Central bank governors of OIC countries tackle issues during challenging times

THE recent Meeting of Central Banks and Monetary Authorities of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries was quite a challenging one.

This was because the meeting , which was held at Sasana Kijang, was held at a time when the world was in financial dire straits coupled with the eurozone’s worsening debt crisis.

Sasana Kijang is Bank Negara’s newly-established centre for excellence in knowledge and learning in central banking and financial services as well as for the promotion of regional and international collaboration.

The governors of the central banks of the OIC member countries had to deal with various financial issues and tackle solutions that could mitigate the threat of the global financial crisis.

Turkey’s central bank governor Erdem Basci speaking as Zeti listens at one of the press conferences. – Reuters

Various aspects of Islamic finance was discussed and how it could be adopted by central bankers’ in maintaining the stability of their financial system and avert another round of financial meltdown since the last one sparked by the subprime mortgage crisis.

Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the gathering of practitioners from the international financial community was timely in light of the continued growth of Islamic finance in the current highly challenging international financial environment.

She added that Islamic finance continued to expand, facilitating greater economic and financial linkages between Asia, the Middle East and other emerging economies. Zeti said this at the fifth annual Islamic Financial Intelligence Summit organised by The Banker Magazine and Financial Times. The event was one of the series of OIC events held in conjunction with the meeting.

The global Islamic finance industry continued to chart double-digit growth of 21%, with the syariah compliant assets now breaching the US$1 trillion mark.

The other events comprised the annual Experts’ Group Workshop and the Governors’ Meeting of Central Banks and Monetary Authorities.

Organised in collaboration with the Statistical, Economic, Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (Sesric), the OIC series was held for four days from Nov 14-17 and was attended by top dignitaries and central bankers.

Among the dignitaries who attended the OIC Central Banks and Monetary Authorities meeting were Central Bank of Bahrain governor Rasheed Mohammaed Al Maraj, Central Bank of Turkey governor Dr Erdem Basci, Central Bank of UAE governor Sultan bin Nasser Al-Suwaidi, State Bank of Pakistan governor Yaseen Anwar, Sesric director-general Dr Savas Alpay and OIC Secretariat director of economic affairs department Gholam Hossein Darzi.

The theme of the meeting this year was Central Banking and Financial Sector Development, which covered the framework for central bank and sound financial sector development that would support and catalyse sustainable economic growth in developing economies.

In her keynote address entitled “The New Islamic Finance Landscape”, Zeti said a central aspect of the new Islamic financial landscape was the increased focus on financial stability, adding that this would enhance its potential as a form of financial intermediation amid an increasingly more challenging environment.

Zeti said the increased focus on financial stability had several implications for the new financial landscape, of which, the most significant would be the fundamental changes in the regulatory environment.

She said much progress had already been made by the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) in promulgating an extensive set of prudential standards for the Islamic financial services industry since its establishment in 2002.

The IFSB, she said, had already introduced standards for capital adequacy, risk management, corporate governance and syariah governance which were significant in promoting international uniformity of the regulatory framework and international best practices for the Islamic financial system in different jurisdictions.

At the meeting, the central bank governors and head of delegations agreed that emerging economies would continue to contribute towards driving global economic recovery and growth as well as the potential role of Islamic finance in supporting this endeavour be given special attention.

They also affirmed to leverage on individual strengths and cooperate in building capacities, including the training programmes organised by Sesric for central banks of the OIC member countries.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the council of the IFSB has announced the appointment of the central bank governor of Bahrain Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj as its council chairman effective January 2012 and Qatar central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani would be deputy chairman.

Catholic University of Argentina professor of international economics Martin Redrado, who was also former governor of the central bank of Argentina, spoke on capital flow into emerging markets.

He said the treasury and central banks in these markets should coordinate the intervention mechanisms and resources to deal with capital flows in order to minimise volatility in the domestic financial markets and avoid threats to financial stability.

“Building liquidity buffers, including foreign reserve accumulation and the development of a highly liquid and solvent financial system is an effective tool for emerging markets to withstand the increased volatility of capital flows,” he said.

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OIC event to be curtain raiser for series of events hosted by Bank Negara

BANK Negara will be hosting a series of events in November in conjunction with the Meeting of Central Banks and Monetary Authorities of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries.

Organised in collaboration with the Statistical, Economic, Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), the OIC series will, among others, comprise the annual Experts’ Group Workshop and the Governors’ Meeting of Central Banks and Monetary Authorities.

