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Mr. Swaied Alzahrani

Mr. Swaied Alzahrani

Chief Executive Officer

In 2021, Saudi Credit Bureau (SIMAH) celebrates its 19 years of great achievements and remarkable contributions to Saudi finance and healthier credit practices.

Total number of consumers reports stored in SIMAH database until 31st December 2020 is more than 18 million which explains Saudi Arabia Depth of Credit Information Index being 8 out of 8 in 2020. By achieving maturity of credit information industry, maximal stability of existing financial systems and build credit industry perception through promoting it as a neutral towards the local community and adding to the national economy, SIMAH works in 2020 to meet Saudi 2030 Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) objectives of highlighting the competitive position of the Saudi Arabia’s financial sector in the Middle East and in the world, enhancing best practices of credit information sharing industry based on reciprocity principles and in accordance with the Credit Information Law and its Implementing Regulation and tackling credit challenges in Saudi credit market so as to contribute to attracting investment in the Saudi financial sector.

Regionally, SIMAH and the Bahrain Credit Reference Bureau (Benefit) have started activating the signed agreement to share credit information. It is the first cross-border exchange of its kind in the MENA region. The bilateral agreement seeks to strengthen the supervisory roles entrusted to government regulating bodies and other related parties to protect the financial sector from the risks of improper financing practices, and to provide an efficient and reliable information infrastructure.

In 5th February 2020, the Ex-Governor of Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) HE Dr. Ahmad bin Abdulkarim Alkholifey inaugurates in Riyadh SIMAH National Trade Repository (SNTR) , which is concerned with the preservation of data for Over-The-Counter transactions .The unlisted financial derivative markets in central platforms contributed to the global financial crisis in 2008. Given that, the OTC contracts were bilateral between the client and the financial institution, and that they were flexible in their terms, provisions and structures, which caused great concern about credit risks to counterparties to financial institutions. In addition, it reduced the ability of market participants - most of them banks - to develop sufficient knowledge of activities and centers in the market has declined. This had weakened their ability to better assess potential risks of their operations, and then take appropriate measures to manage them in a way that contributes to the overall health of the financial system. SAMA has introduced a system for licensing trading data centers that requires meeting the governance and operating standards recommended by the Payments and Infrastructure Markets Committee (CPMI) and the International Organization of Securities Authorities (IOSCO). This includes standards related to governance, market transparency and data availability, operational reliability, access and sharing, data protection, record keeping, communication procedures and standards. After fulfilling all requirements by SAMA, SIMAH obtained the first license to establish and operate the first national trade repository to register all OTC financial derivatives.

SIMAH has become the first credit-reporting agency in the MENA region to have its own commercial trademarks in 2019. Established in 2002, operated since 2004 and issued more than 116 million credit reports since 2004 up to 31st December 2020 with data quality score of 100% SIMAH’s newly trademarks come as a further phase of SIMAH new identity. New trademarks registered by Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) crystalize FINDATA (a new innovative marketing concept in the credit reporting industry); SIMATI (consumer reporting system); SIMAT (commercial reporting system) and MOARIF (Legal Entity Identifier). In 2020, SIMAH has also registered SNTR (SIMAH National Trade Repository).

SIMAH has long realized the need to be adaptive and agile in its relationship with consumers and revealed the biggest perception and consumer experience study in 2020 to validate its current position and engineer its future strategy. The research was commissioned in 2019 while figures, analyses and outcome were revealed outcomes in 2020. The study covered over 13 administrative regions and a sample size of over 3,500 individual consumers and 500 corporates, making it the biggest and most comprehensive research ever conducted by SIMAH since 2004. 93% of the potential & current individual consumers researched were aware of SIMAH and an overall high perception index of 59, an evidence of the vitality of the brand by relentless targeting of campaigns over time and SIMAH’s obsession with consumer centricity. 71% of participants agree that SIMAH facilitates financial monitoring while 67% agree that SIMAH is an important entity. 61% of participants believe that SIMAH helps people manage their finances better.

MOARIF is the first Local Operating Unit in the MENA region accredited by Global Legal Entity Identifier Originations (GLIEF) and run by SIMAH to cover 18 countries. Data quality and comprehensives of MOARIF reached 100 % in 2020. Total LEIs issued by MOARID until 31st December 2020 is 802 LEIs. To Be Identified is a wide educational campaign supervised by SAMA & developed by SIMAH (as an official Local Operating Unit accredited by GLIEF) with an aims at prompting MOARIF and encouraging all legal entities to have their own LEIs. With participation of more than 87 entities, the campaign aimed at introducing the importance of an LEI and benefits of gaining LEIs.

