Manama—The World’s longest running Islamic finance event (World Islamic Banking Conference) is set to gather industry pioneers and leaders to discuss the role of Islamic banking in contributing significantly to the economic stabilization of nations across the globe. Supported by the Central Bank of Bahrain, the event will take placed on the 5, 6, 7 of December in Bahrain and will touch upon the recent developments and economic conditions of regions across the European continent.
Islamic finance is set to manage assets of $6.5 trillion globally by 2020. The growth of these assets are not predominantly restricted to emerging markets, but has also become attractive to conventional entities. Â In particular, European investors, have watched the development of Islamic finance in Muslim countries, such as the Gulf Region and Malaysia, and have recognized the benefits of using Islamic financial services as a great source of funding for investment projects as well as perceiving it as a means to salvage the economy from financial crisis.
With the changing economic conditions in Europe due to the financial crisis and political vicissitudes – as seen in the recent case of the highly debated Brexit decision for Great Britain – the role of Islamic finance has become more pronounced with its widespread recognition and potential to contribute significantly to the economic stabilization of the continent. Islamic finance has a robust model underpinned by principles of risk aversion and deleveraging. The liquidity available in the industry along with these elements can further help strengthen economic foundations and diversify investment sources for Europe. The World Islamic Banking Conference will take stock of this highly topical issue under the session – Economic uncertainties in Europe – Can increased integration of Islamic finance help stabilize the economy? The session brings together two significant speakers from the industry (Europe and the GCC) familiar with Islamic finance activities. Marco Lichtfous who is a Partner within the advisory and consulting department at the Deloitte Tax and Consulting in Luxembourg, has over 20 years of professional experience and has also been a long-term member of the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) Standing Committee on Regulation and Policy (SCRePol). Speaking to the effect of the session and the conference, Marco mentions, “Luxembourg has always been open to unconventional financing and was a pioneer of Islamic finance in Europe with a track record that goes back 30 years. In the current European environment of low growth and low interest rates, there is an opportunity for Islamic finance to make an economic and social impact by offering long term investment projects with attractive returns that are tied to the real economy. At WIBC we will discuss how such projects can be viable, sustainable and make a real contribution to economic recovery.” From the GCC region, Samer Hijazi, who is the Head of Islamic Finance, Grant Thornton UAE and is in charge of the development of Grant Thornton’s strategic client proposition in the UAE region, will speak to the effect of opportunities for Islamic Banks to operate in new regions across Europe.