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Published: Wednesday November 18, 2009 MYT 12:58:00 PM

Islamic bankers to discuss new economic realities

KUALA LUMPUR: As cautious optimism returns to the global economy and financial markets begin to move towards stabilisation and economic recovery, more than 1,200 industry decision-makers from over 50 countries including Malaysia, are preparing to meet in Bahrain at the 16th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2009).

The conference from Dec 6-8, will focus on "New Strategies for New Economic Realities".

The WIBC 2009 has set the stage for discussions that will shape the post-crisis landscape as Islamic banks grapple with the need to manage risk, seek new growth markets, deliver on market expectations as well as remain competitive.

The theme of the WIBC 2009 reflects this fresh outlook that leading Islamic financial institutions are currently adopting as they compete in an increasingly challenging landscape.

In a statement issued here today ahead of the conference, Tirad Mahmoud, the chief executive officer(CEO) of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank,was bullish about the long-terms prospects for the Islamic banking industry.

"It is heartening to experience the vibrancy and sustained growth that the Islamic Banking industry has seen over the last few years.

"I am most impressed by the upbeat stance of the entire industry in the face of the global economic situation in general and that of the banking sector in particular.

"I am also happy that we are a strategic partner of the WIBC 2009 as it is one of the few global platforms where leading industry players converge," he said.

Tirad said this year's event is expected to be a resounding success and will contribute to the industry's dynamism, rebrand Islamic banking as the true universal banking model promoting mutual benefit as the basis of growth and a financial eco balance of planning.

The inaugural plenary session of WIBC 2009 will feature a series of prominent keynote addresses by among others, Rasheed M. Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain and Heng Swee Keat, Governor of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

In addition, there is the launch of the 2009/2010 edition of the WIBC Competitiveness Report.

It is a critical reference source for industry decision makers, providing strategic insights from McKinsey & Company on key trends as well as the challenges and opportunities in the Islamic banking industry.

A panel of industry experts will lead discussions on controversies in Islamic finance with an emphasis on lessons learnt from the global financial crisis.

Other areas of focus are ways in which the industry will evolve in terms of product innovation, global connectivity and business models.

A unique feature on the second day of the conference is the keynote address and quesion and answer session with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the renowned thinker and author of the international bestseller, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. - Bernama

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