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Islamic Funds and Investments Set to Expand its Global Footprint and Achieve International Growth

More than 350 international Islamic funds and investment leaders to gather at the 8th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference as More Corporate Borrowers Look to Islamic Finance  

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain: 07 May 2012: More than 350 key players, regulators and thought leaders in the global Islamic funds and investments industry are set to gather in the Kingdom of Bahrain on the 20th and 21st of May 2012 for the 8th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2012). Held in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain, the 8th Annual WIFFMC 2012 will set the stage for critical discussions that will focus on “New Growth Horizons: Expanding The Global Footprint of Islamic Funds  and Investments.”

Announcing the launch of the event,David McLean, Chief Executive of the World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference noted that “with key markets for Islamic finance, especially in Asia and the Middle East, now facing escalating infrastructure and development needs backed by solid economic growth, and the outlook for global lending markets still remaining uncertain, Islamic investments will play a key role in funding these multi-billion dollar projects given the fact that the global liquidity pool continues to shrink. Governments in various key markets are making moves to create a more attractive investment climate for Shari’ah-compliant finance and are forging greater co-operation between each other and multilateral agencies to attract investments.”

He also said that “according to the Ernst & Young Islamic Funds and Investments Report 2011 in the GCC alone, liquid wealth of Shari’ah sensitive investors is expected to add more than US$ 70 billion to Islamic funds by 2013.”

“This, along with the fact that Islamic funds industry had registered a growth of 7% in AuM last year – shaking off a period of stagnation – indicates a significant opportunity to harness the full potential of Shari’ah-compliant investments”, he added.

Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain.

The 8th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2012) will be inaugurated on the 20th of May by an opening address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain.

Confirming his participation at the event, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker said that “the increasing interest in Islamic finance in major markets across the globe presents a unique opportunity of expanding the global footprint of the Islamic investments industry. It is therefore important to ensure that the Islamic funds and investment industry has solid and strong foundations for future development and growth. In addition to enhancing the innovations of new Islamic instruments and encouraging more spending in research and development, it is also essential that the Islamic financial institutions develop strategic alliances with other financial institutions globally, especially in the area of products structuring and offering. Formation of such alliances will help to achieve economies of scale and improve the services across the Islamic funds and investment industry. Discussions at this year’s World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference, held under the theme “New Growth Horizons: Expanding the Global Footprint of Islamic Funds & Investments”, will be critical in supporting the global growth of the industry. The Central Bank ofBahrainis once again delighted to be hosting this prestigious event.”

Datuk Noripah Kamso, Chief Executive, CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management

The inaugural address will be immediately followed by a keynote plenary session featuring Datuk Noripah Kamso, Chief Executive, CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd; Fernand Grulms, Chief Executive Officer, Luxembourg for Finance; and Ken Owens, Chairman, Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA). The session, focusing on assessing dynamic new jurisdictions for Islamic funds will analyze the international reach and scale of Islamic investments and will discuss exciting international growth potential for the industry.

Speaking ahead of her session, Datuk Noripah Kamso, Chief Executive of CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd said that “whilst investors are now aware of the wide choice of Shari’ah investment products available in the market, they should now learn to appreciate the benefits that come along with Shari’ah investing. There has also been articulation by investors that the asset classes made available to the investors are not as broad and deep as what is made available to them in the conventional investment space. This concern could be the result of lack of visibility of the track record of these investment products by virtue that the various asset classes are structured using home-based currencies for their domestic sandbox. I hope that the above concerns will be answered at this year’s World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference held under the theme ‘New Growth Horizons: Expanding the Global Footprint of Islamic Funds & Investments’ will seek to realize the full potential of this vibrant industry. I am delighted to be part of this important gathering of international investment leaders.”

A key highlight of WIFFMC 2012 will be the high profile CEO and Industry Leaders’ Power Debate. The session moderated by Rushdi Siddiqui, Global Head Islamic Finance & OIC Countries, Thomson Reuters and featuring Datuk Noripah Kamso, Chief Executive, CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd; Oscar Silva, Chief Executive Officer, Global Banking Corporation B.S.C. (c) (GBCORP); and Dr. Salah Addeen A Qadar Saeed, General Manager – Credit & Risk Management, Bahrain Islamic Bank, will share critical insights on aligning business strategies with new economic realities and profitably expanding the global footprint of Islamic investments.

WIFFMC 2012 will also feature an exclusive session on Corporate Issuers’ Perspectives led by significant new corporate borrowers. The interactive panel discussions chaired by Raphael de Ricaud, Head of Islamic Finance, Rothschild and featuring Daniele Vecchi, Senior Vice President/Head of Group Treasury, MAF Holding LLC; Paul Gay, Chief Finance Officer, Almarai; and Mona Al-Tawil, Head of Syndication, HSBC Saudi Arabia, will seek to build further momentum for the increasing importance of various Islamic finance instruments, particularly Sukuk, in the corporate funding mix.

The World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC), now in its 8th annual edition is set to gather more than 350 international industry leaders from over 120 leading organizations. The prestigious WIFFMC Islamic Investment Institution of the Year Award will also be declared at the event.

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