing the interface between the City Dealer Platform and the treasury application,” explains Issa.

Alongside the practical integration work of delivering the City Dealer functionality, the training of the end user community is also of major importance if the project is to succeed. For the most part the user-base hasn’t had experience with “these kinds of business systems,” says Issa. Over the next six months, BankMuscat will run extensive training sessions — in close conjunction with the business users — to bring its staff up to speed.

Education isn’t being confined to the business users. BankMuscat has also conducted
training sessions with its own corporate customers to illustrate the opportunities offered by hedging strategies. “Many of the corporate clients aren’t aware of the window of opportunity offered by the global markets,” says Gopar Gomar, assistant general manager for treasury and general investment, with BankMuscat.

The City Dealer and Trade Innovation projects within BankMuscat are part of a wider overhaul of the bank’s IT infrastructure. Other projects to upgrade the bank’s frontend systems and improve its service delivery capabilities are also in the pipeline, as the bank expands its delivery channels.

“These projects are part of an ongoing series of frontend systems we are going to implement in the course of the next year,” says Issa.

“The emphasis is on delivery channels to our end users in the branches and to the bank’s customers. We are going for the most current technology… not something that is theoretical, it has to be practical,” he adds.

The initial thrust of BankMuscat’s services drive is addressing the bank’s corporate banking segment, as the “business users are the most aggressive users… and we are driven by [the corporate segment.]” With its upgraded service delivery capabilities in place, BankMuscat plans to offer services from major financial centres around the world in the coming months.

Issa adds, “because of the market potential we offer overseas institutions, we are able to locally offer products from financial markets from around the world at extremely competitive prices.”
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