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Islamic finance must adjust to new dynamics for sustainability

Last updated: Monday, November 12, 2012 12:46 AM

JEDDAH —  The global Islamic finance industry has witnessed phenomenal growth over the past decade, with the estimated asset size now exceeding $1 trillion.

Against this backdrop, the three-day 19th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2012) will take off in Dec. 9, 2012 in Bahrain, where some 1,200 industry leaders from over 50 countries will gather to chart new growth map.

Announcing the focus of this year’s gathering, David McLean, Chief Executive of the World Islamic Banking Conference, said “the last several years has seen the international dimension of Islamic finance gaining tremendous significance as the industry continues to demonstrate its competitiveness and build scale in an increasingly globalized playing field.

The Islamic banking sector is undoubtedly well placed to play a vital role in facilitating cross-border financial flows particularly between the emerging economies which, in turn, stands to further increase the international participation in Islamic financial markets.

As Islamic finance continues to become an increasingly important component of the global financial system, it is also essential that the industry adapts to the new dynamics of global finance in order to achieve sustainable growth.”

He also said “held under the theme ‘Islamic Finance: Adapting to the New Dynamics of Global Finance’, WIBC 2012 will be a key enabling platform for industry players to innovate the next generation of Islamic finance solutions that will meet the increasingly complex needs of corporate borrowers, consumers, issuers and investors; and create the conditions that will build a more globally harmonized footprint for their institution - that, if achieved, will propel the Islamic finance industry to the next level of success.”

The event will commence with a series of pragmatically focused pre-conference summits led by experienced and respected international industry standard-setting bodies and experts.

WIBC 2012 will also feature a special guest address by Jaloul Ayed, Former Minister of Finance of The Republic of Tunisia, who will discuss the potential for Islamic finance in Maghreb countries as exciting new opportunities emerge in a transformational landscape.

A key highlight of WIBC 2012 will be the exclusive Industry Leaders’ Power Debate led by internationally respected CEOs and decision-makers from the key players in the industry.

Commenting on their participation at the event, Mohamed Jamil Berro, Group Chief Executive Officer of Al Hilal Bank said that “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 the conventional banking and finance industry recuperates from the effects of the global financial crisis, there is now an excellent opportunity for Islamic finance to prove its competitiveness and enhance its profile in the global financial landscape.”

“This calls for a stronger industry architecture that would allow for the most efficient functioning of the industry not only within national economies but also across borders. The World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) with its very high-profile international participation, sets the perfect stage for such discussions. We are delighted to be supporting this unique global gathering,” he added. — SG

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