Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top four technologies in 2010 for banks

MEFTEC 2010,
the sixth year that Bahrain has hosted the Middle East’s largest financial technology conference and exhibition.

This year’s conference has the theme ‘Innovation amidst regulation’ as a result of the imminent implementation of new rules and regulations across the global banking markets. The G20 summits and the never-ending announcements of rules related to liquidity and capital reserves seem to rumble regularly, and yet little has yet been implemented. This will change in 2010 through the next five years or more, as the US Federal Reserve and UK Treasury work closely with the Finance Ministers of all countries to agree the correct approach for future operations.

South Asia, Middle East and Africa – the SAMEA Region – has clearly been affected by this crisis with the visible default on the Dubai’s debt in November, just as the Burj Khalifa opened. Less visible has been the stress on SAMEA banks, with many smaller banks suffering from Non-Performing Loans (NPLs). Ratings agency Standard & Poor has said it believes that 2010 will be another difficult year for Gulf-based banks, for example, due to the issues in cleaning up the loan books. In their most recent figures, about one-third of S&P’s ratings on banks in the GCC have a negative outlook.

"We see a growing disparity in credit quality among banks in the Gulf, between the stronger Saudi and Qatari banks on the one hand and the relatively weaker Dubai, Kuwaiti, and Bahraini investment banks on the other," said S&P credit analyst Mohamed Damak.

Even with Saudi banks being viewed as having strength, it is only the larger Saudi banks. For example, the Kingdom announced in February that the global financial slowdown and the ensuing local debt default crisis have exposed the vulnerability of small and medium banks in Saudi Arabia, as they have chopped off a large chunk of their funds for bad loan provisions.

The result is that NPL to total loans ratios doubled between 2008 and 2009, reaching 5.4% on average by September 30th 2009 compared with 2.7% at year-end 2008.

This change in focus means that SAMEA banks, like Western banks, are cutting back on loans and risk, and gearing towards the new macroprudential supervisory structures the G20 are developing for global management of financial markets. These macroprudential supervisory structures demand change in five areas:

- Liquidity Management
- Bank Corporate Governance structures
- Capital Adequacy Reserves
- Risk Management
- Procyclicality measures

And all of these will have impacts on internal systems and controls. For example, real-time risk management, liquidity management and counterparty positioning will be a clear focal point for next generation systems developments. Equally the whole nature of trade and liquidity reporting, requiring ever increasing levels of bank transparency in processes, will be a key focus.

Alongside all of these regulatory developments are innovations of course, such as the distribution and delivery technologies focused around mobile telephones and particularly the iPhone.

Therefore, in setting the theme of this year’s MEFTEC around “innovation amidst regulation”, there are a number of technologies that we see as key to addressing the regulatory and innovatory requirements of the 2010s.

Specifically, there are four technology areas we have handpicked for focus, namely:

(1) Mobile Services
(2) Social Media
(3) Cloud Computing
(4) Low Latency

These four technology buckets play a critical role in all aspects of society and banking. This is not the say that the list is exhaustive – video, biometrics, security and fraud systems and more are all just as critical. Just that these four are top of mind for 2010.

Equally, this does not reflect the business imperatives around risk management and reporting, Islamic banking, microfinance and remittances, infrastructural change for payments processing and more. But that these technologies can provide support and address the needs for change in these business imperatives.

A brief review of each of these technology areas shows the impact they are having on these business needs.

Mobile Services
When M-PESA launched in Kenya, it transformed a country from zero infrastructure for monetary movements to a wirelessly connected country that now had instantaneous and cheap payments processing. The results have been transformational. Before the mobile remittance service launched, Kenyans could only move monies from Nairobi to the remote villages by paying a driver to physically transport the cash. That was expensive and fraught with dangers of theft and loss. The M-PESA service launched in 2007, in a partnership between Safaricom (a division of Vodafone) and the government. Within a year the service had 1.5 million users and today has eight million. 10% of Kenya’s GDP moves through the mobile remittance service and it makes Vodafone’s Safaricom the largest bank in Kenya.

That’s transformational.