To spread credit culture in Saudi market according to best international practices, SIMAH has participated on the National Strategy of Financial Literacy led by Saudi Central bank (SAMA) and SME Financing Awareness Program led by Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha'at). In 2020, SIMAH launched Amwalak 2 as one of wide financial programs that already started in 2019. With Amwalk 2, SIMAH aims to shed more light on a number of issues related to the financial and credit aspects of individual consumers in an effort to raise the level of financial literacy among consumers and introduce them to the importance of financial planning to organize and manage their financial resources. Amwalk 2 also aims to enhance the essential roles of SIMAH, being the first licensed credit bureau in Saudi market in helping consumers to assess their creditworthiness and guide them into optimal use of credit cards. Through Amwalk 2, SIMAH is actively contributing to the preservation of consumers’ rights following the eight credit principles, which are: neutrality, transparency, education and awareness, credit behavior, complaints, protection and confidentiality. It also seeks to stress the importance of a credit report in organizing and managing budgets, taking financing decisions and knowing financial obligations with credit donors.

In 2020, SIMAH has launched a new state-of-art website and innovative new App version (SIMATI) which are consistent with our aspirations and objectives of enjoying the pioneer position in the credit information industry locally, regionally and internationally. SIMAH’s launch of its new platforms represents its believe in the necessity of novelty and development to ensure the continuity of SIMAH’s uniqueness and in line with modern digital developments along with realizing strategic goals of Saudi Vision 2030 related to Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP). The launch of SIMAH’s modern platforms signifies a historical turning point in its pioneering journey. SIMAH strives diligently to achieve its strategic objectives with all relevant stakeholders, to establish its new creative identity, and upgrade its perception image among all consumers (individuals & business) in addition to the positive contribution to spreading financial culture.

Figures of SIMAH Care in 2019 and 2020 embody our national strategic objective to raise credit awareness; preserve consumers’ rights and accentuate our neutrality. We believe in SIMAH that one of the most important factors in care centres is not only achieving significant numbers and targets though this goes without saying ; it is the stability, continuity, strategic vision and expansion with innovative solutions. SIMAH Care now is thought of to be front-line of SIMAH image to deal with all consumers. Total beneficiaries served by of SIMAH Care in 2020 was 326,919. Total number of beneficiaries served by of SIMAH Care during 2018-2020 amounted to 847,577 consumers.

To carry out SIMAH strategic vision of increasing public satisfactory level of consumers, a new survey has been conducted by SIMAH Care and figures are really encouraging. Out of 169,058 consumers, 39,550 participated in the survey in 2020. 95% of callers were satisfied with agents while 80.37% were satisfied with SIMAH overall products & services. Total number of disputes resolved by SIMAH Care until 31st December 2020 is 149,784 cases. Turnaround Time (TAT) for dispute decreased remarkably from 21 days at the begging of 2018 to about 4 days at the end of 2020. Total number of disputes being resolved by SIMAH Care during 2018-2020 is 302,744 cases. Total answered calls in 2020 are 169,085 with an Average Response Rate (ARR) of 97 % and an Average Handling Time (AHT) of 3 Minutes.

To realize its members' commercial needs, SIMAH has developed notification services, benchmarks reports and SIMAH 360. SIMAH has generated more than 9 Million 360 transactions in 2020 while the total number of individual consumers stored in SIMATI is more than 1.5 Million.

Benchmarking reports are detailed reports that compare key metrics of the organization’s products and portfolio to the competitors. With this type of report, credit providers would be more able to prepare budgets, make informed business decisions & develop business forecasting. SIMAH 360 provides tools to analyze large batches of data and credit information and to develop clear strategies to achieve customer demands. This helps strengthen the decision-making process; reduce credit risk and increase profitability; increase the company's market share; create new, diversified products and develop its current product line. SIMAH 360 includes accurate information on more than 200 variables, including up-to-date credit performance information, SIMAH's assessment of creditworthiness (i.e. SIMAH score), geographical information and contact information derived from SIMAH's comprehensive database.

I am really pleased to be part of the successful team working together to achieve SIMAH’s ultimate goals. With over 138 employees from across the globe, SIMAH is an equal opportunity employer who recognizes the importance of diversity in the workplace. With more than 32% of the workforce as women (need to confirmation this with the HR), SIMAH offers great opportunities for women to participate and be a part of a vibrant and inspiring multicultural firm. We believe that competent employees will lead to more productivity, and in this manner optimize the SIMAH’S performance.

Finally, I want to seize this opportunity to express sincere appreciations to SAMA for their valuable guidance and wise directions. Gratitude is due to SIMAH’s Board of Directors for their strategic leadership. True thanks are extended really to our members who become partners towards sound and mature finance market. In conclusion, I have the honor to recognize and value the management team and all staff of SIMAH for their true endeavors in developing and achieving SIMAH’s objectives.