MANAMA: The World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2011/12, developed in collaboration with Ernst & Young, will be officially launched on November 22 at a top Islamic banking forum in Bahrain.

The 18th annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2011) will be held from November 21 to 23 at the Gulf Convention Centre.

The World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report, a ground-breaking initiative designed to not only identify but also raise the bar of competitive excellence, strategic leadership and performance improvement in the global Islamic finance industry, will analyse key strategies that leading Islamic financial institutions must deploy in order to ensure continued growth in a challenging economic environment.

“The global Islamic finance industry has undergone major transformations in the last few years in its quest to boost international competitiveness and to build a sustainably profitable business model,” World Islamic Banking Conference managing director David McLean said.

“There has been a focus on product innovation efforts that aim to provide a more comprehensive array of Sharia-based products for the industry.

“The global Islamic finance industry has also seen significant developments in regulatory frameworks and Sharia standardisation making global connectivity that much more achievable,” he said.

“However, both the challenge and the opportunity currently facing leading industry players is how will Islamic banks succeed in making this growth trend sustainable and profitable,” he added.

“Islamic banking has been continuously gaining market share across key Middle East and North Africa (Mena) markets, but the question remains on how sustainable this growth is, especially in view of ongoing prolonged pressure on profitability,” Ernst & Young’s Islamic Finance Services Mena head Ashar Nazim said.

“As the leading industry players compete to stay ahead, many are looking into transforming and improving their operational performance.

“Investment in operating model redesign, customer analytics, capital management and regulatory compliance appear to be essential features of the chief executive officers’ agenda in 2012,” he added.

The report, which has over the past eight years evolved into an indispensable reference resource for the key decision-makers in the global Islamic banking and finance industry, will be exclusively launched at a special plenary session of WIBC 2011.

Titled ‘A Brave New World of Sustainable Growth’, it will be presented by Ernst & Young senior director assurance Imtiaz Ibrahim and executive manager Abid Shakeel.

More than 1,200 industry leaders from over 50 countries are expected to attend WIBC 2011.

source : gulf daily news