Equally transformational has been the iPhone, where the apps have created a massive new market for microtransactions. The iTunes store saw over a billion downloads across 100,000 apps within nine months of launch, and today has exceeded four billion downloads. These downloads cover everything from entertainment to news, flight times to buying and selling stocks and shares. The result is that a bank is clearly now in people’s hands 24*7 and the phone itself is more important as a lifestyle accessory today than a watch or a wallet.

That’s transformational.

In looking at such transformations, we have to ask: what is your bank doing to exploit these opportunities?

Social Media
In the last five years, along with the mobile transformation, there has been a revolution in communications via technology. The social revolution. This social revolution is reflected in key developments demonstrated by the massive societal move to use Facebook, and its localised equivalents. Facebook has over 400 million users. It is the largest communication, entertainment, news and discussion channel on the planet. It has more influence with more people than their teachers, bankers, politicians and business leaders.

That’s transformational.

Alongside the march of Facebook has been the correlated developments of Twitter. Viewed by many as a transient phenomena, the reason why Twitter hit the news is that it provides the news, in real-time. The typical users of Twitter are actually over 35-yeras of age, and they use it to keep up with the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN and other news services, as well as the most influential voices in their business and social communities. The fact that Twitter allowed the world to be informed of the Haitian Earthquake, the G20 protests and the Iranian revolts in real-time demonstrated the power of connections to any individual on the planet in real-time globally.

That’s transformational.

In looking at such transformations, we have to ask: what is your bank doing to exploit these opportunities?

Cloud Computing
For many years, banks have been seeking to maximise the efficiency of operations by leveraging compute power. In the 1970s, the compute power was expensive and much of it required bespoke in-house developments. During the 1980s, it became distributed and more specialised applications could be deployed. The 1990s saw the advent of large-scale client-server systems and the origins of today’s outsourced structures. Throughout the 2000s, outsourcing became more complex with nearshore and offshore management structures and the idea of compute power now being a complicated soup of internal and external resourcing.

Cloud computing merely takes this towards a logical conclusion and, as some folks refer to it, makes the original mainframe in-house service an outhouse service. What they mean by this is that you can now plug into massively scalable compute power with your own applications on a pay-as-you-go basis. You have the control of the mainframe structure, but with the flexibility of usage that is purely based upon compute power being used when and as you need it.

That’s transformational.

It moves capital expenditure for computing off the table, as it’s now just operational expenditure on a variable cost basis,

That’s truly transformational.

In looking at such transformations, we have to ask: what is your bank doing to exploit these opportunities?

Low Latency
During the past few years, the world’s investment markets have revolutionised thanks to algorithmic trading. But it didn’t stop there. Algo trading moved into high frequency trading, and the result has been a massive focus on speeds and feeds and the need for minimal latency, or delays, in the way trades are processed and executed.

This low latency focus led to a battle over speed between execution venues and stock exchanges, with BATS in the USA stealing a march on NYSE and NASDAQ whilst Chi-X in Europe beat the living daylights out of the London Stock Exchange, Deutsche Bourse and NYSE Euronext.

Now all is dark pools, high frequency trading based upon nanoseconds of processing. And if you’re not in the front nanosecond, then you’re dead meat.

That’s transformational.

But it goes way beyond processing trades on city servers to financial markets general. For example, recent legislation in some countries dictate that processing payments must take place in real-time. Elsewhere, risk management reporting and liquidity management positioning must be delivered in real-time. In fact, financial services per se – from consumer’s self-servicing online to corporate cash management positions to treasury management overall – are all changing from batch to real-time.

That’s transformational.

In looking at such transformations, we have to ask: what is your bank doing to exploit these opportunities?

भज गोविन्दं (Bhaj Govindam)

भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं
गोविन्दं भजमूढमते .
संप्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले
नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ्करणे .. १..

Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool !
Rules of grammar will not save you at the time of your death.

मूढ जहीहि धनागमतृष्णां
कुरु सद्बुद्धिं मनसि वितृष्णाम् .
यल्लभसे निजकर्मोपात्तं
वित्तं तेन विनोदय चित्तम् .. २..

