By Andy Sambidge
Bank's annual corporate global banking survey says region will be one to be targeted for growth
The banking sector in the Middle East will become more competitive over the coming two years, according to the annual Barclays Corporate Global Banking Survey.
The survey, which was conducted among 200 top executives from leading banking and insurance services providers, revealed that Asia, the Middle East and Africa were seen as key areas for significant growth.
Conversely, financial institutions said they saw limited potential for growth in Europe and even less so in North America, with the region ranked last among all financial centres in the survey.
Matt Tuck, head of Financial Institutions, Barclays Corporate, said: "There is huge work being done by global banking groups to capitalise on the strong economic growth in developing markets.
"The move by the financial services sector to generate greater penetration across Africa is also gathering pace."
He added: "Europe is an incredibly important market for the banking industry, but there is a move towards spreading risk by diversifying geographies and also banking income streams.
"The banking industry is certainly in growth mode, but is becoming increasingly mobile and selective in where it targets its growth."
Earlier this month, Rory Gilbert, the managing director and head of high net worth business in the UK and Ireland at Barclays Wealth, was appointed as private banking head for the Middle East and North Africa, replacing Soha Nashaat.
Foreign banks wanting to enter the Middle East, namely the Gulf Region, seem intent on continuing their spike banking activity cycles. This approach will ride on the perceived economic revival to come but lacks the long term deep understanding of the region. Foreign banks -while clearly superior to local banks in most criteria- still failed to establish management capabilities & long term strategies that will give the much needed acceptance by the majority of customers. This will maintain their positioning in customers minds as elite's banking institutions geared at serving the top segment of the market and some of the needs of the western banking customers, though at inflated charges. How can they remedy this? The answer is as simple and hard as "you need step down from your high horses and listen to what people really need and balance that with what they are greater to deliver best". They should also indict some local talents in their teams for greater understanding.