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Industry Leaders Discuss the Challenges and Opportunities for Islamic Finance and Investments in the Middle East
2011-04-12 22:45:55
WAM Dubai,12th April 2011 (WAM): With an increasing appetite for Shari'ah-compliant alternatives in the areas of banking and finance among the investment community, corporate end users, consumers and intermediaries, Islamic finance in the Middle East have witnessed dramatic and exponential growth in the past few years. Despite the global economic slowdown, the Islamic financial industry has crossed its USD 1 trillion mark and the industry leaders gathered at the 1st Annual Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference (MEIFIC 2011) which is being held on the 12th and 13th of April 2011, at Dusit Thani Dubai, agreed that the Islamic finance industry is rapidly resuming its growth path and is increasingly gaining attention in various jurisdictions across the globe in the post-crisis global financial landscape.

Held under the theme "Successfully Adapting to New Market Realities for Islamic Finance in the Middle East", the 1st Annual Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference (MEIFIC 2011) was opened today in Dubai with high-profile keynote addresses by Hussain AlQemzi, Chief Executive Officer, Noor Islamic Bank and Group Chief Executive Officer, Noor Investment Group; and Dr. Saleh Malaikah, Chairman, Rusd Investment Bank.

Commenting on their participation at the event, Hussain AlQemzi, Chief Executive Officer, Noor Islamic Bank and Group Chief Executive Officer, Noor Investment Group said that "the Shari'a compliant finance and investments sector is gradually building momentum and popularity around the world, and is expected to lead the re-emergence of the overall global financial industry over the next five years. We at Noor Investment Group, are eager to scale new heights, and are confident that our sector will serve as a catalyst for the growth of economies everywhere. We acknowledge the importance of forging strategic alliances, and to always promote bilateral discussions among the global industry peers, to fully realize the true business potential in any given market. The Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference (MEIFIC 2011) served as a unique platform for the industry leaders to discuss the post-crisis era." A similar view was expressed by Dr. Saleh Malaikah, Chairman of Rusd Investment Bank who said that "the continued growth of Islamic finance further strengthens its role as an increasingly important component of the global financial system in the post-crisis landscape. As a long-term industry player, Rusd Investment Bank is committed to upholding our position as a leading world-class Shari'ah compliant investment bank that delivers optimum results to our stakeholders." "We are excited about the new opportunities presented in the Middle East for Islamic finance and investment and we see this event was an ideal platform to tap into such exciting opportunities", he added.

The inaugural keynote addresses were immediately followed by a special opening keynote plenary session during which speakers emphasized the key strategies that the leading players must implement in order to succeed in the Middle East Islamic finance market.

Addressing the gathering, Geert Bossuyt, Chief Executive Officer, Dar Al Istithmar, said that "investor appetite has started to increase again but with a reduced appetite for risk in all its forms." According to him "the key for the industry is to be able to adapt strategies and structures to meet the change in investor appetite and diversify income." Dr. Ali Al Amari, Senior Director, Supervision and Authorisation '&' AML, Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, in his address noted that "regulators, supervisors, international regulatory bodies and business leaders are required to have strong cooperation in providing roles and guidelines that should help in understanding Islamic finance and Islamic products." He was of the view that "enhancing transparency and information sharing and minimizing regulatory arbitrage is the next step in working towards acceptable Islamic financial standards that will lead to harmonizing Islamic regulatory system, Shari'ah Fatwa and Islamic products." Speaking to the media present at the event, David McLean, Managing Director of MEGA Events, the organizers of the Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference, said that "MEIFIC, which is the latest addition to our portfolio of flagship industry events, has in its very first year itself established its position as a pre-eminent platform for leaders in the Islamic finance and investments industry in the Middle East region to engage in discussions that provides new and deeper insights into what the future holds for the regional Islamic finance markets." WAM/TF
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