Abu Dhabi: More than 60 senior executives from leading banking and financial institutions in the UAE have discussed main opportunities and challenges facing the banking industry at a recent forum for the SWIFT UAE User Group.

Hosted by SWIFT, the global provider of secure financial messaging services, in partnership with the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) a professional body representing 48 member banks operating in the UAE, the meeting also underlined the need to foster greater collaboration to enhance the overall cybersecurity environment.

Nasser Sarris, general manager of the UAE Banks Federation, in his opening remarks at the forum, said, “It’s great to see many important stakeholders come together on a common platform to discuss the way forward for our industry. On behalf of the UAE Banks Federation, I thank them for their continuous support to build a robust and secure financial ecosystem. We look forward to many more fruitful interactions and further collaboration with SWIFT as we continue our focus toward enhancing banking security standards in the UAE.”

Khaled Moharem, head of the Middle East and North Africa at SWIFT, said, “SWIFT key priority is to ensure that our network, products and services continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers. The National Member Groups play a very significant role in this context. The meetings are an opportunity for the community to provide valuable feedback so that SWIFT can proactively develop solutions for local markets. We are delighted to co-host these events with the UAE Banks Federation, being a pivotal partner for SWIFT in the region.”

During the meeting, Arnaud Boulnois, global head of product management at SWIFT, provided attendees with an overview on SWIFT’s global payments innovation, GPI, initiative, which enables banks to provide end-to-end payments tracking. SWIFT has developed and securely hosted a Tracker database ‘in the cloud’, to give end-to-end visibility on the status of a payment transaction from the moment it is sent until it is confirmed, thus bringing in greater predictability to cross-border payments.

As the threat landscape adapts and evolves daily, Boulnois stressed the need for both SWIFT and its customers to remain vigilant and proactive over the long term. He also drew the attention of UBF members to SWIFT’s newly-introduced Customer Security Programme, which helps customers reinforce the security of their SWIFT-related infrastructure.