Moving forward: Bahraini banks to adopt Basel III standards
Bahraini banks will be fully ready to implement the Basel III international banking standards on new capital requirements by next year, the governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) said. The kingdom's banking sector remains very resilient and requirements to enhance the liquidity and reserves under Basel III will further bolster it, Rasheed Al Maraj was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication. Al Maraj was speaking on the sidelines of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI)'s 13th Annual Sharia Conference that began at the Gulf Hotel yesterday.
Being held under the auspices of the CBB, the two-day event sees experts engage in discussions over eight panel sessions on key topics relevant to Islamic finance. On whether Sharia-compliant banks were also looking to align their regulations with Basel III norms, Mr Al Maraj said besides improving capital and liquidity management, Islamic banks will need to consider whether their strategic, business and product-specific decisions take sufficient account of the inherent uncertainties and opportunities caused by the increasing dynamic complexities of financial markets. Bahrain-based AAOIFI issues guidelines on accounting standards and sukuk structures. As an independent international organisation, AAOIFI is supported by institutional members (200 members from 40 countries, so far) including central banks, Islamic financial institutions, and other participants from the international Islamic banking and finance industry, worldwide.
The organisation's board of trustees chairman Shaikh Ebrahim bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said although the Islamic banking industry continued to grow rapidly, there were still relatively unexploited openings to accelerate growth, such as with new, innovative structures that help to capitalise banks in a Sharia-compliant way. Meanwhile, Bahrain-based leading Islamic banking group Al Baraka Banking Group announced that it sponsored as a platinum partner, the activities of the conference. The conference is seeing attendance from distinguished internationally renowned Islamic banking personalities, in addition to researchers and experts in financial affairs and executives from Islamic financial institutions inside and outside Bahrain. The themes that have been discussed during the conference are many, including the attitude of the Sharia towards the division of property to the utilitarian, complicity in the transactions of Islamic financial institutions and its controls and alternatives to overdraft.
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