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Islamic finance experts head to Bahrain

Manama, October 26, 2011

More than 1,200 industry leaders, senior decision-makers and key regulators from over 50 countries are set to gather in Bahrain for the 18th annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2011) next month.

The event, being hosted in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain, will run from November 21 to 23 at the Gulf International Convention Centre, Gulf Hotel.

The event, supported by the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, comes as the global Islamic finance industry enters the next phase of growth, said the organisers.

This year's WIBC theme, “Competing for Global Growth”, reflects the expanding geographical footprint of Islamic finance and increasing presence of Islamic financial institutions in new jurisdictions that is providing significant opportunities for cross-border trade and investment flows that are Shari'ah-compliant.

Discussions at WIBC 2011 will emphasize strategies for managing the challenges of industry globalization and reinforce co-operation across jurisdictions to ensure stronger international capabilities for the Islamic banking and finance industry.

Announcing the launch, David McLean, managing director of the WIBC said that 'Islamic finance is no longer a niche market and is rapidly becoming an important component of the mainstream financial system.'

'As various jurisdictions seek to intensify efforts in developing their respective Islamic banking and finance markets, it is vital to strengthen the global framework for greater collaboration between these geographies that will facilitate significant cross-border activities and deal flow,' he added.

McLean said in order to ensure the industry's orderly evolution as an integral component of the international financial system, it is essential to manage the challenges of industry globalization.

'WIBC 2011 will provide the leading industry players with the platform to capitalize on the growth opportunities from new emerging frontiers for Islamic finance.'

The three-day event will kick off on November 21 with a series of pragmatically focused pre-conference summits led by industry experts, who will place a range of complex themes in a practical framework, enabling a deeper understanding of the critical issues facing the Islamic finance industry today.

The main conference will be inaugurated by CBB Governor Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj on November 22.

The inaugural session which focuses on strengthening the regulatory frameworks to accelerate the international development of Islamic finance will also feature Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi, CEO  and general manager, The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), Saudi Arabia.

Confirming his participation at the event, Al Maraj said, “The growing internationalization of Islamic finance reflects its ability to be competitive and respond to the complex needs of businesses globally.'

'As the industry’s geographic footprint expands, it is becoming increasingly vital to develop appropriate global frameworks and overcome the challenges of globalization faced by Islamic finance.'

'We believe that the WIBC 2011 will play a meaningful role in facilitating dialogues to prepare the international Islamic finance industry to 'Compete for Global Growth'. The CBB is delighted to be again hosting this unique global industry gathering,' he added.

A key highlight of WIBC 2011 will be the exclusive Industry Leaders’ Power Debate led by internationally respected CEOs and decision-makers from the key players in the industry.

Moderated by Ashar Nazim, partner, Assurance and Advisory Business Services, Ernst & Young, this dynamic session will analyze how the leading players are positioning themselves to capitalize on the new growth opportunities presented by the increasing internationalization of Islamic banking and finance.

The Power Debate session will feature Tirad Mahmoud, CEO of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank; Toby O’Connor, CEO of the Islamic Bank of Asia; Syed Abdull Aziz Jailani Bin Syed Kechik, CEO of OCBC Al-Amin Bank Berhad; Asad A Ahmed, CEO of Gulf African Bank; Abdulrazzak Mohammed Elkhraijy, executive VP and head of the Islamic Banking Development Group at the National Commercial Bank-Saudi Arabia, and Dr Salah Addeen A Qadar Saeed, general manager – Credit & Risk Management at Bahrain Islamic Bank.

WIBC 2011 will also feature a special keynote address on “Competing for Global Growth: Preparing for the Asian Century” by Prof. Kishore Mahbubani, the dean and professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School) at the National University of Singapore on the final day of the event.

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 November 22.

The 2011/12 Report which is now in its 8th annual edition, will explore the key trends and successful strategies deployed by leading Islamic banks.

Announcing support for the event, Dr Jamil El-Jaroudi, CEO of Elaf Bank said, “The global Islamic banking and finance industry has seen tremendous growth internationally and Bahrain is at the forefront of this growth and has a long history of being a pioneer in the global industry.'

With the industry now beginning to break out from its niche status to achieve critical mass in the global financial system, it is essential that we prepare the industry to tackle the challenges ahead, he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Islamic Finance | World Islamic Banking Conference | expert | Bahrain summit |

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