Under the patronage of HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain and with the official support of the Central Bank of Bahrain, WIBC hosted over 1,300 leaders who congregated at the ART Rotana Hotel, Amwaj Islands in Bahrain to navigate the complexity of the global financial system. The world’s definitive compass of the Islamic banking and finance industry engaged industry leaders from across the globe including the Americas, UK and Europe to the MENASEA regions at the 23rd World Islamic Banking Conference 2016.

In the morning, WIBC 2016 hosted 2 Central Bank Governors, featuring speeches by the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) H.E. Dr. Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey, and Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, H.E. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj. The keynote speeches also included the Governor of Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), His Excellency Dr. Kairat Kelimbetov.

Opening the historic forum was the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain’s H.E. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj who said: “Keeping in line with the theme of the conference – economic uncertainties: vigilance and growth – I would like to draw your attention to three areas today. First, we need to be more risk-sensitive in uncertain economic conditions.  Risk management practices must be up to date, awareness levels high and risk mitigation in place.

The second point I would like to make is to groom a second line of management, a set of people whose ethical conduct, strategic thinking, leadership qualities and technical knowledge are above par. This is the only way to ensure, as much as possible, a lasting institutional legacy behind us.

The third point is about the smart use of technology, which is a game-changer in the banking business. Islamic banks must make full use of these technological enhancements and invest more in this space. Financial Technology or Fintech is leading the way. The CBB believes in embracing new technology and will soon be issuing regulations to facilitate Fintech solutions. We would like to see Islamic banks come forward and take the lead in this area.”

The Governor of the SAMA, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey, mentioned that “As part of our commitment to enhance financial stability, we will continue to provide full regulatory support to Islamic finance and encourage its growth.”

The Governors’ remarks were followed with an exceptional line-up of seasoned and respected industry practitioners who took stock of the challenges faced by Islamic banking on the global front and the stagnation in Sukuk issuance worldwide. The speakers also engaged in discussions relating to coping with the evolving global banking environment and the changes necessitated by the Basel III regulations. These talks were followed by the launch of 3 insightful intelligence reports and sessions on ethical finance and asset management.

The conveners of WIBC, Middle East Global Advisors – an intelligence platform serving the Middle East North Africa Southeast Asia (MENASEA) region for the last 23 years – organized an incredible line-up of speakers for the rest of the afternoon of the 6th of December. They include industry leaders such as Kishore Mahbubani, Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and Iqbal Khan, CEO, Fajr Capital

The 3rd and final day of WIBC 2016 continues on the 7th of December and will feature the highly anticipated speeches by Khalid Hamad Abdul-Rahman Hamad, Executive Director – Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain and Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre respectively.