STFS focuses on roadmap to Vision 2030


Saudi Gazette

—Bankers, CFOs, key stakeholders from the government and regulatory authorities, financial institutions, technology providers, trade credit insurers, consulting and advisory firms and finance professionals gathered at the fifth edition of the Saudi Trade and Finance Summit (STFS) that opened here Tuesday to discuss the road map for the “the Kingdom’s vision for better future”.

The two-day summit initiated its deliberations with focus on the financial regulations, strategies and trends shaping the Kingdom’s economy. The Summit is specifically covering risk mitigation; the digitization of trade finance; modern trade finance trends; Islamic banking; IFRS adoption; VAT implementation and SME development.

In his opening address, Yaseen Saeed Al-Suroor, chairman of the Saudi International Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the existing financial trend in the region and Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030 that will play role of a catalyst in developing sand consolidating non-oil sector not only in the Kingdom but also in the entire region. He explained the roles of International Chamber of Commerce in the economic growth and providing a platform to investors and business executives from all over the world to boost the business.

Al Suroor said as the world’s largest business organization, the ICC works to promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation in order to accelerate inclusive and sustainable trade growth for the benefit of all. The discussions and interactions today will highlight and underpin these goals and pave the way for further achievements in the coming years.

Anjum Noman Mirza, Head of Trade Finance Sales and Solutions at Banque Saudi Fransi, gave a presentation where he looked at risk mitigation in international trade. He focused on the need to promote non-oil export to make Vision 2030 a reality. He said the government corporate houses and Banks must join hand and collaborate with each other in coordinated manner in order to make vision a grand success. He also shed light on cross border risks and how bank products can mitigate those risks.

Arup Roy, Head of Global Trade and Receivable Finance at Saudi British Bank (SABB) in his presentation explored the critical role of banks in providing access to Finance and managing risks. He also outlined the factors impacting trade finance flow in the region.

Zubair Shaikh, vice President-Head Trade Finance Sales at Riyad Bank, reviewed the current trend globally and in the Kingdom on digitization of trade finance. He presented key solutions facilitating digitization and helping in going paperless in trade.

Qasim Mustafa Moughrabi, country head-trade sales at National Commercial Bank, gave a presentation on trade products integration and finance solutions.

The salient feature of all the presentations made was focus on initiatives in shaping Saudi Arabia’s economy toward a sustainable future; managing liquidity and cash flow; digitization of trade finance; supply chain finance; and empowerment of finance through technology..

After the presentations, there were two interesting panel discussions—the first on changing role of chief financial officers in corporate sector and the second on optimizing cash flow and best possible practices in managing healthy cash flow.

In the first discussion, the panelists included Adel Al-Hawaj, Head of Controllers at Sadara Chemical Company; Alejandro Magana de Larriva , CFO, AIRBUS Defence and Space Arabia; Mamdouh AlShahran, Deputy CEO and CFO, Saudi Real Estate Company (Al-Aqariya) and Muhammad Amir Khan, Group CFO of Jabal Omar Development Company. Zishan Iqbal Muhammad, head of sales and Client management Global trade and Receivables Finance at SABB was the moderator at the panel discussion where main focus was that CFOs are not merely money managers but rather a business partners or true strategic advisor.

In the second group discussion, panelists probed means to build a healthy cash management culture and how to optimize financial functions through effective management of account receivable and account payable utilizing technology and tracking cash flow. The panelists included Ammar Al-Zubaidi, Group CFO, Al-Khorayef Group; Khaed Elshaefi, Group financial controller at Rawabi Holding; Nadeem Quraishi, CFO, Al-Sulaiman Group and Wael Khalil, CFO, eXtra. Hariraj Subramanian, head of cash management producrs at Gulf International Bank, was the moderator.

In the second day of the summit today (Wednesday), there will be presentation on various aspects of trade and finance but the most awaited subject would be Value added Tax (VAT) and mitigating trade risk. Experts and businessmen are keen to attend the session as Saudi Arabia will implement 5 percent VAT from January 1, 2018.