INTERNATIONAL. It's official. The IFN 2009 Issuers & Investors Asia Forum is the Islamic finance industry's largest ever event.
The recently concluded three-day forum, from the 3-5 August in Kuala Lumpur, saw 1,198 unique delegates from all over the world.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr Mohamad Nedal Alchaar, secretary-general of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).
Alchaar surprised industry practitioners at the event with his declaration that AAOIFI will determine the Shariah compliance of a product, and that this could be done from the latter half of next year.
Alchaar insisted that it is not AAOIFI’s role to be the watchdog of the industry as “we are, after all, a standard issuing body”. However, he sees a “huge” gap in the market regarding what is Shariah compliant and what is not. “We thought we could take advantage of our superior Shariah board
members to watch the market and identify what is Shariah compliant and what is not. We believe that AAOIFI can take on that role temporarily; we’re not going to be the watchdog for the industry forever.”
Just as Alchaar expressed his concerns over where Islamic finance was headed, all other sessions of the IFN Asia Forum — not only for investors and issuers, but also for those in the equities sector and, for the first time ever, the Takaful sector — saw participants following lively discussions among panelists, made up of senior Islamic industry practitioners, on how best to steer the course for the industry.
Among the best evaluated sessions were:
• Shariah product permissibility, compliance and acceptance: latest rulings and what they
• Discussing Islamic investment products: evolution, profile, structure and asset allocation;
• Developing Islamic markets through indexation: beyond the boundaries of Islamic
• Product development and practical issues for Islamic equity products;
• Effective risk management and the Takaful industry.
From a survey conducted among the participants, 58% said they had attended the event to learn more about Islamic finance, 31% were interested in networking, and the rest were keen on following a particular session.
The event, once again, proved to be a clear success with 99% of the delegates saying they were interested in attending the next IFN Asia Forum to be held from the 13th – 15th September 2010.
For those interested in the presentations, you may view them from our website at www.ifnforums.com/presentation_09.php