The workshop brought together bank executives, representatives of international organisations and research centres as well as senior scholars
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) convened a high-level workshop in the United Arab Emirates last week to discuss the current status of the Islamic finance industry and how innovation can sustain its rapid growth.
The workshop, which was held under the patronage of the UAE Central Bank, brought together bank executives, representatives of international organisations and research centres as well as senior scholars to exchange views on the future growth of the industry.
The Islamic finance industry is growing rapidly, with global assets increasing by an estimated 16 percent last year to $1.6 billion last year. Speakers at the workshop suggested that better alignment of standards across the industry would allow Islamic banks to compete more effectively with conventional banks and take greater market share.
“Since the global crisis, there has been a clamour globally for a more ethical financial model, and Islamic banks can play a very positive role in leading this move,” said Tirad Al Mahmoud, Chief Executive Officer of ADIB.
“The industry therefore needs to focus on innovation to give customers the kind of high-quality products and ethical service they demand. This workshop is supporting this process, fostering greater cooperation among all the key stakeholders, including central bankers, commercial bankers and the scholars who guide our practices.”
During the workshop, Dr. Nasser Saidi, former chief economist at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), made a presentation that called for more uniform standards across the Islamic finance industry. He argued that this would enhance competitiveness by reducing transaction costs, facilitate the listing of Islamic bonds, and help develop an international market for Islamic finance products. Participating scholars also recommended forming a team of Islamic finance experts to evaluate and identify solutions to further improve the current Islamic financial landscape regionally and globally.
ADIB has been hosting these workshops for five years as part of its commitment to development of the Islamic finance industry. The workshops provide a forum for ADIB to work with scholars and business leaders to improve banking practices and make Islamic finance accessible and relevant globally.
ADIB is also supporting innovation and ethics in the banking industry by partnering with financial information provider Thomson Reuters to run the Ethical Finance and Innovation Challenge Awards (EFICA). Winners of the 2014 EFICA awards will be announced at the end of October.