ABTEC Live 2014 – a focused audience of financial IT leaders

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Bahrain is a small state in the Gulf Region. This is where oil was first discovered in 1932 which coincided with the collapse of the world pearl market (for which Manama was a central hub in the region). Romania already had a mature oil extraction back then. Financial services are now taking over the oil business.

iQuest participated in ABTEC Live 2014, the leading invitation-only event for the financial technology community in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. The event provided a successful combination of great conferences and a well-organised exhibition floor. With a well-orchestrated program, no-nonsense presentations, ABTEC presented live demos of game-changing technologies that are redefining the future of finance.

iQuest was part of the Romanian National Pavilion and with a fine blend of case studies for blue-chip companies, demos and discussions, we provided practical insights into how financial companies can leverage digital disruption to transform their business models.

Our Mobile Identity product attracted many visitors who wanted to see the application, which is changing the way clients interact with their Online Banking. The product is transforming mobile phones into digital signing pens, with a focus on smart mobile transactions and scalable security environments.

All the events from the agenda rolled out as expected. I learned that KSA and UAE are still the strongest markets. Other countries are gaining on them though. Despite efforts to strengthen the fragmented banking sector in Bahrain, Bahrain’s financial sector will continue to struggle compared to other, bigger markets.

An interesting local custom is the separation between Commercial banks and Islamic banks. Islamic laws prohibit collection and payment of interest and also state the profit and loss sharing. Investment in businesses that provide goods or services considered contrary to Islamic principles (e.g. pork or alcohol) is also haram (“sinful and prohibited“).

Below are some pics taken at the event and in the surrounding area:

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