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Islamic Finance 'must adapt to new dynamics'

Manama, November 11, 2012

The global Islamic finance industry has witnessed phenomenal growth over the past decade, with the estimated asset size now exceeding $1 trillion, but it must adapt to the new dynamics of global finance for long term stability and sustainable growth, said an expert.

"The last several years has seen the international dimension of Islamic finance gaining tremendous significance as the industry continues to demonstrate its competitiveness and build scale in an increasingly globalised playing field," remarked David McLean, the chief executive of the upcoming World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in Bahrain.

The annual WIBC, which over the last 19 years has established its pre-eminent position as the world’s largest and most significant annual gathering of global Islamic finance industry leaders, will run fom December 9 to 11 in the Kingdom under the official support of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

Announcing the focus of this year’s gathering, McLean said, "The Islamic banking sector is undoubtedly well placed to play a vital role in facilitating cross-border financial flows particularly between the emerging economies which, in turn, stands to further increase the international participation in Islamic financial markets."

"As Islamic finance continues to become an increasingly important component of the global financial system, it is also essential that the industry adapts to the new dynamics of global finance in order to achieve sustainable growth," he added.

The conference, being held under the theme ‘Islamic Finance: Adapting to the New Dynamics of Global Finance’, will be a key enabling platform for industry players to innovate the next generation of Islamic finance solutions that will meet the increasingly complex needs of corporate borrowers, consumers, issuers and investors; and create the conditions that will build a more globally harmonised footprint for their institution - that, if achieved, will propel the Islamic finance industry to the next level of success, said McLean.

The three-day event will kick off on December 9 with a series of pragmatically focused pre-conference summits led by experienced and respected international industry standard-setting bodies and experts.

The main WIBC 2012 conference, which begins on December 10, will be inaugurated by Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, CBB Governor.

The inaugural address will be immediately followed by a special opening keynote address by Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi, the CEO and GM of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), Saudi Arabia.

The session, focusing on capacity building to support the international development of Islamic finance, will discuss key initiatives that will enhance the supervisory architecture facilitating harmonization, cross-border linkages and the international development of Islamic finance – and, crucially, its benefits to the real economy in key markets.

WIBC 2012 will also feature a special guest address by Jaloul Ayed, the former minister of finance of The Republic of Tunisia, who will discuss the potential for Islamic finance in Maghreb countries as exciting new opportunities emerge in a transformational landscape.

A key highlight will be the exclusive Industry Leaders’ Power Debate led by internationally-respected CEOs and decision-makers from the key players in the industry.

Led by Andrew Barstow, the partner of Mena Financial Services, Ernst and Young, this dynamic session will analyse the new growth strategies for Islamic finance and will address the challenges of driving operational transformation to achieve sustainable profitable growth in the Islamic banking and finance industry.

The power debate featuring Adnan Ahmed Yousif, board member and president & chief executive of Al Baraka Banking Group; Toby O’Connor, CEO of the Islamic Bank of Asia; Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, the executive director/CEO of CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad; Suliman Azzabin, CEO of Al Rajhi Bank; Salah Jaidah, the chairman - Islamic Finance of Deutsche Bank AG; and Asad Aziz Ahmed, the managing director of Gulf African Bank, will also analyse the critical success factors that will propel the Islamic finance industry to its next level of growth.

The eagerly-anticipated World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report, developed in collaboration with Ernst & Young, will also be launched on-site at the conference in an exclusive session on December 10.

The 2012/13 Report which is now in its 9th annual edition, will examine Islamic banks' efforts to penetrate the mainstream retail customers. The groundbreaking report will also explore the road map being adopted by Islamic banks to make a transition to a double-compliant model, i.e., excellence in banking operations topped up by exceptional Shari’ah proposition.

‘The World Comes to WIBC Initiative’ has also been further expanded this year and will feature official delegations representing exciting jurisdictions for Islamic finance including Bahrain, Qatar, Luxembourg, the US, the UK, Bermuda and Mauritius.

As a part of the World Comes to WIBC Initiative, WIBC 2012 will also feature an exclusive US Country Interface which will be inaugurated by Thomas Krajeski, US Ambassador to Bahrain and Houda Nonoo, Bahrain Ambassador to the US; and the UK Country Interface which will be inaugurated by HMA Iain Lindsay OBE, British Ambassador to Bahrain.

David C. Chavern, the executive VP and the COO of the US Chamber of Commerce will also be delivering a keynote speech at WIBC 2012.

The 19th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference is set to convene more than 1200 industry leaders representing over 50 countries in the Kingdom of Bahrain from December 9 to 11.

Commenting on their participation, Mohamed Jamil Berro, the group CEO of Al Hilal Bank said that due to its substantial growth and reliability, Islamic finance has now become a global phenomenon with a number of non-Muslim countries also showing keen interest in this dynamic industry.

"While the conventional banking and finance industry recuperates from the effects of the global financial crisis, there is now an excellent opportunity for Islamic finance to prove its competitiveness and enhance its profile in the global financial landscape," he noted.

"The WIBC with its very high-profile international participation, sets the perfect stage for such discussions. We are delighted to be supporting this unique global gathering," he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | finance | World Islamic Banking Conference | dynamics |

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