Improving International Scale and Connectivity Vital for the Future Growth of Islamic Finance Industry
More than 530 Islamic finance leaders attended the high profile opening of the
5th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference: Asia Summit, officially supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, to capitalise on increasing trade and investment flows between the Middle East and Asia.
Singapore, 3rd June 2014: The 5th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference: Asia Summit (WIBC Asia), which opened today at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore, saw more than 530 thought leaders in the Islamic finance industry from across the world converge to discuss “Expanding the Boundaries of Islamic Finance: Complementing Domestic Growth with International Linkages”.
The 5th Annual WIBC Asia, held under the official support of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, commenced today with an inaugural address by H.E Ravi Menon, Governor, Monetary Authority of Singapore. This was followed by a keynote speech by H.E. Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Singapore Ambassador to Kuwait and the Foreign Minister’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, which addressed the key business issues related to bridging the Middle East and Asia.
A major highlight of WIBC Asia 2014 was the high-profile Power Debate, featuring internationally respected CEOs and industry leaders. Moderated by Jeremy Grant, Asian Regional Corporate Correspondent, Financial Times, the session included significant debate amongst the high profile panellists, including: Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, CIMB Islamic; Toby O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer, The Islamic Bank of Asia; Muzaffar Hisham, Head, Group Islamic Banking, Maybank and Chief Executive Officer, Maybank Islamic Berhad; Syed Abdull Aziz Jailani bin Syed Kechik, Director and Chief Executive Officer, OCBC Al-Amin Bank Berhad; Wasim Saifi, Global Head of Islamic Banking, Consumer Banking & Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Saadiq, Malaysia; and T. Jeyaratnam, Head, Investment Banking, Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Berhad. The lively debate addressed key strategies for further mainstreaming Islamic finance in key domestic markets, better connecting the world Islamic finance and exploring new cross-border opportunities between Asia and the Middle East.
Syed Abdul Aziz Jailani bin Sayed Kechik, Director and Chief Executive Officer, OCB Al-Amin Bank Berhad noted that: “The Sukuk market continues to be one of the thriving forms of Islamic finance, evidenced in its rapid growth over the past few years, especially in the core markets of Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The international footprint of Sukuk has also expanded with many new sovereign and corporate issuers from new countries looking to tap the market. However, there remain several challenges to the further development of the market that leading industry players are now addressing to ensure greater international connectedness between the major markets for Islamic finance.”
Continuing on the theme of complementing domestic growth with improving international linkages, Wasim Saifi, Global Head of Islamic Banking, Consumer Banking and Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Saadiq, Malaysia stated: “Islamic finance continues to experience exciting progress in both the leading established markets as well as new emerging jurisdictions. The increase in trade flows between Asia and the Middle East, combined with growing awareness and support for Islamic finance as a genuine alternative to conventional banking, highlights the potential for even more significant growth in the global Islamic finance market. However, regulatory frameworks continue to develop at different paces across various jurisdictions and it is becoming increasingly vital that collaborative efforts are made across the industry to ensure more successful global connectedness. Islamic finance is an integral part of Standard Chartered’s business and we remain committed to the development of the industry on an international basis.”
Day 2 of WIBC Asia 2014 continues on Wednesday the 4th of June and opens with a Keynote Address by Jaseem Ahmed, Secretary-General, Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), which will tackle “Assessing the Evolving Regulatory and Legal Landscape for Islamic Finance: Global Developments and Regional & Domestic Implications”.
In addition, a unique onstage interview session will also be held on the second day where a leading industry pioneer, Adnan Ahmed Yousif the President and Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group, focuses on the development and growth of the industry, the changes it has been through, the future outlook for the coming years and an analysis of how Islamic finance can be a catalyst for improved economic linkages between the two high growth regions of the Middle East and Asia. Speaking from Bahrain ahead of the conference Mr. Yousif noted:
“Industry leaders are looking to boost cross-border growth opportunities in Islamic finance – and Asia is considered as one of the fastest growing markets for Islamic finance. The demand for Islamic finance products will continue to grow not only due to the recovery in global economic activities, but also due to more supportive regulatory policies and more sovereign and corporate issuers tapping into Sukuk. Many of the high growth potential markets in the global economy are in the Islamic world and this economic growth in key markets across Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa will further boost the Islamic finance industry. With its strong links to the real economy, Islamic finance has a key role to play in the development needs of these countries and Asia, with its sustained growth levels, has tremendous opportunities to further boost cross-border capital and trade flows with the Middle East. Al Baraka Banking Group has for many years remained a strong supporter of the annual World Islamic Banking Conference: Global Summit (WIBC Global) in Bahrain and this year we are delighted to be supporting the World Islamic Banking Conference: Asia Summit (WIBC Asia) and we look forward to meeting key industry leaders in Asia to explore opportunities for Islamic finance to bridge the high growth economies of Asia and the Middle East.”
Yesterday, on the 2nd June, WIBC Asia started with a pre-conference summit organized by the Bahrain-based International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM). The IIFM industry seminar focused on the key technical aspects of Islamic Liquidity Management, Islamic Hedging and Capital Market Instruments and was opened with an inaugural address by Valerie Tay, Executive Director, Financial Centre Development Department, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).