Bahrain set for big Islamic finance event

More than 1,300 international Islamic finance leaders will be Bahrain next week for the 20th anniversary special edition of the World Islamic Banking Conference.

Bahrain set for big Islamic finance event

Bahrain set for big Islamic finance event

The event is being held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa from December 3 to 5 and will be supported by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

The WIBC has, during the last two decades, established its pre-eminent position as the world’s largest and most influential annual gathering of global Islamic finance industry leaders.

This year the event is set to gather industry pioneers, thought leaders, key regulators and leading players for discussions focused on transforming the sector to improve stability, competitiveness and global growth of the international Islamic finance industry.

“The global Islamic finance industry has undoubtedly undergone significant change over the past two decades, playing an ever increasing role in the international financial system,” remarked CBB Governor Rasheed Al Maraj.

“The industry has also grown significantly in geographic coverage, now encompassing even more new jurisdictions and emerging markets as well as the deepening and mainstreaming of its footprint in its core markets,” he stated.

“However, in order for Islamic finance to continue to be successful as well as robust and resilient across all phases of the economic cycle, a genuine transformation is required in order to progress to the next level of development,” he added.

The three-day event will commence with a series of pre-conference summits led by experienced and respected international industry standard-setting bodies and experts.

“As WIBC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it will be the most opportune platform for industry leaders and key regulators to not only look back at the industry’s achievements but also discuss new initiatives to further strengthen the industry foundations and set targets for the next two decades of continued growth and resilience,” remarked Al Maraj.

“As the strategic partner of this prestigious event, the CBB would like to invite industry leaders to the kingdom and be a part of this unique global gathering,” he added.

David McLean, the chief executive of the WIBC said the growing awareness of and demand for investing in accordance with Shari’ah principles on a global scale had been a major catalyst towards making Islamic financial services a flourishing industry with total assets now in excess of $1.3 trillion.

“With the evolving life cycle of the Islamic finance industry, the business models and strategies, regulatory and supervisory frameworks, and legal structures must also evolve to ensure that further progress is achieved,” he added.

The main WIBC 2013 conference, which begins on December 4, will be inaugurated by Al Maraj.

The inaugural address will be immediately followed by a special keynote address by Central Bank of Kuwait Governor Dr Mohammad Al Hashel.

This year’s WIBC features the most impressive line-up of speakers in the conference’s 20 years of history. In addition, much attention will also be on the special guest address by Bank of England former deputy governor, Financial Services Authority former chairman and Sciences Po, Paris, professor Sir Howard Davies.

The keynote session featuring Sir Howard will provide new insights on the future of banking regulation and its implications for Islamic financial institutions.-TradeArabia News Service

Business Bermuda at Islamic finance event

Business Bermuda promoted the Island’s commitment to growing its Islamic finance sector at the inaugural Islamic Financial News European Forum held in London.

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At the event, which was held last week and endorsed by the London Stock Exchange, investors discussed Bermuda’s offering of an attractive, politically neutral and familiar platform to Western investors and managers, access for conventional finance and fund structures seeking alternative asset classes in emerging markets, such as Islamic finance, geographic and product diversification; and access a wider asset class and global investor base.

More than 650 people attended the event, which included a presentation by Peter Hughes, group director of Apex Fund Services, on Bermuda’s role in the growth of the Islamic finance industry.

Mr Hughes also hosted a panel discussion on Bermuda as an Islamic finance hub. Bermuda recently signed its 25th Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with the Republic of Indonesia, providing for a full exchange of information on criminal and civil tax matters between the two countries. In recent years Bermuda has been strengthening its position as the jurisdiction of choice for the Shariah-compliant international financial services industry.

Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy, is a key member of the Asia-Pacific Group of 20 and home to the world’s largest Muslim population, who will now have improved access to Bermuda’s blue chip, international finance centre.

Bermuda companies and trusts are now regularly used by financiers in Bermuda for Islamic finance transactions as institutions have developed a wide range of techniques using offshore vehicles which allow them to uphold religious and legal principles whilst enabling them to offer viable financial products. Bermuda’s regulatory structure already provides mechanisms, which cater to the specific requirements of Shariah-compliant services such as takaful and retakaful structures and mutual fund structures.

Cheryl Packwood, CEO of Business Bermuda, said: “I am delighted that Bermuda has signed this TIEA with the Republic of Indonesia. This treaty is a significant step forward in cementing political and economic ties between the two countries. Business Bermuda continues to actively market Bermuda as a financial centre for international business and as the offshore jurisdiction of choice for Islamic finance.”

Mr Hughes said: “Bermuda is in an excellent position to support firms seeking to invest in Shariah compliant products, especially since regulations and laws form the foundation of our world-class financial services industry, making Bermuda well regulated, transparent and fully compliant. The global market for Islamic finance and insurance will continue to grow, opening exciting possibilities for Bermuda-based companies.”