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Islamic Finance Must Adapt to the New Dynamics of Global Finance for Long Term Stability and Sustainable Growth

Delegates at Last Year’s WIBC

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain: 11th November 2012: The global Islamic finance industry has witnessed phenomenal growth over the past decade, with the estimated asset size now exceeding US$ 1 tr. The annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC), which over the last 19 years has established its pre-eminent position as the world’s largest and most significant annual gathering of global Islamic finance industry leaders, is set to be held from the 9th to the 11th of December 2012 in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the official support of the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Announcing the focus of this year’s gathering, David McLean, Chief Executive of the World Islamic Banking Conference said that “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 globalised 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.”

Mohamed Jamil Berro, Group Chief Executive Officer of Al Hilal Bank

He also said that “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 harmonised footprint for their institution – that, if achieved, will propel the Islamic finance industry to the next level of success.”

The three day event will commence on the 9th of December 2012 with a series of pragmatically focused pre-conference summits led by experienced and respected international industry standard-setting bodies and experts.

The main WIBC 2012 conference, which begins on the 10th of December 2012, will be inaugurated by H.E. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain.

The inaugural address will be immediately followed by a special opening keynote address by H.E. Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), Saudi Arabia. The session, focusing on capacity building to support the international development of Islamic finance, will discuss key initiatives that will enhance the supervisory architecture facilitating harmonization, cross-border linkages and the international development of Islamic finance – and, crucially, its benefits to the real economy in key markets.

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. Led by Andrew Barstow, Partner, MENA Financial Services, Ernst and Young, this dynamic session will analyse the new growth strategies for Islamic finance and will address the challenges of driving operational transformation to achieve sustainable profitable growth in the Islamic banking and finance industry. The Power Debate featuring Adnan Ahmed Yousif, Board Member and President & Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group; Toby O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Bank of Asia; Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad; Suliman Azzabin, Chief Executive Officer of Al Rajhi Bank; Salah Jaidah, Chairman – Islamic Finance of Deutsche Bank AG; and Asad Aziz Ahmed, Managing Director of Gulf African Bank, will also analyse the critical success factors that will propel the Islamic finance industry to its next level of growth.

The eagerly anticipated World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report, developed in collaboration with Ernst & Young, will also be launched on-site at the 19th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference in an exclusive session on the 10th of December 2012. The 2012/13 Report which is now in its 9th annual edition, will examine Islamic banks’ efforts to penetrate the mainstream retail customers. The groundbreaking report will also explore the road map being adopted by Islamic banks to make a transition to a double-compliant model, i.e., excellence in banking operations topped up by exceptional Shari’ah proposition.

‘The World Comes to WIBC Initiative’ has also been further expanded this year and will feature official delegations representing exciting jurisdictions for Islamic finance including Bahrain, Qatar, Luxembourg, the United States, the United Kingdom, Bermuda and Mauritius. As a part of the World Comes to WIBC Initiative, WIBC 2012 will also feature an exclusive US Country Interface which will be inaugurated by H.E. Thomas Krajeski, United States Ambassador to Bahrain and H.E Houda Nonoo, Bahrain Ambassador to the United States; and the UK Country Interface which will be inaugurated by HMA Iain Lindsay OBE, British Ambassador to Bahrain. David C. Chavern, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will also be delivering a keynote speech at WIBC 2012.

The 19th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference is set to convene more than 1200 industry leaders representing over 50 countries in the Kingdom of Bahrain from the 9th to the 11th of December 2012.

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.”

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