Experts to probe Islamic banking growth strategy

Leading players, industry thought leaders and key regulators in the international Islamic banking and finance industry will take part in the 18th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2011), which begins today at the Gulf Hotel.

“In recent years Islamic finance has further transitioned into a dynamic, fast growing and highly competitive market servicing an increasingly international community,” said WIBC managing director David McLean.

“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 WIBC 2011, will set the stage for discussions that will seek to boost the scale of Islamic finance activities across international markets.”

“This year we have delegates attending from more than 50 countries providing the discussions at WIBC with a truly international perspective.”

WIBC 2011 will begin today with a series of pre-conference summits.

The main WIBC 2011 conference, which begins tomorrow, will be inaugurated by Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Governor Rasheed Al Maraj.

“Bahrain has a long and proud history in supporting the progress of Islamic finance,” said CBB executive director banking supervision Khalid Hamad.

“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 Bahrain and to continuing its tradition of supporting growth and innovation in the international Islamic finance industry.

“The past few years were 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 conference.”

Economic Development Board chief executive Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa said Bahrain continues to be widely recognised as a global leader in Islamic finance, and is also home to a number of central bodies which set the standards for the industry across the globe.

“Guiding more than 30 countries on conducting business by Islamic principles has provided many investors with the confidence they need despite the turbulent market conditions in recent years. We have built a solid foundation for Islamic banking in the kingdom, presently there are more than 25 Islamic banks and the monthly issues of the sukuk Islamic securities are regularly over-subscribed,” he said.

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