In cooperation with the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) conducted a high-level Islamic Finance executive programme that provided a unique opportunity for industry leaders and top management teams of financial institutions, as well as regulators from different jurisdictions to engage in thorough deliberations. The theme of the executive programme was FinTech, RegTech and Islamic Finance.
Participants came from more than 10 countries including Malaysia, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.
The discussion included several contemporary issues faced by the Islamic Finance industry, such as digital products and their compliance with Sharia, application of Blockchain in Islamic Finance, the regulatory and legal framework for FinTech, as well as the impact of Fintech strategies on the risk management practices of financial institutions. Sharia’s perspective of cryptocurrencies, Cybersecurity and key threats, the digitization of the insurance industry, and addressing the human capital challenge in the future were also brought under the spotlight.
On this occasion, the BIBF’s Director Dr. Ahmed AbdulHameed AlShaikh said, “The key take away of the programme points to the presence of disruption within the financial services industry, which can be seen as a unique opportunity for the Islamic Finance sector to leverage innovative ways to increase its footprint in the market. We believe that more effort is needed to improve cybersecurity capabilities of local, regional and international banks and financial institutions. It is clear that from a Sharia perspective, most cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, have some issues, but going forward, if these issues are not addressed, we may see viable alternatives for the Islamic consumer/investor.”
The programme was conducted by local and international industry leaders including Mr. Ashar Nazim, Chief Executive of Waqfe; Shaikh Essam Mohamed Ishaq, a prominent Bahraini Sharia Scholar; Mr. Fahad Burney, Managing Director of 360 Risk – UK; and Dr. Sulaiman Liu, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Halal Chain.
Other speakers included Ms. Yasmeen AlSharaf, Head of FinTech and Innovation Unit at Central Bank of Bahrain; Mr. Khalid AlSaad, Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain FinTech Bay; Shiraz Ali, CEO of FinTech Business at Arab Financial Services; Mr. Ahmed AlBalooshi, Senior Vice President – Head of IT at Al Baraka Banking Group among others.
The IFSB is an international standard-setting organisation that promotes and enhances the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry by issuing global prudential standards and guiding principles for the industry, broadly defined to include banking, capital markets and insurance sectors. The Board also conducts research and coordinates initiatives on industry related issues, as well as organises roundtables, seminars and conferences for regulators and industry stakeholders.
The BIBF’s Centre for Islamic Finance focuses on operations, products services and professional qualifications. The Centre, which was established back in 1997, offers the oldest Islamic finance professional qualification in the world – the Advanced Diploma in Islamic Finance (ADIF), which is also the only such Islamic finance qualification with a progression route into a UK MBA. The Centre also provides advisory and technical services to structure Islamic products or gain access to the Middle East capital markets as well as governance and regulatory framework development assistance.