Manama: The World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) and the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) yesterday hosted an engaging pre-conference seminar on Islamic capital markets.
In attendance were global Islamic finance leaders who converged on the Gulf Hotel from far and wide – including the US, the UK, Nigeria, Indonesia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Russia and China.
The IIFM is a globally renowned standard-setting organisation for the Islamic financial services industry focusing on standardisation of Islamic financial contracts and product templates relating to the capital and money market, corporate finance and trade finance segments of the industry. It promotes market unification by developing best practices and achieving Sharia harmonisation to create a more robust, transparent and efficient Islamic finance industry.
Key areas discussed included the impact of adopting more comprehensive standardisation documentation to promote the growth of Islamic finance, challenges facing future development of Sukuk markets, and developments to broaden availability of Islamic hedging alternatives.
The 22nd annual conference (WIBC 2015) officially gets underway today under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. Backed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, the three-day summit will be held at the Gulf Hotel’s Gulf Convention Centre. Under the theme “New Realities, New Opportunities”, WIBC 2015 is set to discuss the role of technology in delivering financial services – as a bridge towards greater financial inclusion of Muslims around the world who do not have access to financial services.
For the very first time, the WIBC pre-conference day included an afternoon feature during which Thomson Reuters, WIBC’s Knowledge Partner, facilitated a dynamic roundtable on growth opportunities in key emerging Islamic finance markets with a focus on strategic regions – Central Asia, North Africa and the Americas. The discussions were led by seasoned practitioners with first-hand experience and knowledge about how to spur growth in these unique markets.
Kazakhstan, Canada and Sudan were specifically chosen as being the most likely to emerge as growth markets for the global Islamic finance industry.
Toronto Financial Services Alliance president and chief executive Janet Ecker said emerging from the global financial crisis, financial stability has been a watchword for a successful financial hub.
“Canada’s banking system has consistently been ranked as the safest in the world, providing our financial sector with a sound foundation for growing opportunities in Islamic finance and helping to build Canada as a hub for Islamic Finance within North America.”
She emphasised that the WIBC is a great platform to help build awareness of Canada’s value proposition.
The roundtable also explored Kazakhstan as the next frontier for Central Asia. National Bank of Kazakhstan deputy governor Nurlan Kussainov spoke on his country’s Islamic finance potential. “Recently Islamic finance has started to play a major role in the global financial system. In this context, the role of Kazakhstan among the most attractive platforms for amplifying Islamic finance is of great significance,” he said.