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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Islamic Finance Sees Continuing Growth

[Note: The editor, Ahmad Sanusi Husain was one of the speakers at this international conference. I presented a paper entitled, "Human Capital Development in Islamic Finance Industry: Issues and Solutions". It is based on my 17 years of experience and involvement in this industry]

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 (Bernama) -- Islamic finance is growing at an average of 15 percent annually and gaining acceptance from the broader population in many countries, according to Institut Bank-Bank Malaysia chief executive officer Dr Mohd Kamal Khir.

"The total Islamic financial assets now exceed US$1 trillion, about five-fold its magnitude five years ago," Mohd Kamal said in conjunction with the Sixth International Islamic Finance Conference which opened here Monday.

According to him, the adoption of mainstream financial instruments by the Islamic finance community will see the sector playing a bigger role in global finance over the next decade.

"Such a development will not only further support the acceptance of Islamic finance but also offer vast business opportunities made possible by the huge amount of Islamic funding available," he said.

"Players are quickly expanding their range of offerings by adopting some of the financial instruments available in the mainstream financial markets," said Monash University's Sunway campus chair of accounting and finance, Professor Bala Shanmugam.

"As this matures, we will see the formation of many 'bridge instruments' that will allow the movement of capital between the mainstream and Islamic finance markets in the near future," he said.

"At present, there are many limitations on how these funds can be utilised and the market lacks financial instruments that allow for a more sophisticated integration between the mainstream and Islamic finance markets.

However, many of these hurdles are being overcome," Bala said, adding that several solutions would be tabled at the two-day conference.

He also said that the conference has emerged as an important international platform for the sharing of knowledge in Islamic finance.

"Each year, we see the number and quality of participants improving. More countries are also now participating in the conference, reflecting the increasing prominence of Islamic finance," said Bala, who is also the conference organiser.

The conference is jointly organised by Monash University, Institut Bank-Bank Malaysia, and Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia.

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