Having a sufficient pool of talent and expertise in Islamic Finance will be key to the development of Brunei as an Islamic financial services hub in Asia.
This was said by the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Mohammad Hj Daud during the Public Seminar on Islamic Finance organised by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) yesterday.
The Minister of Energy, who is also Acting Chairman of BIBD, said that there is a growing number of Islamic financial institutions and an increasing range of innovative Islamic financial products in the country.
“This progress has been supported by a rigorous and well-developed legal, regulatory and Syariah framework, thereby ensuring its stability and sustainability.”
With the internationalisation of Islamic Finance and the rapidly changing international Islamic financial landscape, Islamic Finance is becoming increasingly integrated into the international financial system.
“This development has taken place in all segments of the Islamic financial system, including Islamic banking and takaful industry, and in the Islamic money and capital markets,” said the minister.
He added that there are now a large number of diverse players and institutions in the Islamic financial system as well as a growing range of products and services being offered.
“The pace of product innovation has intensified with more sophisticated Islamic financial products, including the structured and investment-linked products.”
These products, the acting chairman said, have become competitive both in terms of product structure and pricing, and there has also been enhanced depth of the Islamic financial markets.
This, he said, has significantly increased the attractiveness of the Islamic financial instruments as an asset for investment.
According to the minister, one of the key challenges for the industry in light of these developments is to encourage “thought leadership” in Islamic banking and finance.
“Our humble effort in organising this seminar and similar upcoming lectures, and selectively supporting research and training initiatives in leadership and Islamic finance at selected institutions of higher education is aimed at inculcating thought leadership in the area of Islamic banking and finance.”
He added: “Initiatives like these will inshallah foster Islamic finance thought leadership and encourage our best and brightest talents towards career in the growth of the Islamic finance industry.“
More than 300 people made up of government officials, BIBD staff, lecturers, students and other invited companies and guests attended the public seminar yesterday which was aimed to create awareness on Islamic Finance, especially in the midst of the global economic crisis and how to face the challenges ahead.
Held at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom at the Empire Hotel and Country Club, guests attending the one-day event had the opportunity to listen to three presentations by two renowned speakers. Dr Umer Chapra, Research Advisor in Islamic Development Banking from Saudi Arabia, gave a presentation entitled “The Islamic Vision of Development in the Light of Maqasid Shari’ah” and “The Global Financial Crisis: Can Islamic Finance Help?”.
Professor Khurshid Ahmad, a renowned scholar, economist and Islamic activist from Pakistan, delivered his presentation, which covered current issues faced in Islamic banking and finance and how to move forward.
“This one-day seminar will hopefully be an annual event organised by BIBD to bring together academics and practitioners in Islamic banking and finance from around the world to share their knowledge and experience with policy makers, business leaders, banking professionals, academics, students and the general public,” said Pehin Dato Hj Mohammad.
Also present during the seminar was BIBD’s Managing Director Javed Ahmad.
The acting chairman took the opportunity to congratulate BIBD on the important initiative of inaugurating the BIBD lecture on Islamic Finance and for its commitment in contributing to the success of Islamic banking and finance.