Bahrain ‘to stay top financial centre’
Manama, June 28, 2011
Bahrain will continue to be one of the leading financial centres in the region due to the efficient regulatory policies adopted by the sector, said an expert.
“Bahrain remains a popular destination for foreign investors on account of its established regulatory practices, transparency and adherence to international standards,” added Jamal Hijres, chief executive officer at Capinnova Investment Bank, the Shari’a compliant investment banking arm of BBK.
“We have successfully overcome previous episodes of instability owing to economic downturns. This experience of sound economic and financial management in both challenging times and otherwise is one of the greatest assets in the banking industry in Bahrain.”
“I strongly believe that Bahrain will continue to see strong growth in its financial sector. Regional economies have helped to raise the level of competition but Bahrain is still at the forefront and aptly retains its title as one of the largest financial centres in the region,” Hijres continued.
“I can confidently say that - Bahrain's future as an international financial centre is very much intact. There are several opportunities to be tapped within the country to secure good returns and long-term sustainability,” he pointed out.
“Bahrain has tremendously benefited from the solid foundations laid by the country’s efficient economic and financial policies outlined over the preceding years. In the Central Bank of Bahrain, we have a single regulator that is widely recognised as one of the best in the region.”
“I don’t believe that the economic downturn has affected Bahrain to the same extent as some other parts of the region, since we did not; for example, experience the same levels of real estate speculation that was seen in other regions,” added Hijres.
According to Moody’s Investors’ Service - the assets held by Islamic financial institutions may rise five-fold in the next few years to more than $5 trillion as demand increases for products that comply with Muslim principles.
The key fact that the Islamic finance industry is asset based and not debt financed, has protected and prevented this sector from the global crises. The Islamic banking sector is considered to be one of the largest growing sectors and a major revolution for the financial industry.
“The Islamic banking industry in Bahrain is a fast growing sector that offers an array of opportunities yet to be exploited,” Hijres said.
“Although the Middle East still represents the biggest share of the total Islamic banking sector, Western countries are gearing towards this new trend that presents a unique opportunity to diversify. The next few years will surely test the strengths of Islamic Finance industry in the region and I am confident that the industry will deliver,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service
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