More than 1,200 industry leaders to gather in Bahrain to explore new opportunities for Islamic banking and finance

Published November 21st, 2010 - 01:21 GMT

More than 1,200 delegates from over 50 countries will take part in the 17th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2010) which is set to commence tomorrow at the Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The three day event which ends on the 24th of November is convened under the patronage of HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain and held under the support of the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Convened under the theme "Building a new growth paradigm – Islamic banking and the new global financial landscape", the event will kick-off tomorrow with series of pragmatically focused pre-conference workshops and executive briefing sessions led by experienced and respected industry experts, who will place a range of complex themes in a practical framework, enabling a deeper understanding of the critical issues facing the Islamic finance industry.

Announcing their participation at the event, Arshad Khan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Bahrain Financial Exchange said that "as the Strategic Exchange Partner of the WIBC 2010, the Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX) looks forward to sharing its knowledge and practices on how exchanges can play a key role in the growth of Islamic finance. With extensive research of the market, we recognise that there are many opportunities still to be explored within the Islamic finance industry and believe that exchange traded solutions for the Islamic market are the next key step. We are looking forward to showcasing our findings and insights into this dynamic market by addressing the conference participants with a presentation on, 'Exchanges: the catalyst for growth in Islamic Finance – BFX leading the way'. We further understand the need for training in this field of finance and are delighted to be hosting a pre-conference workshop on the 'Evolution of Murabaha: From Physical To Electronic Trading'.

"I look forward to participating in this important event", he added.

WIBC 2010 will feature more than 60 leading industry partners and exhibitors showcasing their latest innovations at the World Islamic Banking Exhibition organised along the sidelines of the conference. The exhibition will be officially inaugurated on the 23rd of November.

The inaugural plenary session of WIBC 2010 which will be held on Monday will feature high-powered discussions by key regulators in the Islamic finance industry on strengthening industry foundations to sustain growth in a challenging climate. This will be followed by a CEO & Industry Leaders' Power Debate which will examine and assess growth prospects for the consumer banking, corporate banking and investment banking markets.

David McLean, Managing Director of the World Islamic Banking Conference said that "this years event is the most crucial in its 17 years history as it comes at a juncture when the major industry players are seeking to re-visit key strategies that will focus on charting a new growth path for the Islamic finance industry in light of the new global financial landscape that has emerged post crisis."

In addition to the launch of the eagerly awaited World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2010/11 which is developed in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, this year's WIBC will also see for the first time, exclusive sessions held by Ernst & Young providing a comprehensive update on two of their most significant reports released in 2010 - the Ernst & Young World Takaful Report 2010 and the Ernst & Young Islamic Funds and Investments Report 2010.

A key highlight of WIBC 2010 is the specially convened Guru keynote session featuring world renowned investment leader and emerging markets guru, Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group. This session exclusively focused on shifting perspectives from crisis to recovery to sustainable growth will address new realities in the global financial system and implications for Islamic banks. Speaking ahead of his session Mark Mobius noted that "since the bottom of the market in early 2009, prices have risen from those very low levels. Nevertheless attractive valuations can be found since, on the average, those valuations are in the middle of their long term range." He also said that "economic growth in emerging markets is sustainable in view of their strong fundamentals with high productivity, low debt to GDP ratios, and high foreign exchange reserves."

In a statement issued, the organizers of WIBC said that the new and updated 'World Comes to WIBC Initiative' will this year feature a series of country pavilions and an exclusive country focus roundtable and will further explore new growth opportunities that are emerging in the most dynamically evolving and exciting high-growth markets for Islamic finance. Richard Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Gatehouse Bank said that they "are excited about the opportunities presented in an improved trade and economic outlook worldwide, and are keen to explore new territories also where Islamic finance is now gathering strong momentum. As well as providing a forum for natural Islamic jurisdictions in the Middle East and Asia, we welcome its wider global engagement to help move the industry beyond niche to its absolute relevance in the broader financial services spectrum."

"Gatehouse Bank is pleased to once again be supporting the World Islamic Banking Conference in 2010", he added.

Launched in 1994, the World Islamic Banking Conference has become an iconic event internationally recognized as the largest and the most significant annual gathering of leaders in the global Islamic banking and finance industry. 

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