Oh fool ! Give up your thrist to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts to the Real . Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past.

नारीस्तनभर नाभीदेशं
दृष्ट्वा मागामोहावेशम् .
एतन्मांसावसादि विकारं
मनसि विचिन्तय वारं वारम् .. ३..

Do not get drowned in delusion by going wild with passions and
lust by seeing a woman's navel and chest . These are nothing but
a modification of flesh . Fail not to remember this again and
again in your mind.

नलिनीदलगत जलमतितरलं
तद्वज्जीवितमतिशयचपलम् .
विद्धि व्याध्यभिमानग्रस्तं
लोकं शोकहतं च समस्तम् .. ४..

The life of a person is as uncertain as rain drops trembling on a
lotus leaf . Know that the whole world remains a prey to
disease, ego and grief.

यावद्वित्तोपार्जन सक्तः
स्तावन्निज परिवारो रक्तः .
पश्चाज्जीवति जर्जर देहे
वार्तां कोऽपि न पृच्छति गेहे .. ५..

So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see
what affection all those around him show . But no one at home
cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to
old age.

यावत्पवनो निवसति देहे
तावत्पृच्छति कुशलं गेहे .
गतवति वायौ देहापाये
भार्या बिभ्यति तस्मिन्काये .. ६..

When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his
welfare . But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife
runs away in fear of the corpse.

तरुणस्तावत्तरुणीसक्तः .
परे ब्रह्मणि कोऽपि न सक्तः .. ७..

The childhood is lost by attachment to playfulness . Youth is lost by
attachment to woman . Old age passes away by thinking over many
things . But there is hardly anyone who wants to be lost in

काते कान्ता कस्ते पुत्रः
संसारोऽयमतीव विचित्रः .
कस्य त्वं कः कुत आयातः
तत्त्वं चिन्तय तदिह भ्रातः .. ८..

Who is your wife ? Who is your son ? Strange is this samsaara, the world.
Of whom are you ? From where have you come ? Brother, ponder
over these truths.

सत्सङ्गत्वे निस्स्ङ्गत्वं
निस्सङ्गत्वे निर्मोहत्वम् .
निर्मोहत्वे निश्चलतत्त्वं
निश्चलतत्त्वे जीवन्मुक्तिः .. ९..

From satsanga, company of good people, comes non-attachment,
from non-attachment comes
freedom from delusion, which leads to self-settledness . From
self-settledness comes Jiivan muktii.

वयसिगते कः कामविकारः
शुष्के नीरे कः कासारः .
क्षीणेवित्ते कः परिवारः
ज्ञाते तत्त्वे कः संसारः .. १०..

What good is lust when youth has fled ? What use is a lake
which has no water ? Where are the relatives when wealth is
gone ? Where is samsaara, the world, when the Truth is known ?

मा कुरु धन जन यौवन गर्वं
हरति निमेषात्कालः सर्वम् .
मायामयमिदमखिलं हित्वा
ब्रह्मपदं त्वं प्रविश विदित्वा .. ११..

Do not boast of wealth, friends, and youth . Each one of these
are destroyed within a minute by time . Free yourself from the
illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth.

दिनयामिन्यौ सायं प्रातः
शिशिरवसन्तौ पुनरायातः .
कालः क्रीडति गच्छत्यायुः
तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशावायुः .. १२..

Daylight and darkness, dusk and dawn, winter and springtime
come and go . Time plays and life ebbs away . But the storm of
desire never leaves.

कथितो वैयाकरणस्यैषः .
उपदेशो भूद्विद्यानिपुणैः
श्रीमच्छन्करभगवच्छरणैः .. १२अ ..

This bouquet of twelve verses was imparted to a grammarian
by the all-knowing Shankara, adored as the bhagavadpada.

काते कान्ता धन गतचिन्ता
वातुल किं तव नास्ति नियन्ता .
त्रिजगति सज्जनसं गतिरैका
भवति भवार्णवतरणे नौका .. १३..

Oh mad man ! Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth ? Is
there no one to guide you ? There is only one thing in three
worlds that can save you from the ocean of samsaara, get into
the boat of satsanga, company of good people, quickly.
Stanza attributed to Padmapada.

