CIBAFI Holds Third Annual Global Forum In Istanbul

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The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), the global umbrella of Islamic financial institutions held its third Global Forum last week with the theme of “The New Face of Financial Services: Disruptions, Opportunities and the New Normals”. The Forum is organised in partnership with the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency of Turkey (BRSA) at Raffles Istanbul Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey.

The two-day Forum gathered stakeholders from the Islamic finance industry, multilateral development institutions, international and national regulatory bodies, policy-makers, and academia to discuss the key emerging issues within the industry. The Forum was attended by more than 350 delegates from over 37 countries.

The event was opened by welcoming remarks of Mr. Abdelilah Belatik, Secretary General, of CIBAFI; Mr. Abdulhameed M. Aboumoussa, Governor of Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt & Deputy Chairman ofCIBAFI; Mr. Melikşah Utku, General Manager of Al Baraka Türk Participation Bank and Chairman of the Participation Banks Association of Turkey; and H.E. Mehmet Ali Akben, Chairman, Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, Turkey.

The Regulatory Keynote session was moderated by Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President and Chief Executive, Al Baraka Banking Group, Kingdom of Bahrain; where diverse panel comprised H.E. Dr. Ali Muhsin Ismaiel, Governor, Central Bank of Iraq; H.E. Kairat Nematovich Kelimbetov, Governor, Astana International Financial Centre, Kazakhstan; H.E. Raed H. Charafeddine, First Vice-Governor, Banque Du Liban, Republic of Lebanon; Mr. Abderrahim Bouazza, Director General, Bank Al-Maghrib, Morocco; and Hon. Abdirahin Haithar Abdi, Chairman, Insurance Regulatory Authority, Kenya. The inspiring regulatory keynote session focused on main thoughts as to how regulatory agencies remain relevant in a changing economic environment, where roles and existence of regulators is being questioned by the disruptions in the financial sector.

The Forum witnessed the launch of two groundbreaking reports, namely CIBAFI Global Islamic Bankers’ Survey 2018 and Global Takaful Survey 2018, where CIBAFI Seceratry General Mr. Abdelilah Belatik during the launch reported that having actual perception of Islamic Banks CEOs from 103 Islamic Banks from 31 countries measured on year by year basis is by itself an achievement. This year CIBAFI also stepped into the Takaful sector by starting to measure the industry growth drivers and future outlook.

Session one, themed “Global C-Suite Opening Panel : Leadership Response to the Change”, was chaired by Mr. Musa A. Shihadeh, Chief Executive Officer, Jordan Islamic Bank. And it included panelists such as Mr. Abdessamad Issami, Chief Executive Officer, Umnia Bank, Morocco; Mr. Iyad G. Asali, General Manager, Islamic International Arab Bank, Jordan; Mr. Shadi Zahran, Chief Financial Officer, Kuwait Finance House, Kuwait; Mr. Benjamin Young, Senior Sovereign Analyst, S&P Global Ratings, UAE; Mr. Wadeaa Nori Al Handhal, Chairman, Iraq Private Banks League, Iraq; and YBhg. Dato’ Haji Mohd Redza Shah Bin Abdul Wahid, Chief Executive Officer, Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad, Malaysia. The session focused on CEOs’ reaction to transformation, and how it affected the leading manners and better usage of resources. The session discussed regional business environment and how to deliver Islamic banking services with a facelift through an ecosystem of e-partnerships.

The first day of the Forum was concluded with a Session themed “Future of Employment: Are We Ready for the Change?”. It was chaired by Dr. Mahmoud Al Homsi, Research Economist, CIBAFI. And the panel included Prof. Md. Nazmul Hassan, Chairman, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, Bangladesh; Mr. Khairul Nizam, Chief Executive Officer, Finance Accreditation Agency Berhad, Malaysia; Mr. Ashraf Ammar, Director of Financial Services Consulting, PwC Luxembourg; Dr. Lulwa AlMutlaq, Founder & Chairwoman, Golden Trust, Bahrain; and Dr. Mohammed Burhan Arbouna, Executive Vice President & Head of Sharia Department, Al Salam Bank Bahrain. The session focused on the future of jobs, skills, and wages. And it addressed Artificial Intelligence and robotics, along with Automatization and skills updates required to stay in the job market.  Session concluded with Shariah scholars discussion and how it will cope with financial innovations and disruptions

The second day of CIBAFI Global Forum started with a special and exclusive CIBAFI Breakfast session on “Leadership and Strategy in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

“CIBAFI Breakfast Session is an interactive exchange that challenges conventional wisdom and practice around personal and organisational leadership. It offers a very different perspective – one that is much more suited to today’s uber-connected and uber-populated age,” said CIBAFI in a statement.

CIBAFI Breakfast Special Session stage was taken this year by the Author of Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders (Simon & Schuster, 2011), Be the Change (McGraw-Hill, 2014), Open Source Leadership: Reinventing Management When There's No More Business as Usual (McGraw-Hill, Oct 2017), and a regular writer for Forbes - Rajeev Peshawaria. The eminent author shared the stage in a conversation with a Veteran Regulator and Prominent Academic Prof. Ahmet Faruk Aysan, currently Dean, İstanbul Şehir University

The fourth session themed “Role and Power of Mobile in Expanding Financial Inclusion” was chaired by Mr. Mohamed Abbes, Public Policy Director, MENA, GSMA, Tunisia. Panelist of the session included Mr. Fadi Al Faqih, Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Khartoum, Sudan; Mr. Mohammed Kateeb, Group Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Path Solutions, Kuwait; and Mr. Mehmet Cantekin, General Manager, Turkcell Finansman A.Ş, Turkey. The Session focused on the power of mobile banking, and the future of business in the shadow of Banks and Telecom. Session panelists have shared their experience and thoughts on whether the Mobile money and payments is an opportunity or threat for Islamic financial Institutions.

The second day was concluded with Session 5 themed “Leveraging the Industry Growth in the Era of Fourth Industrial Revolution”, which was chaired by Prof. Dr. Lokman Gündüz, Director of Graduate School of Business, İstanbul Şehir University. The panelists included Mr. Mustafa Gharaibeh, Cyber Security Account Executive, Darktrace, United Kingdom; Dr. Ali Al Sartawi, Shariah Supervisory Board Member, Palestine Islamic Bank; Mr. Marco Lichtfous, Partner, Deloitte Tax & Consulting, Luxembourg; Mr. Muhammet Cerit, Vice Chairman, Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, Turkey; Mr. Achraf Tarsim, Manager - Infrastructure, Financial and Private Sectors Division, North Africa, African Development Bank (AfDB), Tunisia; and Mr. Derek Baraldi, Head of Banking Industry, World Economic Forum LLC, USA. The session presented an overview of technologies underpinning the fourth industrial revolution, and discussed the role of digital branches, robo-advisors in enhancing customers’ banking experience. It also focused on cyber security and discussed avenues to minimise the risks.

This Global Forum was organised as part of CIBAFI’s third Strategic Objective of Awareness & Information Sharing, which aims to spread awareness and promote information sharing among its members and other stakeholders for the development of the Islamic finance industry.