Expertise and customer intimacy between banks and customers are expected to improve with fintechs further developing financial products and access to domestic capital, says Burak Zatiturk, PwC Qatar Financial Services Leader.
Fintechs will improve accessibility, cost-effectiveness, inclusion and security, Zatiturk told Gulf Times in an interview. Additionally, Islamic finance will leverage fintechs as a new driver of growth.
Globally, he noted the sukuk market has driven the growth of Islamic finance, benefiting from lower complexity and shorter time to market.
FinTech, blockchain technology, and mobile banking are expected to improve the accessibility of Islamic Finance to SMEs without impacting the legal structure of sukuk contracts and other Islamic products. Governments in the GCC are launching ‘sandboxes’, where fintech can test innovation in the real market, which are expected to sustain growth of Islamic finance in the near future.
Qatar continues to take steps to be recognised with the co-ordination of key industry players, proving pivotal for the creation of a healthy ecosystem. QCB, QFC and QFCRA have increased their focus on the fintech sector, by developing public awareness, frameworks, international cooperation with international regulators. They have also been shaping an ecosystem, which embraces fintech as an opportunity to further develop the economy. Incubators and accelerators have been recently launched in Qatar, which are an essential part of an ecosystem, enabling start-ups to interact with Qatari universities, financial institutions and regulators.
Thus, Qatar is embracing innovation to transform the economy, and the QCB’s National Fintech Strategy is a pillar of this transformation, aligned with the Qatar National Vision 2030, Zatiturk said.
Asked whether the Qatari banks are equipped to adapt to the new situation (change in market trends and behaviour due to Covid-19) Zatiturk said, “The effective decision making and co-ordination of stakeholders in the financial sector was essential, enabling organisations to effectively cope with volatility. Digital transformation has accelerated, with Qatari banks investing in technology and regulators enabling new services.”
For example, he said the digital payments and contactless credit cards growth accelerated in the first six months of 2020, and this evolution in consumer behaviour required an upgrade of the current digital infrastructure, systems and processes.
“From our experience, this improved business architecture equips the sector to adapt to the new normal.
The acceleration of the digital transformation has also attracted foreign investments during the pandemic, especially from international tech giants, which increased their investments in Qatar,” Zatiturk said.
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