Bahrain playing major role in Islamic finance

Bahrain continues to be the best performing country in Islamic finance with projected growth expected to touch $80 billion by the year-end. This was highlighted by the Thomson Reuters, research and development head Mustafa Adil during a Press conference at the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF), Juffair. He said Bahrain is the most developed Islamic finance market in the region and second most developed globally after Malaysia.

“The projected growth of Islamic finance in Bahrain in 2013 was about $65 billion which is expected to increase to $80bn.”

Mr Adil said Bahrain is the perfect hub for Islamic finance and is an industry leader.

“In particular, Bahrain was the top global performer in terms of governance, second in terms of knowledge and corporate social responsibility and third in terms of awareness.

“This eco-system has supported the country in building up Islamic banking assets in excess of $60bn and issuing sukuk with a total outstanding value of over $4bn.

“All these factors help to cement the kingdom’s claim to being one of the premier Islamic finance hubs in the world,” he added.

Mr Adil said the next step for Bahrain and the other GCC countries was to engage in international collaborations and work towards training and adherence to Sharia-compliant standards. He was speaking along with the organisers of the annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2014) that will be held from December 1-3 at the Gulf Hotel.

The 21st annual edition of the world’s largest and most influential annual gathering of international leaders in global Islamic finance and is expected to be attended by 1,300 industry leaders from more than 50 countries.

It will be held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and supported by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

WIBC 2014 chief executive David McLean yesterday said that Bahrain was the ” first mover,” of Islamic banking which made it the best venue to host the event.

He said that CBB Governor Rasheed Al Maraj will open the conference with a special keynote address by National Bank of Kazakhstan deputy governor Nurlan Kussainov.

Mr McLean said the theme of WIBC 2014 “will focus on moving Islamic finance towards the new paradigm shift in global financial markets”.

Participants will discuss key areas in the Islamic finance sector, including regulatory, strategic, Sharia operational and risk transformation.

WIBC 2014 participants include EY partner and Global Islamic Banking Centre head Ashar Nazim, Ibdar Bank chief executive Basel Al Haj Issa, CIMB Islamic Bank CEO Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, Gulf Finance House CEO Hisham Alrayes and Islamic Bank of Asia CEO Toby O’Connor among other industry experts.

The conference will also feature a major international awards function that will recognise excellence, innovation and pioneering initiatives in the global Islamic banking and finance industry.

Meanwhile, BIBF yesterday launched the first educational dealing room in the region with latest technology that provide hands-on experience to students.

It will allow students to learn about trading stocks and bonds in a real environment and the facility includes 20 trading stations equipped with market tools linked with Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters Eikon. In order to provide the simulation training, BIBF has partnered with training and technology providers in the UK and the US.

*This article was originally published on Gulf Daily News on 29 October 2014. Read the original article here.

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