जटिलो मुण्डी लुञ्छितकेशः
काषायाम्बरबहुकृतवेषः .
पश्यन्नपि चन पश्यति मूढः
उदरनिमित्तं बहुकृतवेषः .. १४..

There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean
shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are
clothed in orange, yet others in various colors --- all just for
a livelihood . Seeing truth revealed before them, still the
foolish ones see it not.
Stanza attributed to Totakacharya.

अङ्गं गलितं पलितं मुण्डं
दशनविहीनं जतं तुण्डम् .
वृद्धो याति गृहीत्वा दण्डं
तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशापिण्डम् .. १५..

Strength has left the old man's body; his head has become bald,
his gums toothless and leaning on crutches . Even then the
attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless desires.
Stanza attributed to Hastamalaka.

अग्रे वह्निः पृष्ठेभानुः
रात्रौ चुबुकसमर्पितजानुः .
तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशापाशः .. १६..

Behold there lies the man who sits warming up his body with the
fire in front and the sun at the back; at night he curls up the
body to keep out of the cold; he eats his beggar's food from
the bowl of his hand and sleeps beneath the tree . Still in his
heart, he is a wretched puppet at the hands of passions.
Stanza attributed to Subodha.

कुरुते गङ्गासागरगमनं
व्रतपरिपालनमथवा दानम् .
ज्ञानविहिनः सर्वमतेन
मुक्तिं न भजति जन्मशतेन .. १७..

One may go to Gangasagar, observe fasts, and give away riches
in charity ! Yet, devoid of jnana, nothing can give mukthi even
at the end of a hundred births.
Stanza attributed to vaartikakaara.

सुर मंदिर तरु मूल निवासः
शय्या भूतल मजिनं वासः .
सर्व परिग्रह भोग त्यागः
कस्य सुखं न करोति विरागः .. १८..

Take your residence in a temple or below a tree, wear the
deerskin for the dress, and sleep with mother earth as your
bed . Give up all attachments and renounce all comforts . Blessed
with such vairgya, could any fail to be content ?
Stanza attributed to nityaananda.

योगरतो वाभोगरतोवा
सङ्गरतो वा सङ्गवीहिनः .
यस्य ब्रह्मणि रमते चित्तं
नन्दति नन्दति नन्दत्येव .. १९..

One may take delight in yoga or bhoga, may have attachment or
detachment . But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman
enjoys bliss, no one else . Stanza attributed to anandagiriH.

भगवद् गीता किञ्चिदधीता
गङ्गा जललव कणिकापीता .
सकृदपि येन मुरारि समर्चा
क्रियते तस्य यमेन न चर्चा .. २०..

Let a man read but a little from giitaa, drink just a drop of
water from the ganges, worship but once muraari . He then will
have no altercation with Yama . Stanza attributed to

पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं
पुनरपि जननी जठरे शयनम् .
इह संसारे बहुदुस्तारे
कृपयाऽपारे पाहि मुरारे .. २१..

Born again, death again, again to stay in the mother's womb !
It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of samsaara . Oh
Murari ! Redeem me through Thy mercy.
Stanza attributed to nityanaatha.

रथ्या चर्पट विरचित कन्थः
पुण्यापुण्य विवर्जित पन्थः .
योगी योगनियोजित चित्तो
रमते बालोन्मत्तवदेव .. २२..

There is no shortage of clothing for a monk so long as there
are rags cast off the road . Freed from vices and virtues, onward
he wanders . One who lives in communion with god enjoys bliss,
pure and uncontaminated, like a child and as an intoxicated.
Stanza attributed to nityanaatha.

कस्त्वं कोऽहं कुत आयातः
का मे जननी को मे तातः .
इति परिभावय सर्वमसारम्
विश्वं त्यक्त्वा स्वप्न विचारम् .. २३..

Who are you ? Who am I ? From where do I come ? Who is my
mother, who is my father ? Ponder thus, look at everything as
essenceless and give up the world as an idle dream.
Stanza attributed to surendra.

