WIFFM conference highlights Islamic Finance

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WIFFM conference to highlight expansion of Islamic Finance
More than 400 key players, regulators and thought leaders in the global Islamic funds and investments industry are set to gather in the Kingdom of Bahrain on the 27th and 28th of May 2013 for the 9th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2013). Photo-Jan Brasna

On the 27th and 28th of May 2013, the Kingdom of Bahrain will be hosting the 9th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2013). This is the most anticipated and largest gathering of influentials from the Islamic investments sector and this year will include participation from more than 400 key players, regulators and thought leaders.

The theme for this year’s event is “Broadening the Base of Investors and Issuers; and Boosting the International Growth of Islamic Capital Markets and Investments” and will include debates and discussions revolving around the topic.

“Today, the global Islamic finance industry has grown to become an increasingly substantial segment within the global financial markets and has gained significant interest as a viable and efficient alternative model of financial inter-mediation. The industry has also recorded tremendous growth in the last few years, with some key markets reporting their Islamic finance industry to be growing 50% faster than conventional finance. This positive trend can be attributed to the rapid geographical expansion of Islamic securities products and services that have enjoyed remarkable growth in key markets across Europe, Asia Pacific, MENA and the Central Asian states.

The potential size of the Islamic finance market is vast, and the sustained rapid pace in the growth of Islamic finance hinges on attracting new international investment flows as well as new capital market issuers. Recent industry estimates reveal that the global Sukuk market is expected to grow more than 140% to reach $292bn in issuances by 2016.

However it is essential that some of the critical challenges in the Islamic funds and investments industry are urgently addressed in order to ensure that the industry has solid and strong foundations for future development and growth, fully capitalizing on its true potential.” — David McLean, Chief Executive of the World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference

The 9th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2013) will be inaugurated on the 27th of May with a special opening address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain.

“The international Islamic banking and finance industry has a come a long way and today has a diverse range of financial products and services flourishing throughout the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa. Global Islamic banking assets held by commercial banks are set to cross US$2 trillion in 2013, up from the $1.3 trillion of assets held in 2011 and the industry has been enjoying a remarkable growth rate of approximately 20%. However, notwithstanding this progress, there is still a substantial investable surplus in the Islamic world which is not being put to productive use due to a shortage of Shari’ah-compliant investment vehicles – and supply continues to fall short of demand even with record issuance. Looking at the growth expectations of the global Islamic finance and investments industry and its growing global investor base, it is important that the industry further enhances innovation of new Islamic instruments and investment vehicles and reach out to markets outside its traditional boundaries.

Given the considerable capacity of Islamic finance to meet large investment requirements, I hope that the discussions at this year’s World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference, held under the theme ‘Broadening the Base of Investors and Issuers’ will help to further realize the full potential of this vibrant industry.” — Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker

The event this year will seek to highlight the rapid global expansion of Islamic funds and investments. In addition there will be group discussion among notable professionals who will share critical insights on overcoming the challenges facing the Islamic asset management industry and will address the need for cross-border distribution of funds, and a focus on improving the competitiveness of Islamic funds.

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