The Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS), a regional leader in banking and finance education and training, outperformed itself in 2018, both in the number of programmes offered and professionals trained.
The Institute organised a total of 1,043 educational and training programs during 2018, an increase of six percent over 2017. The initiatives successfully trained 26,206 participants of which 6,489 comprised UAE nationals.
During the past year, the Institute conducted 616 programs in the annual plan category, as well as 201 training insurance sector programs and 116 e-learning programs. EIBFS also hosted 27 specialized workshops that drew the participation of 3,268 trainees, including more than 1,000 UAE nationals. These programs were designed to meet the training requirements of the banking and financial services sector and develop the qualifications of professionals in the insurance industry.
Speaking about the 2018 participation, Jamal Al Jassmi, General Manager at EIBFS, said, “The growing number of participants in our programs reinforces the Institute’s position as one of the key banking and finance sector educational institutions in the region. We have seen a significant increase in the number of Emirati participants, which is in line with our commitment to supporting the UAE governmentâ€™s Emiratisation efforts in the countryâ€™s banking and finance sector. EIBFS continues to make focused efforts in training qualified national cadres to achieve a balance between the public and private sectors.”
He added, “The UAE government has introduced several initiatives to aid Emiratization in the banking sector, which is the largest industry in terms of recruiting citizens. These initiatives include raising the maximum limit of pensions for nationals working in banks and providing study leave, among others. Such efforts will address any concerns that UAE nationals have about venturing into a career in the banking sector. The insurance sector is another industry where Emiratization is a key concern and despite the efforts made by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, the expected numbers are yet to be achieved. To reduce the gap, we have introduced dedicated insurance related courses to empower UAE nationals with the required skills.”
With banks stepping up their digitalization drive, EIBFS is actively working to integrate financial technology (Fintech) and artificial intelligence (AI) into its training plans. The Institute has allocated 28 percent of its 2019 program schedule for Fintech and AI.
Speaking about the implementation of smart initiatives, Jamal Al Jassmi said: “Digitalization is the new buzzword across industries. The implementation of technology-driven initiatives is the norm in the banking sector. We have witnessed the shift and the growing requirement of banks today to hire individuals equipped with the right digital knowhow to excel in the industry.
“Smart transformations, including the use of AI, blockchain technologies, and smart mobile applications, among others, are being incorporated by financial institutions. Although I do not foresee a major drop in the sectorâ€™s manpower requirements, I believe it has become imperative for banking aspirants to acquire new skills to be able to adapt to the new technology.”
Al Jassmi pointed out that the next phase of adoption of AI technologies by the UAE banking sector will be in niche fields such as cybersecurity and financial management. “There are also a number of challenges facing the banking sector today, such as the cost of replacing old technologies, big data and insights and data security,” he noted.
Highlighting the UAE governmentâ€™s push towards digitalization, Al Jassmi said: “The UAE has always been one of the first countries in the region to embrace new technologies and ideas. Many local banks in the UAE are leading the way in adopting the latest digital innovations in the region and are gradually transitioning towards being digitally driven. This comes as part of the banksâ€™ understanding that technological development is a continuous and inevitable process.”
In keeping pace with future functional requirements and the move towards a digital economy, EIBFS has launched its first specialized committee to refine the basic skillsets required in fintech organizations. The committee is run by specialists in the financial and banking sector.
EIBFS also conducts exchange programs through strategic partnerships with international institutions to offer diverse, job-focused courses. The Institute is a member of various institutions that facilitate exchange programs including the Arab Banking Training Network, Union of Arab Banks and Asia Group. EIBFS has also forged partnerships with Malaysian banking training institutes, the Islamic Banking Network, the Financial Accreditation Authority of Malaysia, the Darden School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia and Harvard University. Furthermore, EIBFS has signed agreements with Bangor University in the UK to facilitate its students to gain a year-long study at the university in Britain and obtain a degree from the university.