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The Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2012) to Open on the 17th of October in the Kingdom of Bahrain

The Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2012) to Open on the 17th of October in the Kingdom of Bahrain

More than 200 regional Takaful industry leaders to gather at METF 2012 for discussions that will seek to tackle the profitability challenge for the Middle East Shari’ah-compliant insurance industry

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain: 15 October 2012: More than 200 key players and thought leaders in the regional Takaful industry will be gathering on the 17th and 18th of October 2012 at the Gulf Hotel, Kingdom of Bahrain, for the Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2012). Held under the theme “Tackling the Profitability Challenge: Fresh Thinking for Islamic & Cooperative Insurance in the Middle East”, METF 2012 which is held under the official patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain and supported by the Bahrain Insurance Association, will provide a high-profile stage for discussions that will seek to address issues to the erosion of profitability being faced by Middle East Takaful operators. METF 2012 will also assess new strategies focused on capitalising on the key growth drivers for the regional Islamic insurance industry.

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

Speaking ahead of the event, David McLean, Chief Executive of the Middle East Takaful Forum, said that “though the overall outlook for the regional Takaful industry remains positive, it is essential that the mounting challenges posed by increasing competitive pressures and declining underwriting profits combined with the loss of investment income need to be immediately tackled so that the industry can maintain its exciting growth trajectory. The Takaful industry like any other growing industry is facing a number of challenges such as balancing a growth drive with sustainable profitability, the need for skilled professionals, an enhanced regulatory and prudential framework and a deeper pool of Shari’ah-compliant investment opportunities all of which need to be urgently addressed.”

The Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2012) will be officially opened with a special inaugural address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain. Commenting on his participation at the event, Mr. Al Baker noted that “the global Takaful market has shown strong growth in the last few years. Driven by increasing awareness and improvements in the quality of products and services being offered, the Middle East Takaful industry has seen a significant increase in its market share. With tremendous growth opportunities yet to be fully tapped, the Middle East Takaful industry is poised for major growth in the coming years and therefore it is essential to ensure that strong foundations are in place to support this growth. A critical challenge facing the industry is that a large number of Takaful operators are finding it difficult to sustain financial performance due to the increase in competition. We hope that the discussions at the Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2012) will provide insights as the industry players seek to overcome the profitability challenge and achieve sustainable underwriting profits.”

Dato’ Haji Syed Moheeb Kamarulzaman; Former President Chief Executive Officer and Director of Takaful Ikhlas and Former Chairman of the Malaysian Takaful Association

This inaugural address will be immediately followed by an opening keynote address by Peter van den Broeke, Principal Administrator, International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS). Another key highlight of METF 2012 will be the special keynote address by Dato’ Haji Syed Moheeb Kamarulzaman; Former President / Chief Executive Officer and Director of Takaful Ikhlas and Former Chairman of the Malaysian Takaful Association. The session titled “International Strengths & Weaknesses: What can be Learnt from Takaful Operators in the Middle East and Malaysia” will analyze the parallels and points of difference between the Takaful markets in Malaysia and the Middle East and will explore comparative growth drivers in these key markets.

Speaking ahead of his session, Dato’ Haji Syed Moheeb Kamarulzaman said that “the first Islamic Bank was set up in Malaysia in 1981 and commercial Takaful started three years later in 1984. Over the last 10 years, the Takaful industry in Malaysia enjoyed an average growth rate of 30% year-on-year, something not seen elsewhere, and the prognosis is the trend will continue. The secret to this success is not only the sustained efforts of all stakeholders but also the holistic regulatory framework that supports the industry. I look forward to participating in this important gathering of Takaful industry leaders.”

The Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2012) will also feature a highly interactive debate session that will provide a forward-looking review of the findings of the Ernst & Young World Takaful Report 2012. The session, led by Noman Mubashir, Manager, Islamic Financial Services at Ernst & Young, will discuss the implication of the findings on Takaful operators in the Middle East and will also address how Takaful operators in the region can achieve cost reduction, operational efficiency and boost profitability.

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