High premium keeps consumer demand lukewarm
Despite the global economic slowdown, the Islamic financial industry has crossed its $1 trillion mark, according to the industry leaders who gathered at the Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference in Dubai.
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 has witnessed dramatic and exponential growth in the past few years.
Those gathered at the event 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.
“The Shari’ah-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,” said Hussain AlQemzi, CEO, Noor Islamic Bank and Group CEO, Noor Investment Group.
“We at Noor Investment Group… 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,” he added.
“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,” said Dr. Saleh Malaikah, Chairman of Rusd Investment Bank. “We are excited about the new opportunities presented in the Middle East for Islamic finance and investment,” he added.
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.”
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