India happens to be the most promising and lucrative locations for expansion for multiple reasons. We are expanding our India presence, in areas of Analytics, business technology, banking operations and technology support. We are investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence (AL), Machine Learning (ML), Enterprise mobility and robotics, says Santhosh Mahalingam, Managing Director, Mashreq Global Services, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
Give us an overview of Mashreq Global and its experience in India so far.
Mashreq Global Services (MGS) is the captive centre of Mashreq Bank, which was established in 1967, by the Al-Ghurair Group, and is one of United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) leading financial institutions and the largest private sector bank in the UAE. We have a financial institution-centric presence in international financial centres such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Mumbai. We also have a widespread network with 44 branches in the UAE and 20 representative offices in MENA, Asia, Europe and the United States enabling them to finance regional trade flows. Mashreq Bank has been publicly listed since inception and is listed on the Dubai Financial Markets since the creation of the local stock exchange.
Mashreq Global Services has been in Bengaluru for 15 years now. Our experience so far has been good and we are ready to take our operations to the next level. We are now looking at ramping up, as people here have a competent skill set to match the global demands of the industry. The city is known for its unique ecosystem of start-ups. We are looking for people in various areas of operations like analytics, compliance, among many others.
Why did you choose India for expansion?
India happens to be the most promising and lucrative locations for expansion for multiple reasons. We are confident in the future of the Indian economy. Mashreq has been present in India for close to four decades and thus have a good understanding of the market conditions. We have a Branch in Mumbai since 1980, which was focused only on the business of Financial Institutions until recently. Keeping in mind the growing trade and bilateral relations between India and UAE, we have now enhanced our business model to include corporate banking business too.
India has played a great role in shaping up the IT sector in the last two decades, the digital revolution and in producing the best human resources from around the world. We expect India to achieve a great economic and development momentum and be at par with the world’s top economies. Digital and broader technology advances are challenging the customary ways of doing business – banks need to constantly keep track of evolving customer preferences and adapt themselves to the change. We believe that India has the right talent pool to cater to all the digital and technological needs of the bank.
What are your investments and growth plans in India?
We are now expanding our India presence, in areas of Analytics, business technology, banking operations and technology support. We are investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence (AL), Machine Learning (ML), Enterprise mobility and robotics. We have been working in this space for the last one year and it is driving our cost efficiencies and improving customer experience as well.
The productivity has significantly increased by the virtue of deploying robots. In some areas, it is improved by 30-40 percent. Application of AI and ML to different functions have enabled us to offer a far more personalised and efficient customer service. In addition, we have been able to gain better insights into our customers’ preference and expectations from the bank and automation of back-end workflows have shown better outcomes. We are exploring investments in cloud.
Indian banking sector is transforming massively due to “Digital India”. What innovations have you planned in the country in alignment to the flagship programme?
We have been able to develop a fairly robust capability in Mashreq Global Services for Artificial Intelligence (AL), Machine Learning (ML), Enterprise mobility and Robotics. We have set up a centre of excellence and in the past 12 months, we have been able to deliver a meaningful impact, both to the customer experience as well as in helping drive efficiencies. Harnessing robots and AI results in savings in both costs and time, as well as minimal or negligible error rates, and better compliance for the regulatory industry. We closely work with start-ups to identify and deliver innovative solutions to increase efficiency and improve customer service.
Give us an overview of your future plans in India.
We have already enhanced our workforce by 200 employees and would be hiring 200 more in the next 6 months. Apart from technology support, we are looking at Bengaluru to develop capabilities in areas like Banking Operations, Risk Management, Business Intelligence and designing our financial products out of India. We are also looking at hiring senior global bankers to the leadership team at MGS.