Manama: The 9th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2013) witnessed a high-profile opening and discussed on broadening the base of investors and issuers; and boosting the international growth of Islamic capital markets and investments.
Confirming its position as the world’s largest and most influential annual gathering of Islamic investment leaders, WIFFMC 2013 convened the leading players, industry thought leaders and key regulators in the international Islamic funds and investments industry.
Held under the strategic partnership of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the two day event was inaugurated by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain, who provided insights into creating stronger regulatory frameworks to support the international development of the Islamic funds and investments industry.
Discussing key strategies to strengthen the global architecture for the Islamic investments industry, Dr. Al Fakih said, “Islamic funds and investments industry has become an increasingly important component of the global financial markets. In particular, the global issuance of Islamic instruments, especially Sukuk, has played a key role in building cross-border linkages between issuers and international investors and has paved the way for the creation of a supply of Islamic financial instruments.”
“However, it has not led as yet, to the promotion of active and efficient secondary markets and a greater focus is needed in this regard”, he added.
A key highlight of the 9th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets (WIFFMC 2013) was the highly interactive CEOs & Industry Leaders’ Power Debate session led by internationally respected industry players. The session analyzed key strategies to overcome the challenges facing the Islamic asset management industry and addressed the need for cross-border distribution of funds and improving the competitiveness of Islamic funds.
Speaking at Power Debate session, Hasan S. AlJabri, CEO of SEDCO Capital, said, “Equity still dominates the overall allocation in the Islamic finance industry, representing around 39 percent of the assets under management. The industry needs new asset classes like private equity, infrastructure, and liquidity products.”
“In 2012 Muslims represented around 25.7 percent of the world population and by 2050 this figure is expected to grow to 30 percent, representing an ever growing global market with various financial needs for innovative Shariah-compliant products to meet the demand,” he added.
Addressing the media present at the event, David McLean, Chief Executive of the World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference said, “Investor appetite for Shariah-compliant investment options is pushing the Islamic funds and investments industry into the mainstream and the increasing demand for quality Sukuk in particular has played a key role in this. Recent reports and industry estimates project that Sukuk issuance worldwide is set to cross $100 billion again this year. Though there has been a significant spike in the demand for Islamic investment alternatives, supply is still lagging behind.”
“A key challenge that the Islamic investment and asset management industry is facing at the moment is lack of diversity. Moreover, the industry is currently geographically skewed towards the Middle East and South East Asia, although this is rapidly changing as more international investors look at Shariah-compliant products,” he added.