| More than 350 key players, regulators and thought leaders in the global Islamic funds and investments industry will gather for key talks in Bahrain later this month
The 8th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2012) will be held on May 20 and 21 in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain.
The event will focus on “New Growth Horizons: Expanding The Global Footprint of Islamic Funds and Investments.”
Announcing the launch of the event, David McLean, chief executive of the World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference, noted that “with key markets for Islamic finance, especially in Asia and the Middle East, now facing escalating infrastructure and development needs backed by solid economic growth, and the outlook for global lending markets still remaining uncertain, Islamic investments will play a key role in funding these multi-billion dollar projects given the fact that the global liquidity pool continues to shrink.
“Governments in various key markets are making moves to create a more attractive investment climate for Shari’ah-compliant finance and are forging greater co-operation between each other and multilateral agencies to attract investments,” he said.
According to the Ernst & Young Islamic Funds and Investments Report 2011 in the GCC alone, liquid wealth of Shari’ah sensitive investors is expected to add more than $70 billion to Islamic funds by 2013, he said.
“This, along with the fact that Islamic funds industry had registered a growth of 7 per cent in AuM last year – shaking off a period of stagnation – indicates a significant opportunity to harness the full potential of Shari’ah-compliant investments,” he added.
The conference will be inaugurated by an opening address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, executive director – financial institutions supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain.
Al Baker said: “The increasing interest in Islamic finance in major markets across the globe presents a unique opportunity of expanding the global footprint of the Islamic investments industry. It is therefore important to ensure that the Islamic funds and investment industry has solid and strong foundations for future development and growth. In addition to enhancing the innovations of new Islamic instruments and encouraging more spending in research and development, it is also essential that the Islamic financial institutions develop strategic alliances with other financial institutions globally, especially in the area of products structuring and offering.”
The inaugural address will be followed by a keynote plenary session featuring Datuk Noripah Kamso, chief executive, CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd; Fernand Grulms, chief executive officer, Luxembourg for Finance; and Ken Owens, chairman, Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA). The session, focusing on assessing dynamic new jurisdictions for Islamic funds will analyze the international reach and scale of Islamic investments and will discuss exciting international growth potential for the industry.
A key highlight of WIFFMC 2012 will be the high profile CEO and Industry Leaders’ Power Debate. The session moderated by Rushdi Siddiqui, global head, Islamic Finance & OIC Countries, Thomson Reuters and featuring Datuk Noripah Kamso, chief Executive, CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd; Oscar Silva, chief executive officer, Global Banking Corporation (GBCORP); and Dr Salah Addeen A Qadar Saeed, general manager – credit & risk management, Bahrain Islamic Bank, will share critical insights on aligning business strategies with new economic realities and profitably expanding the global footprint of Islamic investments.
WIFFMC 2012 will also feature an exclusive session on Corporate Issuers’ Perspectives led by significant new corporate borrowers. The interactive panel discussions chaired by Raphael de Ricaud, head of Islamic Finance, Rothschild and featuring Daniele Vecchi, senior vice president/head of group treasury, MAF Holding; Paul Gay, chief finance officer, Almarai; and Mona Al-Tawil, head of syndication, HSBC Saudi Arabia, will seek to build further momentum for the increasing importance of various Islamic finance instruments, particularly Sukuk, in the corporate funding mix.
The prestigious WIFFMC Islamic Investment Institution of the Year Award will also be declared at the event.