Bahrain: 10 December 2012: The achievements, innovations, and excellence in the international Islamic banking and finance industry were recognised today at the 19th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2012) held at the Gulf Convention Centre in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The annual WIBC Awards, which are among the oldest and most prestigious in the world, are designed to recognize individuals and institutions that have made a significant contribution to the Islamic banking and finance industry.
The awards were presented to the winners at an impressive gala dinner and awards ceremony held on the sidelines of WIBC 2012. More than 1,200 industry leaders from over 50 countries attended WIBC 2012 which was officially inaugurated today.
Mohammed Bucheerei, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Ithmaar Bank, was named the 2012 WIBC Islamic Banker of the Year. The WIBC Islamic Banker of the Year award uses a unique peer-based voting system to identify the winner from a short-list of nominees with the results audited by Ernst & Young, the official award auditors. The Award is presented to an individual who is an established banker, leading a reputable financial services provider, who, during the year 2012, has contributed significantly to the Islamic financial services industry. The key criteria set by the awards committee for the award included excellence in leadership, overall strategic direction of their Islamic banking business, new strategic initiatives and innovations, and overall contribution to the global Islamic banking and finance industry. Receiving the award, Mohammed Bucheerei said: “I am very honoured to have been voted WIBC Islamic Banker of the Year 2012. This is an Award for the entire Ithmaar family and recognizes our combined efforts in making Ithmaar a trusted leading Islamic financial institution offering a comprehensive range of financial solutions and contributing to social development. Ithmaar Bank continues to play a pivotal role in the development of Islamic banking not only in Bahrain but internationally through its subsidiaries. A great part of this credit goes to our dedicated team and the value of their contribution is incalculable. I would take this opportunity to thank all members of our management and staff, as well as those of all our subsidiaries and associates around the globe.”
“I am delighted to be accepting this award which is considered one of the most prestigious in the industry”, he added.
Based on select criteria assessed by the WIBC Awards Committee, the WIBC Institutional Excellence Award 2012, was presented to the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), Saudi Arabia. Through its strategic initiatives, the ICD has been successfully supporting the economic development of its member countries through provision of finance to private sector projects in accordance with the principles of Shari’a law. Even against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment, ICD has made solid progress toward implementing its strategic agenda and provided stronger support for the private sector in the member countries through key investments and broad advisory services. Receiving the award, H.E. Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi, Chief Executive Officer & General Manager of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) said that “ICD was extremely delighted to receive the prestigious WIBC Institutional Excellence Award 2012. Receiving this award is a major achievement for ICD as it comes at a time when a combination of factors – social unrest in some member countries, increased cost of funding and lingering effects of the global financial crisis – added further challenges for ICD to execute its strategy as planned. ICD firmly believes that Islamic finance has significant real economy value-adding potential and can provide a substantial contribution to financial inclusion and economic development in its member countries. In line with our new strategy, we have made it a priority to broaden the availability and affordability of Islamic finance and deepen capital markets by expanding access to Islamic finance and strengthening financial infrastructure in member countries. The effort received a substantial boost and has been instrumental in improving access to finance and creating a sustainable development impact in our member countries. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to our dedicated and hardworking team in driving these efforts.”
He also said that “this award is a recognition of our collective efforts toward achieving ICD’s vision of becoming a premier Islamic multilateral financial institution for the development of the private sector in our member countries.”
The WIBC 2012 Industry Leadership Award – an award which recognizes outstanding contributions made by an individual towards the overall development of the global Islamic finance industry and significantly contributing towards shaping the future of the Islamic finance industry was awarded to Noor Abid who recently retired from the position of Managing Partner – Assurance Services MENA at Ernst & Young for his contribution towards the overall development of the global Islamic banking and finance industry through his various initiatives with AAOIFI and internally with Ernst & Young. Noor Abid was instrumental in the establishment of the Ernst & Young’s Islamic Banking Centre for Excellence 14 years ago and since then, the Centre has worked on more than 300 unique projects including regulatory frameworks, infrastructure institutions, new bank set ups, and bank conversions. Noor Abid also played a key role in the landmark agreement signed between AAOIFI and Ernst & Young to promote Sharia compliance, standardisation and industry development in Islamic finance. As an industry first, this collaboration played a key role in accelerating the growth of Islamic finance in a credible, sustainable manner and yielded significant synergies for financial institutions seeking Shari’ah solutions for their financing and structuring needs.
The awards ceremony was facilitated by Nadine Hani, Senior Business News Presenter, Al-Arabiya News Channel.