The 25th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) officially kick-started with a stimulating IIFM Awareness Seminar that covered a broad spectrum of issues, focused on entrenching transparency in advancing sustainable growth in the Islamic Financial Market, on the 26th of November at the ART Rotana Hotel, Amwaj Islands, Bahrain.
With a packed audience of 300 delegates, the 9th annual IIFM pre-conference seminar saw an insightful opening address by Khalid Hamad Abdulrahman Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain and Chairman of IIFM, who discussed IIFM’s 3 Year Strategic Plan (2017 – 2020) and its new initiatives being undertaken in collaboration with other international bodies such as the two Participation Agreements for Islamic Trade Finance that will be launched soon jointly with Washington based Bankers Association of Finance & Trade (BAFT) as well as the master agreements for gold trading being considered with UK based World Gold Council and London Bullion Market Association.
Stressing on the growing need for widespread adoption of standards, Mr. Hamad said, “IIFM has gained much credibility and reached a stage of maturity with sound achievements to date, however, there is still a burning need to get its standards to be used more actively by wider market players which can only happen if there is strong endorsement from regulators, particularly those in Islamic banking markets across GCC and Asia.”
The opening address was followed by an overview of IIFM’s Shari’ah-Compliant Financial Documentation and Product Confirmation Standards. The rest of the day ensued with thought-provoking sessions covering the most pressing issues affecting Islamic financial markets like Trade Finance and the IIFM-BAFT Master Participation Agreements; Developments in the Global Sukuk Market and Gold related Shari’ah-Complaint Documentation & Products Standardization Possibilities.
The seminar concluded with a critical discussion on the latest developments in global financial markets that saw an assessment of Benchmark Rate Reform and the preparedness levels of Islamic financial institutions. The session also discussed the need for digitization of Islamic financial contracts and products and the challenges which Islamic banks have to overcome particularly in adopting smart contracts.
The seminar saw a host of critical insights unfold from Industry Leaders comprising Ijlal Ahmed Alvi, Chief Executive Officer, IIFM; Hammad Hassan, Managing Director, Bank ABC Islamic and Group Head of Islamic Banking, Bank ABC; Andrew Naylor, Director-Central Banks and Public Policy, World Gold Council; Lilian Le Falher, Executive Manager, Head of Treasury, FI & Capital Markets, Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain); Omar Mustafa Ansari, Acting Secretary General, AAOIFI; Mian Nazir, Chief Executive Officer, Dar Al Sharia; Habib Motani, Partner, Clifford Chance LLP; Dr. Hatim El-Tahir, Director, Audit & Assurance, Deloitte & Touche – Middle East among others.