As cautious optimism returns to the global economy and financial markets begin to move towards stabilisation and economic recovery, more than 1,200 industry decision-makers from over 50 countries are preparing to meet in Bahrain at the 16th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2009).
This year’s conference, to be held on the 6th, 7th and 8th of December 2009, will focus on New Strategies for New Economic Realities and WIBC 2009 has set the stage for discussions that will shape the post-crisis landscape as Islamic banks grapple with the need to manage risk, seek new growth markets, deliver on market expectations as well as remain competitive. The theme of WIBC 2009 reflects this fresh outlook that the leading Islamic financial institutions are currently adopting as they compete in an increasingly challenging landscape.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Tirad Mahmoud, the Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank was bullish about the long-terms prospects for the Islamic banking industry:
"It is heartening to experience the vibrancy and sustained growth that our industry, Islamic Banking, has seen over the last few years. I am impressed most by the upbeat stance of the entire industry in face of the global economic situation in general and that of the banking sector in particular. I am also pleased that we are a Platinum Strategic Partner of the 16th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2009) as it is one of the few global platforms where leading industry players converge. We expect this year's event to be a resounding success and contribute to the industry's dynamism; and to rebrand Islamic banking as the true universal banking model which promotes mutual benefit as the basis of growth and a financial eco balance as the basis of planning."
Similar views were expressed by Ahmed Fahour, the Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Finance House, who noted that:"At GFH, we believe Islamic banking has a big future and not just in traditional markets but on the global stage. The Annual World Islamic Banking Conference is a key player in stimulating debate and tackling the issues the industry will face in the years ahead."
The inaugural plenary session of WIBC 2009 will feature a series of prominent keynote addresses from H.E. Rasheed M. Al Maraj, Governor of The Central Bank of Bahrain; H.E. Heng Swee Keat, Governor of the Monetary Authority of Singapore; H.E. Aset O. Issekeshev, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Kazakhstan; and H.E. Khalid M. Al-Aboodi, The CEO & General Manager of The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, the private sector arm of the IDB Group.
In addition, the launch of the 2009/2010 edition of the WIBC Competitiveness Report, a critical reference source for industry decision makers, providing strategic insights from McKinsey & Company, will also provide a powerful research platform for discussing key trends, challenges and opportunities in the Islamic banking industry.
A panel of industry experts will lead discussions on controversies in Islamic finance with emphasis on lessons learnt from the global financial crisis. Other key discussions will focus on ways in which the industry will evolve in terms of product innovation, global connectivity and business models. A roundtable panel representing UK institutions will offer insights on the UK’s perspective on development, growth and the future outlook for Islamic finance.
A unique feature for the second day of the conference will be the keynote address and Q&A session with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the renowned thinker and author of the international bestseller “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable”. More than 1,200 delegates are expected to attend the 16th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference.