KPMG wins GCC advisory awards at international competition

20 April 2022 4 min. read
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The Lower Gulf member firm of KPMG has bagged two international awards for excellence in the GCC region, with its Financial Services and Digital & Innovation advisory teams managing to outflank its industry peers to take home prestigious recognitions.

The Capital Finance International awards is an annual global ceremony that recognises excellence in economics, finance and business, with winners announced across region, sectors, and categories at both a company and individual level.

In the GCC region, a cohort of well-known brands came out on top in their respective categories, including Abu Dhabi Global Market, Credit Suisse, Etihad Credit Insurance, Kuwait International Bank, Sabic, and Saudi Aramco, with KPMG winning two of the Advisory categories.

KPMG wins GCC advisory awards at international competition

Best Financial Services team in the GCC

KPMG’s first award was in the Financial Services category, with the firm lauded for its “deep track record in the regional banking, insurance, capital markets, asset & wealth management and fintech sectors” built over the past 24 months (the time span for the awards).

Work noted by the jury included: assisting numerous UAE banks with implementing International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) models, working on some of the most complex and high-impact mergers & acquisitions in the Emirati and Omani banking sector, and helping several banking clients with cybersecurity strategy and deployment.

KPMG’s expert also helped banks with evaluated banks for credit and fraud risk exposure, leading outsourcing projects for IT and compliance functions, and implementing corporate governance framework and practices in line with regulatory requirements and global leading practices.

Meanwhile, in the insurance sector, “impressive client case studies” noted by the jury included: dealmaking four deals, implementing regulatory compliance programs, and enhancing operations with the power of data and technology.

Beyond client work, KPMG further caught the eye of the independent jury for the “quality of its thought leadership”, the efforts it puts into “informing sectors including high ranked stakeholders”, and “wider contributions to communities”.

“With unparalleled experience in advisory services, KPMG has the depth of knowledge and breadth of skills needed to guide financial services players navigate their strategic challenges,” summarised the jury report of Capital Finance International.

At an individual level, a group of KPMG partners received praise for their leadership in leading the Financial Services practice – Abbas Basrai, Farhan Syed, Goncalo Traquina, Luke Ellyard, Paritosh Gambhir, and Emilio Pera.

Best Digital & Innovation Advisory team in the GCC

The fundaments for KPMG’s win in the Digital & Innovation Advisory category was again tied to the firm’s client track record. Notable projects that received plaudits include working with a healthcare regulator on the development of an AI-powered simulator to aid policymakers with disease impact management, and helping the UAE’s banking sector test their defences in a cyber wargaming exercise.

The Big Four firm also led the digital transformation journey of a large regional hospital, and guided a large government agency with accelerating its technology adoption.

“Over the past two years, KPMG Lower Gulf has worked on many impressive digital and innovation projects for regional clients in the banking, public health and government sectors,” noted the jury report.

On top of that, the firm’s Digital & Innovation Advisory team has “produced a vast array of thought leadership reports”, “organised events, forums and webinars on everything from smart cities and cybersecurity to artificial intelligence and open data”, and “invested heavily in the capabilities” of the practices that underpin its end-to-end offering.

Leaders of the Digital & Innovation Advisory team include Mohamad Majid, Dimitrios Petropoulos, Fady Kassatly, Timothy Wood, Farhan Syed, and Hiren Amin.

Nader Haffar and Talal Cheikh Elard

On receiving the awards, Nader Haffar, Chairman and CEO of KPMG Lower Gulf, said: “These award wins are an important driver to promote the firm’s eminence. The judging panel recognised our deep expertise and strength within these areas. We are proud of the achievements of our teams!”

Talal Cheikh Elard, Head of Client and Markets at KPMG Lower Gulf, added: “We are proud been named the GCC’s top advisory firm for Financial Services and Digital & Innovation at the global CFI awards.”

In the Lower Gulf, KPMG has approximately 1,800 people across the UAE and Oman, including about 192 partners and directors. Globally, the KPMG network has over 236,000 professionals in over 145 countries.