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24 March 2014 - "Bahrain: Building for Growth"

08:00 – 09:00 

Welcome coffee and registration open

09:00 – 09:15 

Welcoming remarks

  • Francis Vanbever, Chief Financial Officer, SWIFT

09:15 – 09:30  

Keynote Address

  • Khalid Hamad, Executive Director, Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain

09:30 – 10:30 

Plenary Session: Banking consolidation in Bahrain: challenges and opportunities

The Bahrain banking industry knows that the sector needs to consolidate. Whilst a large number of small banks may offer fantastic choice for domestic customers, it means that Bahraini banks have to compete for business with bigger competitors at a regional level. With the region’s economy performing strongly and the need for financial services growing, Bahrain’s banks will win more business if they have greater firepower. What are the challenges and opportunities of consolidation?

  • Khalid Hamad, Executive Director, Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain
  • Robert Ainey, Chief Executive, Bahrain Association of Banks
  • Moderator: Christian Sarafidis, Head of Western Europe, Middle East & Africa

10:30 – 11:00 

Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:00 

Plenary session: Corporate banking in Bahrain: looking to the future

The Middle East may boast some of the world’s market-leading multinational corporates, but the majority of the region’s companies remain family-owned operations. As they develop into regional and global players, these dynamic businesses are looking at how their financial operations could benefit from automation at the same time as addressing new security challenges. How do Bahrain’s corporates work today and what are they doing to capitalise on new processes and new technology?

  • Prakash Mohan, Group Head, Corporate Banking, Ahli United Bank
  • Safwan Zain, Senior Manager, Pre-Sales & Solutions, Batelco
  • Mohammed Fakhro, General Manager, Fakhro Group
  • Bassam Khalifa, Senior Account Manager, MENA & Turkey, SWIFT
  • Roger Nasr, Office Managing Partner, Bahrain, Deloitte & Touche
  • Moderator: Hani Al Maskati, Publisher & Editorial Director, Cash & Trade

12:00 – 13:30 


13:30 – 14:30 

Plenary session: Islamic banking in Bahrain: how to thrive in a global environment

More than 1,300 Islamic finance leaders headed to Bahrain in December 2013 for the 20th anniversary of the World Islamic Banking Conference. It brought together thought leaders, key regulators and leading industry players to discuss the global growth of the international Islamic finance industry, and demonstrated Bahrain’s relevance to the industry. As other financial centres, including Dubai, compete to become Islamic finance hubs, what is Bahrain’s role amidst global competition and where is its competitive advantage?

  • Abdul Razzaq Abdul Khaleq, Assistant GM Operations, Bahrain Islamic Bank
  • Mahesh Balasubramanian, Managing Director, KPMG
  • Sohaib Umar, Advisor, Islamic Financial Services Development
  • Moderator: Ali Adnan Ibrahim, First Vice President, Legal Affairs, Al Baraka Banking Group

14:30 – 15:00 

Coffee break

15:00 - 15:45 

SWIFT in Bahrain

What more can SWIFT do to support banks and their corporate clients in the region?
Christian Sarafidis, Head of Western Europe, Middle East & Africa, SWIFT, will talk to the head of the Middle East & North Africa region and senior representatives from banks in Bahrain.


  • Sido Bestani, Head of Middle East, Northern Africa and Turkey, SWIFT
  • Fahad Taher, Vice President, Head of Treasury, Securities & Derivatives Operation, Gulf International Bank

15:45 - 16:15

Closing remarks

16:15 - 17:00 

Networking & Refreshments