Islamic finance growth 'stronger than ever'
Manama, December 11, 2012
Islamic finance activities continue to venture beyond national boundaries and the industry's international growth is now stronger than ever, said top banking experts at a major Islamic finance summit in Bahrain.
The dynamic pace of innovation in the global Islamic finance industry has widened the range of financial products and services available to the global audience, thereby significantly increasing its appeal, said David McLean, the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) organiser on the sidelines of the conference.
"In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the global economy is on its quest for a financial system that promotes sustainable growth. This highlights tremendous growth potential for Islamic finance, given its inherent strengths of association with real economic activities," the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, quoted McLean as saying.
"It is, however, essential that Islamic finance successfully adapts to the new dynamics of global finance in order to realise this vast potential," he noted.
"This requires further innovation as well as the global synchronisation of product offerings, business models, risk management practices and the supporting regulatory and legal infrastructure," he added.
Al Hilal Bank chief executive Jamil Berror said 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 conventional banking and finance industry recuperates from the effects of the 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 said.
"This calls for a stronger architecture that would allow for the most efficient functioning of the industry not only within national economies but also across borders," he added.
"The global Islamic banking and finance industry has been on a steady and consistent growth path and has made tremendous progress over the past decade, with recent reports indicating that its total asset base has now exceeded $1trillion," Ithmaar bank chief executive Mohammed Bucheerei said. "However, it is still less than one per cent of global banking assets and this highlights the vast potential for growth.
"The recent financial crisis has given Islamic finance the perfect opportunity to play a key part in building a sustainable economic structure and make significant contributions to economic growth - not only in its key markets, but also across the globe.
"For 19 years, WIBC has been at the forefront of supporting the development of global Islamic banking and finance industry," he said.
"As a trusted, leading Islamic financial institution offering a comprehensive range of financial solutions, Ithmaar Bank is delighted to be supporting this important gathering of international industry leaders," he added.-TradeArabia News Service
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