Dec 13 - 19, 2004

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SZABIST PROFILE

Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology (SZABIST) is a chartered institute established through Legislative Act & approved by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Strongly research-oriented institute & world-class Business School, SZABIST is a degree-awarding institution affiliated with International Association of Universities (IAU), Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), Asia University Federation (AUF), Federation Universities of Islamic World (FUIW), and Association of SAARC Universities (ASU). With a highly reputed PhD program for postgraduate students, it has campuses located in some of the most prestigious areas of Karachi, Islamabad, Larkana in Pakistan, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Listed among the most renowned business schools, SZABIST was

 

 

rated as the best by BusinessWeek consecutively for four years (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) & ranked as Asia's best by both Asia Inc. (2003, 2004) & Asiaweek (1999 & 2000).

Dr Lateef Siddiqui HA has joined as Director SZABIST, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology, Larkana Campus on November 01, 2004. Harvard Alumnus, with a high-profile foreign PhD from Milan University, seat of Nobel Laureate Profs Ziegler & Natta, Dr Siddiqui has been a visiting scholar at UCLA teaching management sciences and engineering in renowned institutions both at home and overseas. With the latest skills, broad outlook and innovative research to cope up with the new challenges operating in highly competitive environments, and a highly successful career in the corporate sector as well, he was deeply involved in grass-root projects handling strategic operations at the top most levels. Possessed of a world-class awareness and vision-based approach to R & D activities, he speaks a number of foreign languages including German, French, Italian & Spanish, and participated in a number of advanced training programs/international seminars to develop leadership skills and cater for the fast changing landscape of management sciences, corporate sector and higher education.

KASB BANK CHOOSES ZRG INTERNATIONAL FOR CALL CENTER SOLUTION

KASB Bank has selected ZRG call center solution for their customer support and telebanking services. KASB Bank wanted to setup a flexible call center that could grow in the future in terms of capacity and functionality. After considerable evaluation of various bids, KASB Bank selected ZRG solution for their customer support call center. The cited reason for the selection includes reliability and flexibility of the solution, open standards based technology, locally available resources for customization and excellent track record of ZRG Intemational for banking call centers in Pakistan.

This was announced in a signing ceremony at KASB Head Office on Nov 29, 2004, where officials of KASB Bank and ZRG International signed the agreement.

Mr. Nasir Jamal CFO of KASB Bank while dilating on the benefits of call centers said: "State of the Art Call center from ZRG will enable us to provide highly personalized and prompt services to our valued customers 24 hours a day. With call center management tools such as the voice recording capabilities and online performance monitoring, we will be able to monitor and improve quality of service and productivity of our staff."

Mr. Ayub Butt, CEO of ZRG International said: "Call center solution based on Open Standards technology allows maximum integration, customization and scalability to the customers. The days of proprietary and closed architecture based technology are long gone because the traditional ACD technology had too many limitations and offered only partial functionality. Today, the businesses have realized the value that is available with the open standards based CTI technology."

SONERI BANK INSTALLS ITANIUM-2 PROCESSOR

Soneri Bank Limited (SBL) attained the milestone of being the first bank in Pakistan to install Intel Itanium-2 processor based servers in its data centre for the new core banking software application to achieve 64 bit processing performance.

Speaking at the ocasion, Safar Ali Lakhani, President, Soneri Bank Limited said, "Through this enhancement in our infrastructure we intend to serve our customers more efficiently and provide them with more efficient alternative delivery channels of electronic banking."

SIEMENS, UFONE SIGN $32M CONTRACT

Siemens Communications Mobile Networks announced recently it had won a 32 million dollar contract to provide mobile telephone services in Pakistan. "Providing scalable, tailor-made solutions to meet the needs of customers has positioned Siemens as the number one mobile service provider in Pakistan," said Soenke Peters, vice president and head of Siemens Communications, Middle East, in a statement from its headquarters in Dubai.

The new deal between Ufone and Siemens Communications enables Pakistan's second largest mobile operator to increase its subscriber base by 500,000 from its present 1.3 million subscribers.

 

 

DR. AAMIR LIAQUAT HUSSAIN CHIEF GUEST AT TCS HYDE PARK JUNIORS 2004 FINALS

TCS, a name recognized and respected as a professional, innovative and knowledge-based logistics/services enterprise, organized the final round of declamation contests under TCS Hyde Park Juniors 2004, a unique programme for grooming teenagers in the art of public speaking at the Royal Rodale Club, Karachi.

Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain, Minister of State for Religious Affairs was the chief guest at the occasion. TCS hyde park juniors 2004 is a free of cost TCS sponsored non-profit programme, open to school children from across the city and are interested in learning the finer points of affective speaking and presentation making.

