Bahrain to host major Islamic banking summit
Manama, October 9, 2013
More than 1,300 participants from over 50 countries will be in Bahrain this December for the 20th anniversary special edition of the 'World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2013)' being hosted by the kingdom.
Held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and supported by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the event will run from December 3 to 5 at the Gulf Convention Centre, Gulf Hotel.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, WIBC chief executive David McLean said the theme of the 20th anniversary WIBC 2013 is 'Industry Transformation to Improve Global Competitiveness' across key areas of the Islamic finance sector, including regulatory, strategic, Sharia, operational and risk transformation.
He was joined by a panel of experts comprising International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) chief executive Ijlal Alvi, CBB executive director of banking supervision Khalid Hamad, Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) secretary-general and chief executive Dr Khaled Al Fakih, Economic Development Board chief economist Dr Jarmo Kotilaine and Ernst & Young partner and head of Islamic Banking Excellence Centre Ashar Nazim.
"More than 1,300 participants from over 50 countries are set to join over 90 speakers and 60 partners and sponsors for discussions focused on transforming the industry," revealed McLean.
"From a mere 120 pioneering delegates at its launch way back in 1994, the 20th Anniversary WIBC is set to continue its tradition of supporting growth, excellence and innovation - and is poised to break new records," he was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Addressing the conference, the experts panel said Islamic banking had largely weathered the global economic crisis that engulfed the conventional banking industry. "However much still needed to be done if the industry was to truly come of age and play its part on the world stage as a powerful form of ethical finance, they added.
Hamad pointed out that the continued growth momentum of the global Islamic finance industry was contingent on building critical mass, expansion of geographic reach and depth, and participation in large-scale deals seamlessly across jurisdictions.
The three-day event will start with a series of pre-conference summits led by international industry standard-setting bodies and experts.
The IIFM will be hosting a pre-conference seminar on Islamic capital and money markets.
Alvi invited global leaders in Islamic finance to join the conference "for critical discussions on the way forward in the development of a sound Islamic capital and money market, which is essential for the comprehensive development of the Islamic finance industry globally."
Bahrain-based AAOIFI's Dr Al Fakih said in addition to developing new standards, it was also essential to revisit and revise existing standards to keep up with market developments.
The main WIBC 2013 conference, which begins on December 4, will be inaugurated by CBB Governor Rasheed Al Maraj. The inaugural address will be followed by a keynote address by International Investment Bank Bahrain chairman Saeed Al Fahim.
WIBC 2013 will also feature an industry leaders' power debate featuring chief executives and decision-makers from the key players in the industry.
The World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report, an original research project led by E&Y's Global Islamic Banking Centre, will also be launched on-site at WIBC 2013.
"In a backdrop of evolving business structures and strategies, the competitiveness report takes a deeper look at some of the underlying trends and transformational approaches at leading and start-up Islamic banks," explained Nazim.
'The World Comes to WIBC Initiative' has also been further expanded this year and will feature official delegations representing new jurisdictions for Islamic finance including Bahrain, Luxembourg, the UK, Canada and Azerbaijan, said the organisers.
WIBC 2013 will also feature an awards function recognising excellence, innovation and pioneering initiatives in the global Islamic banking and finance industry, it added.-TradeArabia News Service