KPMG: AI, Digital Shifts to Reshape Qatar Banking

KPMG in Qatar proudly presents its highly anticipated 'Qatar Banking Perspectives Report - 2023'. This seminal report illuminates the dynamic landscape of Qatar's banking sector, spotlighting emergent trends that redefine the industry.This yearly issue is meticulously curated to empower decision-makers in assessing prevailing trends and analyzing factors that will shape the future of Qatar's banking industry. The past year witnessed unprecedented transformation in the sector, marked by the introduction of regulatory enablers designed to usher in new digital fintech players while supporting traditional incumbents in their digitization.Despite challenges such as surging interest rates, margin pressures, geopolitical uncertainties, and a complex credit environment, Qatar's banks have showcased remarkable agility. Steered by effective cost management, embracing digital transformation, and an unwavering risk-centric approach, banks have not just endured but thrived, preserving robust profitability levels.The 2023 report delves into pivotal themes shaping Qatar's banking sector and rippling effects across the region. Our domain experts unravel profound insights on diverse topics, encompassing data analytics and cloud technology, fraud, evolving regulatory terrains, sustainable finance, implications of the global minimum tax, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) strategies, M&A dynamics, and the reverberations of Basel 3 reforms."We trust that this report will not only provide you with valuable insights but also inspire strategic initiatives as we navigate the evolving banking landscape in 2024 and beyond," commented Omar Mahmoud – Partner, Head of Financial Services, KPMG in Qatar.

KPMG’s global revenue touches $36bln

Amid economic and geopolitical slowdowns, KPMG MESAC announced a 22.4-percent growth in the aggregate revenue of KPMG member firms (in local currency terms) in the region for the fiscal year ending 30 September 2023 (FY23). The announcement came in after KPMG International declared the annual globally aggregated revenues for KPMG firms of US$36b for FY23, marking an increase of 8 percent from FY22 (5 percent in US$).The financial figures highlight robust year-on-year growth, reinforced by a multi-disciplinary approach that binds together world-leading expertise and integrated capabilities.Commenting on the results, Dr. Rasheed Al-Qenae, Chairman of the KPMG MESAC region and Managing Partner, KPMG in Kuwait, said, “The financial results for FY23 are an outcome of our continued investments in strengthening the quality and trust agenda as well as in expanding our capabilities. We are committed to making the most of our multi-disciplinary model, ensuring sustainable growth in every domain we operate in. Despite increasing complexities in the economic and geopolitical landscapes, we are seeing new, more tangible opportunities emerge in the region. We are, both, well-equipped and well-positioned to cater to the needs of our clients, people, and the wider society, while maintaining a keen focus on driving progress in terms of our ESG initiatives.”KPMG member firms in the MESAC region also saw double-digit growth across all 3 core functions of Audit, Tax and Advisory, with the most notable upshot in Advisory revenue which climbed by more than 30% over the previous year. Globally, Audit revenues grew 9 percent on FY22, Advisory grew 7 percent, and Tax & Legal services grew 10 percent.The primary focus for KPMG in the MESAC region in FY23 remained strengthening capabilities with senior hires, particularly in areas such as digital and artificial intelligence (AI), project finance, deal advisory, managed services, forensic, dispute advisory and transfer pricing, as well as in sectors such as cities, defense, energy, and natural resources, among others. As a result, more than 4,200 people were hired across the KPMG MESAC region including 78 partners and directors, pushing the region’s combined talent pool upwards of 11,400 as of 30 September 2023.Additionally, bolstering resource mobilization and delivery capabilities through strategic alliances, particularly in the technology space, delivery networks and regional corridors, were among the key areas of focus for KPMG in the MESAC region.In line with this, the KPMG member firm in Kuwait appointed new Heads of Management Consulting, Audit, and ESG to propel its capabilities in the Advisory space further. Moreover, partners and employees of the firm are leveraging the KPMG Kuwait Impact Plan to ensure that businesses think beyond financial profits and move towards operational responsibilities for the collective good of the society.Looking at the next phase, Bill Thomas, Global Chairman & CEO, KPMG International, said, “As the world faces economic and geopolitical uncertainty and increasing complexity, KPMG has remained focused on harnessing the full breadth of our multi-disciplinary model, which has enabled us to deliver sustainable growth across all areas of the business.Guided by shared values, purpose and a strong KPMG culture, we remain driven to make a positive difference for clients, our people and society more widely. Through the next phase of our global Collective Strategy, KPMG firms are investing significantly in areas important to clients, including technology and ESG services, and in attracting and retaining the best talent in the market.”In the next phase of its global Collective Strategy, KPMG has outlined a collective investment of US$4.2b, placing a wider focus on high-impact opportunities, especially in technology, talent and ESG. It is anticipated that the extension in the term of present Global Chairman and CEO, Bill Thomas, to 30 September 2026, will ensure continuity of leadership and direction for KPMG for the next 3 years.

