Richard Melson

December 2005

WIBC: Press Release


Middle East Global Advisors (MEGA)

11 December 2005



Global Industry Leaders Engage Key Issues

The 12th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) opened today under the official patronage of HH Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

HE Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Bahrain Monetary Agency welcomed more than 700 delegates from more than 30 countries at a grand opening ceremony at the Gulf International Convention Centre in Bahrain.

The conference proceedings began with the high-profile opening session, the Governors Table, titled "Regulation & Business: Creating a Framework for Islamic Banking & Finance to Thrive". HE Mr. Al Maraj who led the discussions commented: "The theme of this year’s conference - Unlocking Market Opportunities: Consolidation, Innovation & Growth – has been well chosen. Islamic banking is receiving increasing recognition and attention from the global financial industry. It is experiencing strong growth, and demonstrating credible innovation in developing new products and markets.

"At the same time, the challenge of consolidation – how to strengthen the players in the market and thus maintain this strong momentum – remains as pertinent as ever. And finally, of course, no one would claim that the industry has yet realised its full potential, given the opportunities for Islamic finance that exist around the world".

He stressed in his presentation that Islamic banks need to consolidate and increase their financial strength if they are to meet the challenges posed by better resourced competitors.

Panelists joining him included Dr. David Mullins, Chief Executive Officer, VEGA Institutional Advisors, USA, and formerly Vice Chairman & Governor of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, who spoke about Regulatory Perspectives. He outlined the objectives of Regulation, namely to maintain the stability and integrity of the financial system, protect customers from fraud and abuse and improve the efficiency of the financial system. The other panelists - Teo Swee Lian, Deputy Managing Director (Prudential Supervision), The Monetary Authority of Singapore; and Bilal San, Member of the Auditing Committee, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey - both forward the latest developments in Islamic Banking & Finance in their respective countries.

The following session was titled, "Industry in Transition: Trends & Innovations for Islamic Financial Institutions in an Increasingly Competitive Global Market". The speakers included Mohamad Toufic Kanafani, Chief Executive Officer, Noriba; Abdulrazzak Elkhraijy, Islamic Retail Banking Division Head, National Commercial Bank; Abdulhakeem Yaqoob Alkhayyat, General Manager, Kuwait Finance House-Bahrain; Babak Soltani, Marketing Director, Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company; Jacques Bernard, Managing Director, Asset Management, Unicorn Investment Bank; and Professor Samuel L. Hayes III, Jacob Schiff Professor of Investment Banking Emeritus, Harvard Business School.

Professor Hayes commented: "The growing acceptance among Muslims of Halal savings and investment products over the past decade has been impressive.  Consequently, a number of conventional Western financial institutions have eagerly moved into this market as the array of investment vehicles has broadened.  Less attention has been paid to the financing needs of Islamic business firms.  At the WIBC 2005 gathering, I will review the Halal solutions available to accommodate the financing requirements of Islamic businesses in the 21st Century."

The session that followed, "Addressing the Challenges of Market Development and Risk Management", featured a joint presentation by Anwar Khalifa Al-Sadah, Executive Director, Financial Institutions Supervision, Bahrain Monetary Agency and Simon Heale, Chief Executive, London Metal Exchange on Promoting Standardisation and Liquidity in the Market: The BMA's Standardised Mudaraba Contracts Initiative.

The World Islamic Banking Exhibition was also inaugurated today by HE Mr. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj. The Exhibition showcases leading Islamic banks, Finance companies, Media, Insurance companies and IT providers specializing in solutions that improve efficiency & performance in the Islamic Banking & Finance industry. The exhibition will run alongside the conference and is open to conference participants only.

For the first time, WIBC featured concurrent breakout summits - the Retail Banking Summit and the Corporate & Investment Banking Summit. The Retail Banking Summit focused on exploring the latest trends and new product opportunities in the consumer banking environment and discussed why Islamic banks will need to make their Retail offering competitive to both Islamic and conventional banks and how service quality will be a key factor in guaranteeing the capture of new Retail business. The Corporate & Investment Banking Summit focused on exploring the latest trends in corporate & investment banking markets, assessing the latest developments in Islamic Capital Markets and emerging opportunities in sovereign & corporate Sukuk.

The WIBC 2005 delegates engaged in a stimulating debate on major issues in the interactive conference sessions, which were moderated by Nima Abu-Wardeh, presenter of BBC’s Middle East Business Report.

In addition to the main conference sessions, the activities and discussions that took place on the sidelines of the main conference included the by-invitation-only Closed-Door CEO Strategy Session, international press conferences, the by-invitation-only Performance Management Session and Networking functions.

During the Closed-Door CEO Strategy Session, CEOs representing leading Islamic financial institutions debated the findings of the much anticipated WIBC McKinsey Competitiveness Report 2005-06, which was launched here yesterday and which was well received by participants. Industry trends, market performance insights and an assessment of customer satisfaction at leading Islamic financial institutions are the highlights of the 2005-06 WIBC McKinsey Competitiveness Report. The report was a collaborative effort between leading international strategy consultancy, McKinsey & Company and the World Islamic Banking Conference.

