This was one of many key observations that came out of the Oman Islamic Finance Fintech Forum 2020, a daylong event organised by the College of Banking and Financial Studies (CBFS) on Monday, in cooperation with Bank Nizwa, the Sultanate’s first Islamic bank. The event was held under the auspices of Tahir bin Salim al Amri, Executive President, Central Bank of Oman (CBO).
In welcome remarks, Dr Nasser Rashid al Maawali, Dean, College of Banking and Financial Studies, welcomed burgeoning efforts towards building a strong ecosystem around fintech in the Sultanate.
“Oman is well on its way towards fintech adoption,” said Dr Al Maawali. “Initiatives such as the establishment of the Oman Blockchain Society, the setting up of a $100m fintech investment by Bank Muscat, and the establishment of an ad hoc committee on fintech by the Central Bank of Oman, are examples of this ecosystem being created in Oman.” Significantly, Islamic banks and sharia-compliant financial services providers are also embracing fintech against the backdrop of the sector’s strong growth, said the Dean.
“The Islamic financial services sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Oman with a market share of over 13.6 per cent of total banking assets last year,” he added.
The digital revolution has brought about a paradigm shift in the global banking sector, giving rise to digital B2B lending, crowdfunding, blockchain, crypto-currencies, robot advisories, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
“Indeed, fintech has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by technological advancements, customer expectations and government support. Internationally, per a report by KPGM, fintech adoption has grown from 16 per cent in 2015 to 33 per cent in 2017, and 64 per cent last year,” he said. “Fintech has also helped many economies; Nordic countries, for example, have made significant strides in becoming cashless societies.”
CBFS, for its part, is also aiding the growth of a strong Islamic banking and fintech services industry in the Sultanate, said Dr Al Maawali.
The College has set up a dedicated Islamic Finance Unit to support the delivery of academic programmes and build capacity in the Islamic finance domain.
“Additionally, the College has recently established a Fintech Taskforce which will be a knowledge taskforce for banks and financial institutions in Oman. The CBFS Fintech Taskforce is currently working towards establishing, for the first time in the region, a professional certification in Fintech, as well as establishing a research chair in fintech,” he added.
Source Link: www.omanobserver.om