(MENAFN Press) Dubai, UAE, 10 October 2012-
The 4th Annual World Islamic Retail Banking Conference has been officially inaugurated today, as more than 150 delegates gather to learn the latest technologies and issues surrounding the Islamic retail banking sector.
Supported by Bahrain Association of Banks, International Compliance Association and the Islamic Finance Council UK, the conference with supported exhibition was opened with an opening speech from the chairman, Syed Haider Mehdi. Mehdi is the president and CEO of Management Excellence; a UAE based transformational sales and service change specialist consultancy, working in the retail banking sector.
The conference kicked off with a panel discussion outlining regulatory changes and the impact they have on retail banking. The panel was joined by Harun Kapetanovic, Economic Advisor at Dubai Department of Economic Development (Government of Dubai); Dr. Rifki Ismal, Assistant Director of Department of Islamic Banking at Bank Indonesia; and Prasanna Seshachellam, Director of Supervision at Dubai Financial Services Authority.
Seven panelists joined in an exclusive CEO round table to discuss strategies unique to Islamic retail banking. The highly anticipated session threw some light on issues including setting up a geographical footprint globally, creating international Islamic retail bankers, challenges in working with different Shar'iah structures and its interpretations across geographies. The panelist was made up of representatives from Noor Islamic Bank, Mashreq Al Islami, Meezan Bank Ltd, University Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Saadiq and CIMB Group.
A dedicated session focused on how competition in Islamic banking propels new opportunities for SMEs featured a presentation by Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, Head of Group Islamic Banking Division at CIMB Group (Malaysia). During the presentation, Abdul Ghani provided an introduction to Islamic finance in Malaysia and emphasised on the contribution made by the SMEs to Malaysia's economy.
During the second half of the day, sessions focused on customer centricity and cross selling provided insights on how banks can maintain competitive advantage through developing targeted offerings based on customer value, how technology can help banks to sell more products and increased engagement through social media. Customer centricity was presented by Yusuf Jehangir, Group Head Marketing at Al Rajhi Bank, while cross selling at every opportunity was presented by Ghiath Halabi, Engagement Director at VeriPark.
The first day of the conference concluded with a networking reception attended by speakers, exhibitors, delegates and VIPs.
Welma Williams, Deputy Production Director at Fleming Gulf, organisers of the World Islamic Retail Banking Conference, said: "We are overwhelmed with the increased number in participation this year, both from delegates and exhibiting companies. Islamic retail banking is one of the fastest growing banking sectors in the MENA region rivaling traditional banks. It is a progressive and robust industry in itself, for this reason, competition is mounting, with more banks eager to get a share of the growing market. I believe this is reflected through the annual growth of the World Islamic Retail Banking Conference. Banks recognise that it is important to innovate with their products and services. Finding ways to spur innovation in product design and business models is the key to getting ahead."
Tomorrow, day two of the conference, the session will begin with a presentation from the vice president, head of product development in retail of Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia. Subitha Bhanu Mohd Hussan will outline the essentials of product development, product viability and its associated challenges and the yardstick to use when measuring product success.
Muhannad Shehadeh, Chief Executive Officer at Military Credit Fund “ Jordan, will inspire the audience with a case study on Jordan's military credit. Retail banks have always been entertaining a variety of customers across various segments. There are not too many retail banks in the region that are dedicated to a particular segment, through an Islamic model. The Military Credit Fund is an initiative launched by Royal Hashemite Court to implement the vision of His Majesty King Abdullah II, to create from ground zero an Islamic personal banking operating model. The Jordanian Army Retail Bank case study will feature the retail banking operating model within the framework of the Army Retail Bank, the opportunities and challenges in dealing with military and the moral responsibility of this model.
The conference will culminate with the Annual Open Fatwa Session moderated by Omar Shaikh, Executive Board Member at Islamic Finance Council UK. The Annual Open Fatwa Session this year will see the launch of the report, Enhancing Shar'iah Assurance, by Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC), a not-for-profit promotional body and the Malaysia based International Shar'iah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA). The report identifies select limitations in current Shar'iah audit practices and provides suggestions for improvements. The report includes topics on the dangers of auditing your own work, the use of Shar'iah audit opinions, transparency and disclosure of fees amongst others.
Shaikh cited, "The World Islamic Retail Banking Conference has established itself as a key Gulf forum for in-depth discussions on the facets of the continued global growth in Islamic finance. This year the Islamic Finance Council UK will be releasing key findings from its report, Enhancing Shar'iah Assurance. No doubt this will bring additional challenges to the often lively Shar'iah panel discussions."
The World Islamic Retail Banking Conference is running its fourth edition this year. The event has seen a year-on-year growth of participation from delegates and exhibitors
The two-day conference in Dubai features over 15 presentations, 4 panel discussions and a networking reception.
Other exhibitors sharing their latest solutions at the two-day exhibition running alongside the conference include Dubai Islamic Bank, ITS Group, Loxon Solutions Ltd., VeriPark, Mashreq Al Islami, Path Solutions, EXODUS, SAB International, World Security, Dar Al Takaful, Nucleus Software, Craft Silicon, MIT Global and First Global Group (FGG).
The event is also supported by Khaleej Times as the official newspaper, CNBC Arabia as the official Arabic broadcaster and Cadillac as the automotive partner.