Scholars Stop in Istanbul to Analyze Islamic Finance

Islamic Finance News, a global provider of information and news regarding the field of Shariah-compliant financing, will be holding a “roadshow” today in İstanbul, reported TodaysZaman.

With Islamic finance practices sprouting in various parts of the world, particularly after the onset of the ongoing global financial crisis, the level of competition is rising and participation banks in Turkey have to step up their pace to meet customers’ needs, a formidable task as Islamic financial institutions are becoming adept at innovating market-creating products and providing quality delivery services. To top it off, players from other countries are moving into Turkey, either opening their own firms or buying into existing Turkish entities.

As such, the Islamic Finance news Roadshow 2009 is being held at a perfect time for Turkey. Its objective is to help Islamic financiers get new perspectives and ideas on how to expand their business, strengthen their platforms and seek new or different ways of undertaking their activities.

The emerging Islamic insurance or takaful industry could grow at 30-40 percent annually in the next three to five years as more people switch from conventional to Islamic insurance, a senior executive said. “I think the takaful industry is in a growth mood for two reasons,” Noor Takaful’s managing director Ahmed al-Janahi told the Reuters Islamic Banking and Finance Summit in Dubai on Tuesday, as quoted by Reuters. “Every day, people need to insure and there is a departure from conventional insurance. A lot of people are switching,” he said. “Growth is expected at 30-40 percent going forward as people in Muslim countries are switching from conventional to takaful.” Janahi said more people were switching to takaful as insurance product ranges were becoming more competitive.

Turkey, being touted as a vital link between East and West not only in the geographical sense but also economically and politically, is also of special interest to those who observe the principles of Islamic finance. It is only to be expected, therefore, to find financial institutions that bank according to Islamic principles doing well in Turkey. In particular, these participation banks are becoming a significant conduit for funds from the Middle East seeking better returns in Europe through Shariah-compliant financial arrangements.

Islamic finance is no longer only a form of mutual assistance among Muslims; rather, it is being readily embraced by much of the rest of the world. In the midst of so many opportunities, time is of the essence, be it to venture into Islamic finance for the first time or to consolidate and increase one’s market share in this sector. The roadshow is designed to be of assistance to those in either of these circumstances.

D-8 Secretary General, Dipo Alam, says that the D-8 member countries should focus more on developments in this sector, such as Syari’ah Banking system, and Islamic Bonds, since they have growned to be a powerful tool in the financial world that even Western, non-Islamic banks are starting to eye for a share on this financial system and plans to assign London as the center for Syari’ah Banks, and Islamic Bonds.

A particularly useful feature of the roadshow is opportunity for interaction and discussion. Not only is the audience invited to ask questions of the panelists on their discussions at each session, there are also networking sessions where business contacts can be established. Over 150 key market participants have already registered to attend the event. Organized by the REDmoney Group, the forums will span Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Upcoming roadshows will be held in the UK (Sept. 16), Japan (Oct. 6), Brunei (Oct. 20), India (Nov. 3) and Pakistan (Nov. 5).

The roadshow will begin with an overview of what’s happening in Turkey from the perspective of Islamic financial practice, especially in the context of the region and beyond. The discussions will then move on to developments in particular aspects of Islamic finance, delving into issues such as regulations and ratings. The session on making the business environment in Turkey and the region conducive to the development of Islamic financial products is another highlight of the roadshow. Islamic Finance News’ objective is to facilitate the continued nurturing of the industry. It provides a strong and steady stream of news and views, in addition to inviting participants to interact and share experiences and knowledge.

“We should be rolling up our sleeves, and start to work on this issue to keep pace with the world”, Dipo Alam says. D-8 has an approximately 900 million population with large moslem majority, and is supposed to be also a major actor in this Islamic financial system.
source : D8

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