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Islamic finance to strengthen economic and financial linkages between Asia and the Middle East
Source: BI-ME , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 9:00 pm

INTERNATIONAL. The rapid international expansion of Islamic finance reflects its ability to remain competitive and to increasingly meet the complex requirements of the global financial community.

With various countries now intensifying efforts to develop their respective Islamic financial capabilities, it is becoming increasingly vital to build deeper relationships between the key markets for Islamic finance and also between the leading industry players in each of these jurisdictions.

Held under the official support of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the 3rd Annual World Islamic Banking Conference: Asia Summit (WIBC Asia 2012), which will be held on the 5th and 6th of June 2012 in Grand Hyatt Singapore, will set the stage for high-level discussions that will focus on strengthening international connectivity and capturing cross-border opportunities enabling further growth of the Islamic finance industry in Asia.

Announcing the launch of the 3rd annual edition of WIBC Asia, David McLean, Chief Executive of the World Islamic Banking Conference: Asia Summit noted that “there can be no doubt that Islamic banking, as a force on the world financial stage, can be a powerful catalyst for expanding investment and trade ties between Asia and the Middle East and beyond.

In order to better facilitate cross-border relationships, more intensive international co-ordination of regulatory approaches is needed – together with the drive from the industry itself, the leading international Islamic banks – to respond to the huge potential emerging from these inter-regional opportunities.”

“With Asia Pacific becoming an increasingly attractive destination for investments that are Shari'ah compliant, there is a need to make further advances towards achieving global connectivity and deepening economic cooperation with other key centres for Islamic finance to reap the full benefit of the region's rapid expansion and robust development”, he added.

The 3rd Annual World Islamic Banking Conference: Asia Summit is set to begin on the 5th of June with an inaugural address by H.E. Ravi Menon, Governor of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The inaugural address will be immediately followed by an opening keynote address by H.E. Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani, President of the Islamic Development Bank.

Speaking ahead of the event, H.E. Ravi Menon, Governor of the Monetary Authority of Singapore said that “WIBC Asia has become an important bridge connecting Asia and the Middle East to the growing participants of Islamic finance. 

Since its launch in 2010, the event has grown in both size and stature. It is a unique gathering for the industry to discuss trends, share experiences and explore opportunities to tap the full potential of Islamic finance.”

A key highlight of WIBC Asia 2012 will be the exclusive Power Debate session led by internationally respected CEOs and industry leaders. Moderated by Haslinda Amin of Bloomberg Television, this session will analyze the expanding role of Islamic finance as a conduit for trade and capital flows between Asia and the Middle East and will also discuss how Islamic financial institutions can better develop the capacity to structure large-scale multi-currency and cross border transactions.

The Power Debate session will feature Toby O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer, The Islamic Bank of Asia; Hussain AlQemzi; Chief Executive Officer, Noor Islamic Bank and Group Chief Executive Officer, Noor Investment Group; Muzaffar Hisham, Chief Executive Officer, Maybank Islamic Berhad; Dato' Jamelah Jamaluddin, Chief Executive Officer, Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Berhad (KFH Malaysia); Syed Abdull Aziz Jailani Bin Syed Kechik, Chief Executive Officer, OCBC Al-Amin Bank Berhad; Shamsun Anwar Hussain, Director - Consumer Banking, CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad; and Wasim Saifi, Global Head, Standard Chartered Saadiq, Consumer Banking.

Confirming his participation at the event, Hussain AlQemzi from the Dubai based Noor Investment Group  said that “in order to ensure an orderly evolution of Islamic finance from a niche segment into the mainstream international financial markets, it is vital to further enhance the industry’s capabilities for cross-border activities, which in turn will encourage innovative product development, robust and standardised regulatory frameworks and the long term stability of the industry.

"What the industry lacks at the moment is the breadth and depth that investors enjoy in the conventional market. An inter-linkage between the key Islamic financial centres will facilitate investor access to a wider range of Shari’ah-compliant products beyond those available in their domestic market.”

He also said that “the annual World Islamic Banking Conference: Asia Summit is becoming an increasingly important platform that facilitates dialogues between the two key centres for Islamic finance – Asia and the Middle East. The theme for this year, "Islamic Finance in Asia: Strengthening International Connectivity and Capturing Cross-Border Opportunities", highlights the tremendous potential for significant cross-border transactions which the Islamic finance industry must tap into.”

“As a key industry player we are keen on exploring these unique opportunities and we look forward to this important gathering”, he added.

For the first time in Asia, the Bahrain based International Islamic Financial Markets (IIFM) will lead a pre-conference industry briefing at WIBC Asia 2012 on the 4th of June The IIFM executive briefing will focus on Islamic hedging and liquidity management instruments and, in addition to featuring the CEO and board members of IIFM, will also be inaugurated by Tai Boon Leong, Executive Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

More than 450 international delegates from across the Islamic banking and finance world will participate in the 3rd Annual WIBC: Asia Summit in Singapore.



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