A stimulating theme had been chosen for the event with the title of "All that glitters is not gold", which was designed to provide interesting insights from the participants as well as to give the participants a chance to stretch their imagination and come out with diverse discourses.

Haroon Basheer, CEO, TCS Pakistan in his opening remarks said, "The event is aimed at investing in the future of the country.... its youth. We operate with a mission to provide service and value to not only customers to contribute to their success initiatives, but we also at the core of our operations adopt numerous cause related initiative, as part of our good corporate citizenship programme. The TCS Hyde Park Juniors 2004 initiative will now be stretched to cover Urdu medium schools and we are also planning to go country wide. We hope to get support from government and private sector in our initiative."

FAYSAL ASSET MANAGEMENT MOVES TO PROMOTE MUTUAL FUNDS

Faysal Asset Management Limited (FAML), in its bid to promote mutual fund investments in Pakistan, is offering a 100 percent discount on upfront sales load for its flagship product, Faysal Balanced Growth Fund (FBGF). The offer is valid on all units of FBGF purchased during the month of December 2004 provided they are held until March 31, 2005.

"We strongly believe in Pakistan's economic recovery and feel this is the best time to promote an investment culture in this society," commented Ajaz Rahim, Director at FAML. "The savings of this country need to be efficiently utilized within the capital markets framework and a burgeoning mutual funds industry is a desired way to do it," he continued.

Highlighting the role of SECP, Ahsan Raza Durrani, Chief Executive at FAML, emphasized the strict regulatory environment in Pakistan and mentioned how diligently authorities were monitoring this industry. He went on to reiterate how it will protect small investors and strengthen their confidence in equity and debt markets. He further said that the performance of the fund since inception has been very satisfactory considering it was launched at a time when the KSE-100 index was at a previous all time high.

FBGF, like many other mutual funds, usually applies a 2.1 percent sales load when units are purchased. This charge is being waived throughout the month of December 2004. FBGF is a Rs. 1.89 billion open-ended fund that is managed by Faysal Asset Management Limited. FAML is co-owned by Faysal Bank Ltd, AKD Securities Ltd, and Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf.

YOUNG ARTIST FROM KARACHI TO REPRESENT PAKISTAN IN INTERNATIONAL ART COMPETITION

A budding young artist from Karachi will visit London representing Pakistan and see his work of art displayed in a celebration at Tate Modem as part of the Unilever International School's Art Project on 19 January 2005 alongside other artists from all over the world. The winning piece is entitled 'Friendship' and was created by 7 year old Maisam Ali from Shahwilayat School. A judge's comment on Maisam's piece was - 'Very strong concept. "I'll probably remember it all my life.. Original and draws you to it.'

The Unilever International Schools Art Project reflects Unilever's commitment to creativity, art, education and environmental responsibility. The Unilever Interntional Schools Art Project, now in its fourth year, encourages young people from around the world to create a painting, a sculpture or even a small installation on a given theme. This year thousands of young artists from 15 countries around the world including Brazil, China, Colombia, Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the UK have created works of art on the theme Connecting and Communicating.

ATLAS FUNDS ROAR AT THE KARACHI STOCK EXCHANGE

Atlas Asset Management Ltd. (AAML), an Atlas Group Company held a presentation, December 06, 2004 at the Karachi Stock Exchange to announce the subscription dates of its first closed-end mutual fund, Atlas Fund of Funds (AFF). Atlas Fund of Funds will be Pakistan's First Fund of Funds with a unique investment strategy of investing primarily in the mutual fund sector. The IPO subscription dates are December 13-16, 2004.

AAML launched its Atlas Stock Market Fund (ASMF) on November, 2004 in an impressive ceremony at which the Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Ishrat Hussain was the Chief Guest. ASMF was launched with a seed capital of Rs. 305 million and the IPO generated approximately Rs. 450 million. The total fund size by November 30, 2004 stood at Rs. 757 million approximately, in which in terms of numbers, more than 75% are individual investors, holding 8% of the fund size. The retirement funds' holding is 19%.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Nayab Fakhir Qazi head of marketing and sales said that the Atlas Fund of Funds (AFF) is not only the first fund of funds in Pakistan, but also the first sector-specific fund of its kind. It will mainly invest in closed-end funds and may also invest in open-ended funds. "The net asset of the closed-end sector have reached nearly Rupees thirty billion," she-said, "The turnover at the Karachi Stock Exchange during the ten months of the year was nearly 1.5 billion shares. The performance of the sector in terms of earning and pay-out has also improved. Both in terms of net asset and turnover, closed-end mutual fund sector is a vibrant sector". "The closed-end mutual funds are presently traded at a discount to their NAVs ranging from 8% to 34%. AFF's investment objective is to invest in closed-end mutual funds to take advantage of availability of such securities at discount to NAV in order to post higher return to its certificate holders."