Bank mergers 'vital for fair competitiveness'
Manama, April 16, 2013
Bahrain's financial institutions must seek more mergers to achieve fair competitiveness between Islamic banks and traditional ones, said Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Governor Rasheed Al Maraj.
Maraj was speaking at the opening of the two-day Annual Sharia Conference convened by Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). It is being held under the patronage of the CBB at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence and Spa.
Issues relating to application of Sharia to Islamic finance products, services and practices came under the spotlight at a key conference that started in the kingdom yesterday.
"The conference brings together leading Sharia Scholars and Islamic finance industry practitioners from across the globe," AAOIFI board of trustees chairman Shaikh Ibrahim bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said during the opening session.
"The discussions at the conference will help AAOIFI on our standard-setting efforts, and ensure that our standards can continue to support the industry growth and expansion," Shaikh Ibrahim added.
CBB executive director for banking supervision Khalid Hamad said Bahrain holds 11 to 12 per cent of total assets of Islamic banks worldwide.
AAOIFI is the international body responsible for developing and issuing standards on Sharia, accounting, auditing, ethics, and governance for the global Islamic finance industry.
"AAOIFI seeks to highlight and debate important issues relating to application of Sharia to Islamic finance products, services and practices, with a view of introducing greater harmonisation and standardisation in the international Islamic finance industry," AAOIFI secretary general and chief executive Dr Khaled Al Fakih said.
"Discussions will mainly focus on the role of 'Maqassed Al Sharia' (Intents of Sharia) in directing Islamic contracts, sukuk and products and differences between assets-backed and assets-based securities," AAOIFI deputy secretary general Khairul Nizam told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"Other areas of discussion include relationship between assets and their inherent risks, special purpose vehicle (SPV) and its role in sukuk structures, effects of non-registration of leased assets in lessor's books from Sharia, legal and accounting perspectives, stipulations of lenders' benefits from loans, and effect of bankruptcy on restricted investment account holders," he added.
AAOIFI is also organising training courses for its Certified Sharia Adviser and Auditor and Certified Islamic Professional Accountant programmes from tomorrow to April 20.-TradeArabia News Service