KPMG and Microsoft Collaborate on Innovative ESG Education Platform

KPMG, in collaboration with Microsoft and several prominent universities and institutions, has unveiled the KPMG ESG Academy, a scalable and adaptable learning platform designed to foster education and understanding of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters. This academy leverages the KPMG Learning Enablement and Analytics Platform, supported by Microsoft 365, Azure, Teams, and Microsoft Viva Learning, to deliver ESG-focused learning experiences within the workflow. The academy offers customizable content developed in collaboration with globally renowned ESG specialists from leading academic institutions and KPMG sustainability experts. It caters to various learning levels, from basic to advanced, enabling organizations to support their ESG initiatives effectively.The KPMG ESG Academy is a result of the extended global partnership between KPMG and Microsoft, aimed at accelerating digital solutions addressing ESG challenges. The platform is intended to help business leaders enhance their comprehension of ESG and navigate its evolving regulatory landscape for informed decision-making. With a strong commitment to innovation and sustainability, KPMG and Microsoft aim to consolidate ESG insights and information into a single platform to empower decision-makers.This initiative represents one of several digital solutions introduced by KPMG and Microsoft to assist businesses in their ESG journey. Earlier, the partnership introduced the KPMG Circularity Tracker, a solution facilitating a deeper understanding of ESG, automated data collection, and model-based calculations for circularity performance. The KPMG ESG Academy seeks to support decision-makers in Kuwait and beyond as they navigate the complexities of ESG and work towards building more sustainable and responsible businesses.

UAE CEOs more optimistic, outpace global counterparts in diversification: KPMG

UAE CEOs are better placed than their global counterparts to respond to an economic crisis, with 68% of local leaders diversifying their business compared to a mere 32% of global CEOs, putting them ahead of their global counterparts by at least six months. This is according to the latest findings of the KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook Survey, which polled 1,325 CEOs from 43 countries, including 25 from the UAE.UAE CEOs remain optimistic about their business prospects, with 60% of them expecting earnings to increase 2.5 to 4.5% annually over the next three years, which is more than twice the number of CEOs worldwide.ESG also emerged a key priority, with more than two-thirds of global and UAE CEOs expressing significant demand from stakeholders to increase reporting and transparency in the future. This follows the UAE’s heavy investments in the green economy for the last 10 years and its announcement to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050, the first Gulf country to do so. In 2023, the UAE will also host COP28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference.Nader Haffar, Chairman and CEO of KPMG Lower Gulf, said: “The UAE has one of the most diversified economies in the region, which has enabled it to withstand a number of challenges, right from the global pandemic to geopolitical uncertainly and macro-economic challenges. The government’s comprehensive diversification program for a knowledge-driven economy backed by technology and sustainable development has pivoted the nation forward. This year’s edition of the CEO Outlook survey shows that the UAE is set for unprecedented growth, powered by a hybrid workforce and enhanced digital capabilities as a result of improved IT infrastructure, a focus on cybersecurity and diversified supply chains.”This sentiment comes as a vast majority of CEOs worldwide are expecting a recession in the next 12 months, with 86% saying they agree an economic downturn is coming. In the UAE, the situation is quite different, with only 24% of CEOs expecting a recession. However, local CEOs were less confident about growth prospects for the global economy, with only 56% expressing confidence in global growth over the next three years, compared to 71% of CEOs worldwide.Robust national policies, including Vision 2021 and Vision 2030, which set out to transform the country into a competitive knowledge-driven economy, have put the country on an accelerated path to growth. The UAE posted its strongest growth in more than a decade, driven by a sharp increase in oil production and a noticeable improvement in non-oil GDP. According to the UAE Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the UAE economy grew by 8.2% in the first quarter of 2022, with total annual growth projected to exceed 5% and inflation expected to remain well below the global average.The survey also revealed that a vast majority (96%) of UAE CEOs reported having an aggressive digital strategy in place, which was much higher than the global figure of 72%. Furthermore, given the rising threat of cyber-attacks, 92% of UAE respondents said their organizations were well-prepared for a cyberattack, compared to 56% of global CEOs.