MUSCAT: Leading players, industry leaders and key regulators in the international Islamic banking and finance industry are taking part in the 18th annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2011), which was scheduled to commence yesterday in Bahrain.
The three-day event, which concludes tomorrow, is being convened under the patronage of Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the prime minister of Bahrain and held under the support of the Central Bank of Bahrain.
Speaking to the media ahead of the event, David McLean, managing director of the World Islamic Banking Conference, said, "in recent years, Islamic finance has further transitioned into a dynamic, fast growing and highly competitive market servicing an increasingly international community. This expanding globalisation of Islamic finance has now gained significant momentum as manifested by increasing cross-border investment and deal flows that are Sharia-compliant, greater participation in international Islamic financial markets, and the increased presence of Islamic financial institutions in new jurisdictions.
Held under the theme 'Competing for Global Growth', the conference will set the stage for discussions that will seek to boost the scale of Islamic finance activities across international markets."
The main WIBC 2011 conference, which begins today, will be inaugurated by Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain. The inaugural plenary session will be followed by the high profile industry leaders' power debate led by internationally respected chief executives.
And decision-makers from the key players in the industry. Moderated by Ashar Nazim, senior director, Mena Leader for Islamic Finance, Ernst & Young, this dynamic session will analyse how the leading players are positioning themselves to capitalise on the new growth opportunities presented by the increasing internationalisation of Islamic banking and finance.
The power debate session will feature Tirad Mahmoud, chief executive of ADIB; Toby O'Connor, chief executive of The Islamic Bank of Asia; Syed Abdull Aziz Jailani bin Syed Kechik, chief executive of OCBC Al Amin Bank Berhad; Asad A. Ahmed, chief executive of Gulf African Bank; Abdulrazzak Mohammed Elkhraijy, executive vice-president and head of the Islamic Banking Development Group, The National Commercial Bank - Saudi Arabia; and Dr Salah Addeen A. Qadar Saeed, general manager (Credit & Risk Management) of Bahrain Islamic Bank.
WIBC 2011 will also feature a special keynote address on "Competing for Global Growth: Preparing for the Asian Century" by Prof. Kishore Mahbubani, the Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School) at the National University of Singapore on the 23rd of November 2011. Jaseem Ahmed, Secretary-General of Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) will be the opening keynote speaker on the final day of the event.
Commenting on the Central Bank of Bahrain's support for the event, Khalid Hamad Abdul-Rahman Hamad, Executive Director - Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain noted that "Bahrain has a long and proud history in supporting the progress of Islamic finance. The Kingdom continues to play a pioneering role in the advancement of industry standards, best practices and in developing a strong regulatory structure.
We look forward to welcoming back the global stage of the 18th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference to the Kingdom of Bahrain and to continuing its tradition of supporting growth and innovation in the international Islamic finance industry. The past few years were so challenging for Islamic finance but at the same time the future raises several business development potentials and opportunities which we are all looking forward to explore during the 18th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference," he said.
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