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United Arab Emirates Banking & Finance, 5th July 2022

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

The Banking and Finance Sector is one of the most important sectors in the UAE as demonstrated by its role as a major financial hub for the Middle East and beyond. The regulatory framework for banking in the UAE is based on the Banking Law where the Central Bank is entrusted with the issuance and management of the country's currency, and the regulation of the banking and financial sectors. UAE banks – both domestic and foreign – are the backbone of the financial industry, providing retail and corporate services to members of the private and public sectors. In addition, Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) offer different solutions for international financial institutions, asset management companies and other financial cum investment entities.

For a comprehensive presentation of the banking and finance sector of the UAE, the UAESBC is pleased to present a webinar on “UAE Banking & Finance” on Tuesday, 5th July. This event will provide you with a practical understanding of the UAE banking and finance sector, the key regulations and agencies within this sector, as well as a glimpse into the spectrum of financial activities carried out in the country from actual practitioners and experts in the sector.

Details of the webinar are as follows:

Theme: United Arab Emirates Banking & Finance

Date: Tuesday, 5th July 2022

Time: 2pm to 4.00pm, Singapore Time / 10am to 12.30pm UAE Time

Registration: CLICK HERE to access Zoom registration form




Guests of Honour:

His Excellency Jamal Al Suwaidi

Ambassador of the UAE to Singapore and

Patron of the UAE Singapore Business Council

Prior to his accreditation as Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the Republic of Singapore, His Excellency Jamal Abdulla Al Suwaidi served as the Deputy Manager in the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE since 2019 and as the Head of the Political Content & Media Section at the Office of the Minister from 2015 to 2019.

Before joining the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in 2013, Ambassador Al Suwaidi worked in the maritime and telecommunications sectors in the UAE. Ambassador Al Suwaidi holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Sharjah. He is married and has two daughters.

Mr Lee Yi Shyan

Chairman of Business China and

Patron of the UAE Singapore Business Council

Mr Lee is a former Member of Parliament. He chairs the board of Business China. He is the Executive Advisor to Chairman’s office, OUE and chairs the board of OUE Hospitality Trust, OUE-Lippo Healthcare, OUE Corp (USA). Mr Lee is also the Chairman of Intercontinental Exchange Singapore. He is a Council Member for Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council and Singapore-Shandong Economic & Trade Council and Patron for UAE Singapore Business Council. Mr Lee also advises Keppel Corporation Limited. Previously, between 2006 to 2015, Mr Lee served in various capacities of Singapore government including as Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Trade & Industry, Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Manpower.

He chaired a number of bilateral high-level councils with China, Middle East, Russia and Africa. Specifically, he co-chaired the Singapore-Abu Dhabi Joint Forum with his counterpart Mr Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak of Mubadala for 8 years. Prior to 2006, Mr Lee was CEO of International Enterprise Singapore, Deputy CEO of SPRING and held senior operational and staff positions in EDB. He worked in Suzhou Industrial Park, China (1997-1998) as Deputy CEO of China-Singapore Suzhou Development Pte Ltd. Mr Lee was honored with Distinguished Alumni Award by the Centre for Creative Leadership (Greensboro, NC) in 2009, and Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award by the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore in 2013. Mr Lee graduated from NUS in 1986 and has completed executive programs at Harvard Business School (1997) and Tsinghua University (2001).


Dr Brian Shegar

President, UAE Singapore Business Council and

CEO, ME-Asia Consultancy

Brian Shegar's career covers 40 years of leadership in international banking experience with focus on South East and South Asia, Asia Pacific and Middle East. He successfully established and led the operations of Midland, NedBank and Emirates NBD in various locations in the Asia Pacific region including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. Dr Shegar's involvement in the GCC began in 2006. He established and ran one of the Middle East’s largest banks, Emirates NBD, in Asia Pacific including the regional branch in Singapore and Rep Offices in China and Jakarta.

Upon retirement from Emirates NBD in 2018, Dr Shegar established ME Asia Pte Ltd as a consultancy to assist Singapore and Asian companies in their business development aspirations in UAE and the Middle East. That same year, he was instrumental in establishing the UAE Singapore Business Council to promote greater business connectivity between UAE and Singapore and was elected President. He is also a member of the Global Advisory Board of CASS Business School (covering UAE and Singapore), Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Gulf Economics, Trade and Finance and a Past Honorary Fellow of the NUS Middle East Institute.