Three pre-conference briefings also concluded here yesterday. These included the concurrent Takaful Summit and the WIBC McKinsey Competitiveness Report 2005-06 Executive Briefing and the Islamic Ratings Seminar.

Tonight, The Islamic Banker of the Year Award will be presented at the Conference Gala Dinner. This is a peer-based recognition award with the winner voted by international industry leaders. The results are audited by Ernst & Young, the official award auditors, who then declares the winner. The other prestigious International Industry Awards that will be presented are The WIBC Leadership Award 2005 and the Institutional Excellence Award.

WIBC 2005 has broken all past records in terms of numbers of Strategic Partners and has most leading industry players participating as partners, hosts, exhibitors or media partners & associates.

The Strategic Partners & Associates of the conference include the Bahrain Monetary Agency, Islamic Development Bank, Noriba Bank, Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain), National Commercial Bank, Bahrain Financial Harbour, Samba Financial Group, Unicorn Investment Bank, Gulf Finance House, Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, Ernst & Young, McKinsey & Company, Solidarity, CIMB Islamic (Malaysia), Shamil Bank, Albaraka Banking Group,

Al Amin Bank, Albaraka Islamic Bank, Gulf International Bank, Norton Rose, Calyon Corporate & Investment Bank, IIRA, Goldman Sachs, Microlink, Bahrain Islamic Bank and Maybank.

Exhibitors include Khaleej Finance & Investment, Path Solutions, Bloomberg, 01 Systems, International Turnkey Systems, OHAD Trusts Corporate & Financial services, and Temenos.

The Conference has attracted media support from across the globe. The Official Media Partners are the Financial Times and Banker Middle East; the Broadcast Media Partner is CNBC Arabiya; the Online Information Partner is ABQ Zawya; and the Media Associates are Islamic Banking & Finance, IFIS, Khaleej Times, Eurekahedge, Forbes, Gulf Business, Arabies Trends, MEES, Islamic Business & Finance, Islamic Finance De, Islamic Finance News, Saneou Al Hadath, The Middle East in Europe, Middle East Monitor, Arab Banker, International Fund Investment, Finanza Araba and Moneyworks.

Tomorrow the proceedings will begin with the much anticipated Leaders and Winning Strategies session, which will be launched at this year’s WIBC. For the first time Professor Robert Kaplan, acclaimed author, leading management thinker & Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School, USA, will speak at WIBC on 12 December 2005 together with regional leaders Abdul-Aziz Abdulla Al-Ghurair, Chief Executive Officer, Mashreqbank, UAE; and Abdullah Sulaiman Al Rajhi, Chief Executive Officer, Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

They will discuss what constitutes a winning strategy; the role of leadership in the success of an organization and Performance Management: Converting strategy into measurable success.

A large number of participants are expected to attend this special session as delegates including non-bankers who are not attending WIBC have also registered to attend only this session by request.

Commenting on his participation at WIBC 2005, Professor Kaplan said: "I look forward to presenting to Islamic banking leaders the latest ideas on
strategy execution that delivers performance breakthroughs. I will present
how successful organizations have built strategy maps around a common value proposition, communicated to and motivated the workforce, and installed a new Office of Strategy Management to sustain strategy execution."

Professor Kaplan is the author of the ‘Balanced Scorecard’ and ‘Strategy Maps’, today’s premier tools for linking a company’s current actions to its strategic goals. Through a series of groundbreaking books, he has developed effective methods for tying cost and performance management systems to strategy implementation and operational excellence. These books have transformed the business strategy landscape and have made Robert Kaplan one of the most insightful speakers in the fields of business strategy and leadership.

Following the Leaders & Winning Strategies session will be The Shari’ah Open Forum and the session that focuses on the Conference theme, 'Unlocking Market Opportunities: Consolidation, Innovation and Growth'. This session will discuss Unlocking Market Opportunities in the Retail, Corporate & Investment Banking Markets.

The Shari’ah Open Forum - another new feature - will include presentations from eminent Shari’ah scholars including Dr. Mohamed Elgari, Shari’ah Advisor & Professor of Islamic Economics at King Abdulaziz University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Dr. Hussain Hamid Hassan, Chairman, The Fatwa & Shari’ah Supervision Board, Dubai Islamic Bank, UAE; and Shaikh Nizam Yaquby, Shari’ah Scholar, Kingdom of Bahrain. The forum will debate Interpretation challenges, Compliance and Innovation.

The conference will conclude on December 12 with the PowerTable, a high-powered interactive debate session focusing on the State of the Industry: Performance, Growth and the Way Forward. A panel of leading international and regional specialists including policy makers, academics, scholars, business leaders and financial experts, with expertise covering a wide range of subjects will answer questions posed by the WIBC audience. For the first time, the PowerTable will feature the use of polling technology that allows delegate inputs to the debate to be immediately analysed and key issues to be captured as part of the WIBC Summation & Recommendations.


Issued on behalf of Middle East Global Advisors (MEGA) by Hill & Knowlton.

For more information, please contact:

Jamil Alsharif on Tel: +973 17533532 Fax: +973 17533370

or e-mail:

WIBC Press Release

World Islamic Banking Conference


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Sunday, December 11, 2005