The events, from Nov 14-17, will be held at Sasana Kijang, the central bank’s newly established centre for excellence in knowledge and learning in central banking and financial services as well as for the promotion of regional and international collaboration.

The OIC Experts’ Group Workshop and the Meeting of OIC Central Banks and Monetary Authorities will provide an opportunity for member countries and the heads of their institutions to share and discuss issues of mutual interest.

The meeting this year will focus on the theme Central Banking and Financial Sector Development, covering the framework for central bank and sound financial sector development that will support and catalyse sustainable economic growth in developing economies.

Among the dignitaries attending the OIC Central Banks and Monetary Authorities meeting are Islamic Development Bank president Dr Ahmad

Mohamed Ali Al Madani, Islamic Financial Services Board chairman Faris A. Sharaf, Central Bank of Bahrain governor Rasheed Mohammaed Al Maraj,

Central Bank of Republic of Turkey governor Dr Erdem Basci, Central Bank of UAE governor Sultan bin Nasser Al-Suwaidi, State Bank of Pakistan governor Yaseen Anwar, SESRIC director-general Dr Savas Alpay and OIC Secretariat director of economic affairs department Gholam Hossein Darzi.

Highlights of the event include keynote address entitled Accelerating Financial Sector Development for Economic Growth: Distilling Global Lessons for OIC Member Countries by Shaukat Aziz, former prime minister of Pakistan.

Dr Martin Redrado, former governor of Central Bank of Argentina will deliver keynote to discuss on Central Banking in the 21st Century: Implications on Economic and Financial Globalisation.

Bank Negara will also be hosting the fifth annual Islamic Financial Intelligence Summit organised by The Banker Magazine and Financial Times. The summit serves as a platform for members of the private sector to discuss the latest developments and opportunities in the global Islamic finance space.

It aims to provide unparalleled information and analysis on the emerging trends of Islamic finance as furnished by the Top 500 Islamic Financial Institutions Report.

As the only ranking of its kind, the report’s research offers a unique insight into the strength of Islamic banking and finance and provides a verifiable benchmark for the sector.

It details the geographical distribution of institutions with syariah compliant assets and the Top 500 rankings by both institution and country.

A wealth of data from the report will be presented via speaker addresses and interactive panellist sessions.

These will cover the global and regional growth forecasts of the industry and address current issues such as liquidity management, the untapped potential in new markets, and the development of syariah-compliant products, as well as the future of the Islamic finance industry.

Looking ahead to the event, Brian Caplen, The Banker Magazine’s editor said: “Islamic finance is an increasingly important area of international finance which stood up well in the crisis.

“Both our annual conference and our Top 500 Islamic Financial Institutions report have become well established in the industry calendar. For this year we are looking forward to the most comprehensive data set yet in the ranking as well as ground breaking discussions at the event. We hope as many as possible can join us on the day.”

The summit will bring together more than 450 invited guests from both the advanced and emerging economies, including senior members of the financial and corporate community and senior central bankers.

At the event, Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz will present her keynote address entitled The New Islamic Finance Landscape. Her speech will highlight issues on fostering a culture of sustainable growth, the globalisation of a previously niche market and growth trends witnessed in Asia.

Zeti said : “This gathering of practitioners from the international financial community is timely in light of the continued growth of Islamic finance in this highly challenging international financial environment. Islamic finance continues to expand facilitating greater economic and financial linkages between Asia, the Middle East and other emerging economies.

“This Summit serves as an important platform to deliberate on developments and opportunities as well as emerging trends that will shape the future landscape of Islamic finance.”

The OIC series of events will also see the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) holding the 4th Islamic Financial Stability Forum in conjunction with the 19th Meeting of the Council of the IFSB at its offices at the Sasana Kijang.

The Forum, themed Strengthening Financial Safety Nets in the Islamic Financial Services Industry’, will draw on the participation of the IFSB Council members and representatives of the supervisory and regulatory authorities from among the IFSB member countries as well as the OIC heads of central banks and monetary authorities.

The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organisation in the world after the United Nations with 57 member states. The present OIC Charter was adopted in 2008, laying down the objectives and principles and fundamental purposes to strengthen the solidarity and cooperation among member states.

The charter, among others, highlights the organisation’s aim to safeguard and protect the common interests and support the legitimate causes of the member states and coordinate and unify member states’ efforts in view of the challenges faced by the Islamic world in particular and the international community in general.

It also ensures active participation of member states in the global political, economic and social decision-making processes to secure their common interests and strengthen intra-Islamic economic and trade cooperation in order to achieve economic integration leading to the establishment of an Islamic Common Market.

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