Dr Shegar holds a BSc Degree in Banking and International Finance and an MSc Finance from the CASS Business School of City, University of London. He also has a Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Western Australia Business School. He has also presented papers and spoken at numerous seminars and conferences.


Mr Ananth Ramachandran

CEO, Southeast Asia, First Abu Dhabi Bank and

Honorary Secretary, UAE Singapore Business Council

Ananth Ramachandran is a Singapore based senior Asian banker, having been in the industry for 28 years covering both developed and emerging markets. Ananth is Country CEO – Singapore at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), where he heads up the South-East Asia business for FAB. Previously he was Head of Corporate & Institutional Banking (CIB), Asia for Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac). Prior to this, he has been in meaningful roles with first-rate institutions such as Standard Chartered, JPMorgan and BNP Paribas.

His experience spans a range of sub-sectors of the banking industry: institutional banking (coverage, debt products, portfolio management, risk/credit management, transaction banking, trade finance), financial market products (hedging and liability management), capital markets (both debt and equity), structured financing (securitization, commodities, structured trade, asset financing), investment banking (advisory, capital management).

Ananth completed his MBA in 1993 from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. Ananth is a CFA Charter holder, a qualified Cost Accountant and a Company Secretary. He grew up in Calcutta and did his undergraduate studies in St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta.

Mr Jody Waugh

Deputy Managing Partner and

Head of Banking & Finance,

Al Tamimi & Co

As Deputy Managing Partner and Head of Banking & Finance at Al Tamimi & Company, Jody oversees the banking practice in the Al Tamimi offices throughout the Middle East, including the GCC, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Jody has been practising in the Middle East for over a decade, and has extensive experience in advising regulators, banks, finance companies, investment banks and other financial institutions on a wide range of banking and finance matters. He also regularly advises borrowers on corporate and property development financing transactions.

His areas of expertise include Islamic finance; Bi-lateral and syndicated lending transactions; Project finance; Security documents and structures; Property and asset financing; Product documentation (Islamic and conventional); Trade finance; Restructuring and insolvency; and Regulatory.

Jody currently counts some of the region’s leading banks and financial institutions amongst his clients. He is also highly respected practitioner whom Legal 500 describes as ‘technically excellent and diligent’. Jody is also an active member of the International Bar Association Banking Law Committee together with serving on the INSOL Editorial Board.

Mr Kwok Wai Lum

Senior Executive Director,

Authorisation & Fintech Services Regulatory Authority,

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

As the Head of Authorisation function within the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, Wai Lum oversees the licensing of financial services firms and products in the banking, insurance and capital markets sector.

With digital transformation at the forefront of global regulators’ agenda, Wai Lum also spearheads ADGM’s regulatory strategy in financial technology and innovation. The Regulatory Sandbox programme, and subsequent digitalization of the platform, won ADGM accolade as the most innovative and progressive regulator in the Middle East.

Being the architect of the largest Fintech Festival in the MENA region over consecutive years, he shaped the fintech landscape within the United Arab Emirates. Working closely in collaboration with banks, financial institutions, regulators and other key stakeholders, Wai Lum drove the innovation masterplan to support the adoption of smart and sustainable technology.

Prior to joining ADGM, Wai Lum was the Director of Capital Markets Intermediaries at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Mr Ali Hassan

Senior Representative (Europe & North America),

Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFC)

Ali Hassan is a Senior Representative for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority in Europe and North America and Director of Business Development for the Centre.

In his current role, Mr. Hassan supports the CEO in developing and promoting the Insurance, Banks & Capital Markets, and Wealth Management sectors, in line with the Centre’s business strategies and plays an active role in managing client development. He is also responsible for promoting and spreading awareness of DIFC’s competitiveness and positioning regionally and globally.

Mr. Hassan brings vast regulatory knowledge and commercial experience to his position at DIFC Authority, having supervised and authorized a diverse range of businesses including exchanges, trading platforms, wealth management, investment banking, and brokerage operations with experience in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.


Mr Arun Kumar

Country Head & Senior Executive Officer, DBS (Dubai) and

EXCO Member of the UAE Singapore Business Council

Arun is a career banker with over 24 years of experience across multinational banks. In his current role as Country Head & Senior Executive Officer for DBS Dubai, he is responsible for the Bank’s overall business in the GCC/ Middle East region.

Prior to DBS, he worked with HSBC in the Origination & Client Coverage business in the UAE and India. He brings several years of client coverage & deal structuring experience in the GCC region across a diverse client segment, from government owned/ related companies & family-owned conglomerates to banks and sovereign wealth funds across the region.

He holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

Mr Pankaj Nagarath

Managing Director & Senior Business Advisor,

Bank of Singapore

Pankaj Nagrath leads the India Gateway business for Bank of Singapore (BOS) for catering to the offshore wealth management needs of onshore India clients. Pankaj is a seasoned professional with almost three decades of experience in trading, fund management, research, and advisory across multiple asset classes and markets.

Prior to moving into his current role in 2020, Pankaj worked in investment advisory and business strategy roles with BOS, including as the Head of UHNW Advisory Solutions platform, focused on adding value to the largest and the most sophisticated family office and private clients of the bank across all geographies. He joined BOS in 2016 from Barclays Wealth in Singapore, where he was an Investment Advisor and Head of Discretionary Portfolio Management (DPM) Sales for Asia for around 2 years.

Pankaj was previously a senior trader with India’s largest and most active corporate treasury at Reliance Group (India’s largest business conglomerate), where he traded various markets over his 5-year stint, including Indian FX and Rates and global macro markets (G10 FX/G3 Rates). Prior to that, Pankaj worked as an analyst and Head of Equity Research with leading Indian buy-side institutions, and as Head of Investor Relations for the Reliance Group.

Mr Joseph Cleetus

Head of Business Transformation,

Lulu Financial Holdings

Joseph is the Head of Business Transformation at Lulu Financial Holdings, and manages the Innovation and Technology Team in UAE, India, Philippines and Indonesia. He is also the Deputy Head of Fintech Sub Committee of FERG, the association of Exchange houses in the UAE.

Joseph has over 22 years of technology experience specializing in Fintech, RegTech. Retail industry and in focusing on developing innovative and sustainable cross border remittance solutions

His passion is in bringing the best out of people and believes “Ordinary people can do Extra-Ordinary Jobs”.

Ms Suvarna Sowjanya

MENAT Head for Digital & Client Implementation,

Global Trade & Receivable Finance,

HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd

An Engineer by qualification, with overall professional experience of 22 years across, Global Cash management, Global Trade & receivable Finance, Automobile, Heavy Engineering, etc. After spending the initial years in the Global Liquidity & Cash Management area of the Bank, Suvarna moved to Global Trade & Receivable Finance to spearhead the Bank’s Digital Initiatives in the region.

A passionate believer in the transformative power of Digital, Suvarna takes active interest in bringing many of Bank’s innovative digital initiatives to fruition. Prior to joining the Bank, Suvarna also worked in the areas of Engineering and Research & Development as Design Engineer in renowned engineering and software organizations.

Suvarna is based in Dubai and lives with her husband and college going daughter.

Mr Anson Zeall

Co-Founder & Managing Partner, MerkleTrees and

Emeritus-Chair of ACCESS, Singapore’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association

Anson is the Co-founder and managing partner of MerkleTrees overseeing policy and international blockchain consultancy work.

He is the Emeritus Chairman of ACCESS, Singapore’s most influential Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association. He is also the co-founder and former Chair of IDAXA, the global voice for the world's virtual asset associations and service providers; formed during the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan.

He recently Co-founded V2A2, a financial services firm onboarding traditional financial institutions, bridging them to the three trillion dollar blockchain and decentralised finance industry.


Ms Noor Quek

CEO & Founder, NQ International

Noor graduated in 1972 from the University of Singapore with a degree in Business Administration. Her experience spans more than 40 years in a broad range of banking and financial advisory services with established financial institutions including Citigroup Private Bank and GE Capital. She has held senior positions, working with ultra-high net-worth families on investment banking, corporate finance and wealth management in Asia, the Middle East and selectively, Europe and the US.

She is currently Founder & CEO of NQ International Pte. Ltd, established in 2007, to provide wealth advisory, talent management, mentoring and senior executive placement services. Diversity of age, ethnicity and gender are key issues actively promoted by NQ International when addressing especially board and senior management roles.

She is the immediate past president of Breast Cancer Foundation, founded in 1997 where she held the President’s post for 9 years. Currently she serves on several non-profit boards and professional organisations as a director or advisor.

A frequent speaker at major international conferences, Noor’s key passion lies in music and she uses her musical skills to raise funds for various charities.

A daughter, wife, mother, grandmother to 7, sister and friend, Noor believes life is for living meaningfully and her motto in life is “Dare to Dream”!

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