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Banks urged to invest heavily in technology

Financial institutions need to embrace IT to succeed in a changing market place, a senior UAE government official told delegates at a conference this week.

Financial institutions need to embrace IT to succeed in a changing market place, a senior UAE government official told delegates at a conference this week.

The financial services industry in the UAE and across the region is moving ahead at a rapid pace and banks need to invest in technology to stay ahead of the competition, said UAE undersecretary for resource and budget Khaled El-Bustani, speaking on behalf of Mohamed Khalfan bin Khirbash, the country's minister of state for finance and industry.

"The average of annual IT spending by Arab banks is about US$1.3 billion," El-Bustani said during the opening address of the third Financial Technology summit, which took place this week in Dubai. "This level of investment, while large, is absolutely necessary," he continued.

"Modern financial services are, essentially, a technology-driven industry, and time and again we have seen that institutions that embrace technology have been able to gain a real competitive advantage," he went on to say.

The event was attended by CIOs of regional banks and representatives of leading IT vendors. Topics discussed at the summit included IT consolidation, internet security and the relationship between CIOs and chief executives.

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