‘WORLD ISLAMIC BANKING COMPETITIVENESS REPORT 2005’ RELEASED
The World Islamic Banking Pre-Conference Briefings opened today at the Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain. These included a WIBC McKinsey Competitiveness Report 2005-06 Executive Briefing, a Takaful Summit and an Islamic Ratings Seminar.
The WIBC McKinsey Competitiveness Report 2005-06 was released during the Executive Briefing on this report and was facilitated by McKinsey and Company.
The WIBC McKinsey Competitiveness Report is a groundbreaking research-based initiative designed to identify and raise the bar on financial performance and strategic excellence in the industry. The theme for this year’s research project was “Tracking an Industry in Transition”, the scope of which included valuable and important features, including the perspectives of CEOs of leading financial institutions on industry trends and excellence in customer service in Islamic banks.
Leading Islamic banks actively participated in conducting direct research with their customers on overall satisfaction levels and key buying factors.
David McLean, Executive Director, The World Islamic Banking Conference said “The WIBC Competitiveness Report has rapidly established itself as an indispensable reference point for senior executives striving to raise the bar of strategic leadership and financial performance in the global industry.”
The objective of this report is to look at trends in Islamic Banking and chart ways to help the industry sustain its momentum.
The key messages that emerged from the Report were:
• 2004 was yet another great year for Islamic Banks, and it seems that 2005 will be even better. Growth is substantial, Islamic banks are introducing more and more products and more players are entering the industry.
• While there is much to be happy about, this report maintains the spirit of providing constructive challenge to Islamic Banks. Key questions often asked, include: how do we sustain our growth? Where do we need to improve?
• In 2004 Islamic Banks continued to grow much faster than their respective conventional counterparts. However, despite some improvements, the profitability of Islamic banks generally remained below that of their conventional peers. This gap will increasingly be high on the agenda of Islamic Bank CEOs: the current high valuation of Islamic banks indicates strong market expectations for future growth and profits.
• To meet these expectations, Islamic banks will have to continue their strong growth while bridging their profitability gap.
• Delivering on these expectations will depend on the ability of Islamic Banks to develop a more sophisticated offering and, specifically, to capture the Consumer Banking opportunity.
• If Islamic banks are to capture this opportunity, appealing to a broader consumer base will be key. So far Islamic banks have managed to capture customers who have a strong preference for Shari'ah-compliant products. Going forward, they will have to broaden their appeal to customers who are interested in Shari’ah-compliant products but are not ready to sacrifice returns, service or convenience. To do so, Islamic banks need to improve their service levels, network convenience and staff knowledge while developing critical enablers i.e., operations, risk management and people management.
Present at the Briefing were Babak Soltani, Marketing Director, Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company B.S.C, who gave the welcome address, and presenters from the McKinsey team, which included Xavier Jopart, Engagement Manager; Rami Karjian, Partner; Joydeep Sengupta, Engagement Manager; and Dr Markus Krall, Partner.
The Takaful Summit was facilitated by Solidarity – a company that provides Takaful products that comply with Islamic Shari’ah - and focussed on Assessing the Appropriate Takaful Model in Today’s Business Environment. A panel discussion on the perspectives of Shareholders, Policyholders, Regulators and Shari’ah Scholars was held on key issues and opportunities facing the Takaful market.
Panelists included Anwar Khalifa Al-Sadah, Executive Director - Financial Institutions Supervision, Bahrain Monetary Agency; Sameer Al Wazzan, General Manager, Solidarity General Takaful; Mohamed ElNur, Deputy General Manager, Al Watania Cooperative Insurance Co., Sudan; and Sheikh Nizam Yaquby, Shari’ah Scholar.
The Islamic Ratings Seminar was facilitated by the International Islamic Ratings Agency (IIRA). IIRA meets the need for thorough and impartial analysis of issuers and reliable credit ratings of Islamic and conventional banks and financial institutions operating in the region. Khaled Al Aboodi, Chairman, Islamic International Rating Agency, inaugurated the seminar.
Sovereign Ratings, Shari’ah Ratings, Takaful Ratings and Credit Ratings of Islamic financial institutions were the highlights of the seminar. The other speakers were Jamal Abbas Zaidi, CEO, Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA); Faheem Ahmed, President and CEO, JCR-VIS Credit Rating Agency, Pakistan; Takahide Irimura, Senior Analyst, Japan Credit Rating Agency; Sheikh Nizam Yaquby, Shari’ah Scholar; and Zainal Abidin Mohd Kassim, Principal and Actuary, Mercer Zainal Consulting Sdn. Bhd. Malaysia.
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