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Focus on sustaining Islamic banking in Oman

Published: 24/03/2014 05:26:48 PM GMT
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H E Sheikh Abdullah al Salmi, executive president of the Capital Market Authority (CMA), presided over the seminar, which was attended by policy m (more)

H E Sheikh Abdullah al Salmi, executive president of the Capital Market Authority (CMA), presided over the seminar, which was attended by policy makers, Sharia scholars and representatives of the Islamic banking industry in Oman and the region, in the presence of AbdulRazak Ali Issa, chief executive, Bank Muscat.

The seminar highlighted steps to promote and sustain Islamic banking with quality products and services in Oman.

"The seminar echoes the Islamic banking industry's consolidation phase in Oman, focusing on investment opportunities and liquidity-management tools to achieve sustained growth in the coming period," H E Salmi said.

Speaking at the seminar, Sulaiman al Harthy, group general manager - Islamic banking, Bank Muscat, said, "The Islamic finance industry is growing very rapidly worldwide and this is a great opportunity for new Islamic banks, as well as conventional banks to come together and create an environment which should make all of us proud, balancing the Sharia law, Central Bank of Oman guidelines, public demands and expectations and the rule of law."

Dr Sayd Farook, global head - Islamic Capital Markets, Thomson Reuters, said, "The seminar deals with a very important and timely assessment of the future of Islamic banking and how Islamic financial institutions in Oman can grow in an increasingly competitive environment."

A session on the future of the Islamic banking industry covered the strong demand and retail market potential for Islamic banking in Oman, exploring the options of full conversion to Islamic banking rather than opening dedicated windows, how Islamic banks can differentiate themselves, and what customers are looking beyond Sharia compliance in Oman.

In another session on capturing the opportunity with sukuk as a catalyst for foreign investment in Oman, the seminar highlighted how sukuk can offer local investors and financial institutions added portfolio diversification and investment opportunities in the form of new asset classes, while issuers can benefit from increased liquidity by tapping into the growing demand for Sharia-compliant investment products.

Another important discussion centred on developing indigenous and innovative solutions for liquidity management in Oman's Islamic finance industry. The session explored new liquidity management products to fill the yield curve and liquidity management issues faced by the Islamic banking industry.

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