H.E. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain inaugurates the 20th Anniversary Special Edition of the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2013). His Highness Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain attends the opening ceremony.
The main WIBC conference was officially inaugurated today with an opening keynote address by H.E. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain. This was immediately followed by a special keynote address by H.E. Dr. Mohammad Y. Al-Hashel, Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait.
The opening keynote session provided key regulatory perspectives on improving the stability, competitiveness and long term success of the Islamic finance industry and discussed key initiatives to make the Islamic banking and finance sector more robust and resilient across all stages of the global economic cycle. His Highness Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, along with the Cabinet ministers attended the opening ceremony of WIBC 2013.
H.E. Saeed Abdul Jalil Al Fahim, Chairman of the Board, International Investment Bank Bahrain also delivered a special address on ‘business in the Middle East and the role of Islamic finance’.
The CEO and Industry Leaders’ Power Debate was led by Ashar Nazim, Partner, Head of Global Islamic Banking Center, EY, featuring Moinuddin Malim, Chief Executive Officer, Mashreq Al Islami; Wasim Saifi, Global Head of Islamic Banking and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Saadiq Bhd; Toby O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Bank of Asia; and Steve Troop, Group Chief Executive Officer of Barwa Bank.
WIBC 2013 also featured for the first time an exclusive Canada Country Interface which was inaugurated by H.E. Thomas MacDonald, (non-resident) Ambassador of Canada to Bahrain, Embassy of Canada to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A special UK Country Interface session was also held along the sidelines of the conference which discussed new initiatives driving Islamic finance in the UK. The session was inaugurated by HMA Iain Lindsay OBE, British Ambassador to Bahrain.
The 2013/14 special anniversary edition of the World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2013/14 was also launched at a specially convened session at the conference. Developed in collaboration with EY, the Report titled “The Transition Begins” was presented by Ashar Nazim, Partner, Head of Global Islamic Banking Centre, EY.
Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President and Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group commented, “Islamic finance is enjoying tremendous progress as one of the fastest growing asset classes in the world. The industry continues to expand in many emerging markets and introduce new standards that should further help develop products and attract investors. The industry’s global appeal continues to grow and attract remarkable attention, including from non-core markets in the UK, Europe, Asia and North America.
In order to for Islamic banks to expand their geographic footprint further over the coming years, they must be able to compete more effectively and tackle a number of key challenges facing the industry, including delivering cost efficiencies, building a greater talent pool, enhancing corporate governance; delivering innovative products that meet genuine market needs; and ensuring risk management systems are up to par. For the Islamic finance industry to build a solid foundation for the next phase of international growth, the industry must undergo transformation in a number of key areas.
“The World Islamic Banking Conference, over the last 2 decades, has established itself as a key global forum for in-depth discussions on the facets of the continued global growth in Islamic finance. The 20th Anniversary World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2013) is a key platform for industry leaders to put a spotlight on the challenges, innovations, latest developments and technological solutions essential for the further growth of the global Islamic banking and finance sector.”
WIBC 2013 continues on 5 December and will feature an exclusive interactive dialogue with H.E. Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Chairman and Founder of Dallah Al Baraka Group; and a special guest address on the future of banking regulation and its implications for Islamic financial institutions by Sir Howard Davies, Former Chairman, Financial Services Authority; Former Deputy Governor, Bank of England and Professor, Sciences Po, Paris.