This article is paid for and produced by Path Solutions as part of the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2017. The report can be downloaded from HERE.
Can you give us a brief background of the business Path Solutions is involved in, highlighting your regional focus?
Path Solutions is a leading information technology solutions provider offering a broad, deep spectrum of Sharia-compliant software solutions and services to the Islamic financial marketplace, covering the entire range of Islamic Banking, Retail and Corporate Banking, Investment and Financing, Treasury, Asset Management, Risk Management, and Regulatory Reporting in GCC and Global Capital Markets.
Our turnkey solutions are based on an open, flexible architecture and an established deployment methodology. They have been tested and implemented at some of the world’s most sophisticated Islamic banks, Islamic banking windows as well as conventional banks converting into Islamic banking operations.
We help our clients to manage all their front-office and back-office software needs, meet Sharia and regulatory requirements, cut costs, increase their market share, and exceed their customer expectations.
Through our four world-class R&D centers, we optimize design and execution of our technologies. Our multilingual team combines deep technical expertise with industry know-how to provide a market-leading array of professional services, and they are the driving force behind our track record of successful implementations.
Path Solutions enjoys a strong presence across the Middle East, GCC, Africa, Asia Pacific, South America and United Kingdom with over 120 forward-thinking Islamic financial institutions using its core banking system, strengthening its position as the undisputed leader in the Islamic financial services marketplace. The company has been recognized and widely acclaimed by industry top analysts including Gartner, Forrester, CEB TowerGroup, Aite Group, IDC, Celent and IBS Intelligence.
How did Path Solutions determine that the Islamic Finance industry was an attractive opportunity to address?
Having performed an in-depth market analysis, Path Solutions recognized the gap in providing specific technology solutions servicing the Islamic finance sector and endeavored to fulfill that need by providing cutting-edge Sharia-compliant software solutions.
We have actually realized the potential of Islamic finance at a quite early stage, and started developing solutions for the sector in 1990s. We took the route of building full-packaged solutions for Islamic banks, investment banks, financing companies, and microfinance institutions. We have enjoyed tremendous success since inception, and today there are over 120 Islamic financial institutions worldwide that use our Sharia-compliant core banking system and peripheral modules.
What steps did Path Solutions take to expand both its product offering and geographical coverage across the OIC?
Throughout our history, we have always been working rigorously on two fronts, the Sharia-compliant front, and the advanced technology and innovation front. In recent years, we have been investing heavily in Mobility, Cloud, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence to bring all this into our offerings. We have already introduced new and improved BI, Risk Management, IFRS9 and Cash Management solutions characterized by flexible technical and open architecture. We are also expanding our eChannels, so that our clients could offer the best digital open services to their customers, run more efficient operations and gain insight into their businesses. In addition, we will continue to grow our line of Sharia-compliant software solutions, invest and launch next-generation banking applications, thus meeting clients and market expectations.
On the geography side, international expansion remains high on our agenda as wherever Islamic finance goes you will find us, and we feel that Islamic finance will continue to show growth in 2018 throughout the globe, thus we intend to expand further in Africa and into new geographies. Exciting times are ahead of us at Path Solutions!
What are the challenges for Path Solutions in the wider Global Islamic Economy?
Islamic finance faces major challenges; unlike the conventional finance segment, as it is still young, evolving and lacking standards in many areas. This requires from technology providers to develop solutions for this segment that are flexible, adaptable and extendable. In many countries, the bank Sharia board still dictates what is possible and what is not, and how to structure a financial product. The solutions thus need to allow for such variations and sometimes these variations are major. In addition, on the regulatory side, Islamic finance is heavily regulated, so the solutions provided need to be comprehensive to meet the requirements of these regulations.
Another major challenge for Path Solutions, is the awareness of the specificity of the industry and the need for Sharia-compliant software. Many decision makers who are making the selection of core banking systems, usually have come from a conventional bank or have no previous Islamic banking experience, so they don’t fully understand the difference between a conventional core banking system and a Sharia-compliant one. Conventional core banking system providers add to this confusion by claiming they support Islamic banking requirements. It takes tremendous effort from us to educate potential clients on the differences and what it means to have a core banking system built from the ground up to be Sharia-compliant.
Which financial technology trends will have a significant impact in particular on the Islamic Finance industry? How is Path Solutions positioning itself to take advantage of these developments?
The Islamic finance segment just like its conventional counterpart is going through a revolution of disrupting factors that will change this industry forever. New types of institutions will be created such as online banks and some fintechs will compete with financial institutions by providing financial services such as mobile payments and crowd funding; many telcos are already providing banking services through their networks; and global technology and social media giants are intruding in this space, such as Apple, Google and Facebook. Huge risks and major challenges but also amazing opportunities are presenting themselves.
Path Solutions will continue to align itself with the different needs of its clients, and will continue to be a true technology partner to all, and of course the technology leader in this segment. We will increase the breadth of our solutions by providing more innovative solutions in areas we don’t currently cover, and more solutions to new businesses and new business models. In addition, we will continue to focus on increasing the depth of our suite of solutions and provide richer features for an efficient and more engaging customer experience. And we will be investing heavily into advancing our technology platform with Mobility, Cloud, Blockchain, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.
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Mohammed Kateeb, Group Chairman and CEO of Path Solutions, is an established leader, known for being results-driven, dynamic and highly entrepreneurial. He has a diverse experience in building businesses, teams and identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities for over 30 years in the USA, UK and the Middle East. Before joining Path Solutions, Mohammed has spent 11 years as an executive with Microsoft. He is also known as a key contributor to the region’s Telecommunication, Media and Information Technology industry. Currently, Mohammed serves as member of the Board of Trustees of IRTI, an affiliate of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDBG) to develop a technology-enabled Islamic financial services sector to foster Islamic financial inclusion.
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