त्वयि मयि चान्यत्रैको विष्णुः
व्यर्थं कुप्यसि मय्यसहिष्णुः .
भव समचित्तः सर्वत्र त्वं
वाञ्छस्यचिराद्यदि विष्णुत्वम् .. २४..

In me, in you and in everything, none but the same Vishnu
dwells . Your anger and impatience is meaningless . If you wish
to attain the status of Vishnu, have samabhaava, equanimity, always.
Stanza attributed to medhaatithira.

शत्रौ मित्रे पुत्रे बन्धौ
मा कुरु यत्नं विग्रहसन्धौ .
सर्वस्मिन्नपि पश्यात्मानं
सर्वत्रोत्सृज भेदाज्ञानम् .. २५..

Waste not your efforts to win the love of or to fight against friend and foe, children and relatives . See yourself in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely. Stanza attributed to medhaatithira.

कामं क्रोधं लोभं मोहं
त्यक्त्वाऽत्मानं भावय कोऽहम् .
आत्मज्ञान विहीना मूढाः
ते पच्यन्ते नरकनिगूढाः .. २६..

Give up lust, anger, infatuation, and greed . Ponder over your real nature . Fools are they who are blind to the Self . Cast into hell, they suffer there endlessly.
Stanza attributed to bhaarativamsha.

गेयं गीता नाम सहस्रं
ध्येयं श्रीपति रूपमजस्रम् .
नेयं सज्जन सङ्गे चित्तं
देयं दीनजनाय च वित्तम् .. २७..

Regularly recite from the Gita, meditate on Vishnu in your heart, and chant His thousand glories . Take delight to be with the noble and the holy . Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy. Stanza attributed to sumatir.

सुखतः क्रियते रामाभोगः
पश्चाद्धन्त शरीरे रोगः .
यद्यपि लोके मरणं शरणं
तदपि न मुञ्चति पापाचरणम् .. २८..

He who yields to lust for pleasure leaves his body a prey to
disease . Though death brings an end to everything, man does not
give-up the sinful path.

अर्थमनर्थं भावय नित्यं
नास्तिततः सुखलेशः सत्यम् .
पुत्रादपि धन भाजां भीतिः
सर्वत्रैषा विहिआ रीतिः .. २९..

Wealth is not welfare, truly there is no joy in it . Reflect
thus at all times . A rich man fears even his own son . This is
the way of wealth everywhere.

प्राणायामं प्रत्याहारं
नित्यानित्य विवेकविचारम् .
जाप्यसमेत समाधिविधानं
कुर्ववधानं महदवधानम् .. ३०..

Regulate the praaNa-s, life forces, remain unaffected by external influences
and discriminate between the real and the fleeting . Chant the
holy name of God and silence the turbulent mind . Perform these
with care, with extreme care.

गुरुचरणाम्बुज निर्भर भकतः
संसारादचिराद्भव मुक्तः .
सेन्द्रियमानस नियमादेवं
द्रक्ष्यसि निज हृदयस्थं देवम् .. ३१..

Oh devotee of the lotus feet of the Guru ! May thou be soon
free from Samsara . Through disciplined senses and controlled
mind, thou shalt come to experience the indwelling Lord of your
heart !

मूढः कश्चन वैयाकरणो
डुकृञ्करणाध्ययन धुरिणः .
श्रीमच्छम्कर भगवच्छिष्यै
बोधित आसिच्छोधितकरणः .. ३२..

Thus a silly grammarian lost in rules cleansed of his narrow
vision and shown the Light by Shankara's apostles.

भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं
गोविन्दं भजमूढमते .
नहि पश्यामो भवतरणे .. ३३..

Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool !
Other than chanting the Lord's names, there is no other way
to cross the life's ocean.

shortest form of ramayanam

आदौ राम: तपोवनादी गमनम , हत्व मृगमं कान्चानमं
वैदेही हरणमं , जटायु मरणमं , सुग्रीव संभाषणमं
बालि निग्रहं, समुद्र तरणमं, लंकापुरी दाहनं
पश्चात् रावण कुम्भकर्ण निधनं येत्तादि रामायणमं