Thursday, February 5, 2009

London summit to discuss Islamic liquidity for Europe

By Habhajan Singh
The possibility of providing European corporate institutions with Islamic liquidity is one of the topics to be discussed at the two day 8th Annual Islamic Finance Summit in London beginning Feb 24.
The seminar will discuss whether Islamic liquidity for European corporate institutions of the possible 'next big driver' is merely wishful thinking.
The topic would attract the attention of Islamic financial institutions, including players from the Middle East and Malaysia, as the sector is still thriving in Europe, with a number of major European banks perceiving it as a profitable opportunity to generate new business.
London is already home to a number of Islamic banks, including the European Islamic Investment Bank, Islamic Bank of Britain and Gatehouse Bank.
Qatar Islamic Bank general manager from investment banking and development group Jean-Marc Riegel will speak on the topic of 'Financing European acquisitions with Islamic funding — a short-term phenomenon or a long term structural shift?'.
Some of the other issues to be deliberated are funding strategies of GCC private equity houses in view of the credit crunch, a practical assesment of sukuk deal structures and fatwas following the AAOIFI ruling, and liquidifying Islamic money markets and finding viable alternatives to commodity murabaha.
One of the key speakers at the seminar is David Testa, chief executive officer of Gatehouse Bank which was established in May 2007 and received authorisation from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to act as a Shariahcompliant wholesale investment bank in the United Kingdom in April 2008. Gatehouse is a subsidiary of Kuwaiti investment company The Securities House KSCC.
Some of the other industry executives expected to take part in the two day seminar are Saad Zaman, deputy CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank subsidiary DIB Capital and HSBC Amanah global CEO Mukhtar Hussain.
Among the Malaysian industry players expected to take part are CIMB Islamic Bank CEO Badlisyah Abdul Ghani and Fajr Capital managing director Rafe Haneef.
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz is scheduled to touch on the response to the global credit crunch and the future role of Islamic finance.
Central Bank of Lebanon first vice governor and chairman of Islamic banking Dr Ahmad Jachi will deliberate on the regulation and supervision of Islamic banking and finance in Lebanon.
Central Bank of Bahrain executive director for banking supervision Khalid Hamad will look at issues with regards to the road map to Basel II.
On the second day, the annual open fatwa and Shariah audience discussion will involve a number of Shariah scholars, including Sheikh Hussain Hamed Hassan, Dr Mohamed A Elgari, Sheikh Nizam Yaquby, Dr Muhammad Imran Ashraf Usmani, Sheikh Esam M Ishaq and Mufti Abdul Kadir Barkatulla.
Malaysians scholars at the forum include International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) executive director Dr Mohamad Akram Laldin, International Institute of Islamic Finance's (IIIF) Dr Mohd Daud Bakar and Maybank Investment Bank shariah scholar Dr Aznan Hasan.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Feb 6, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance on Mondays, edited by Habhajan Singh)

No comments: