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MENAFN - Arab News - 13/11/2012

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Panelist at the first session on Islamic Finance News forum.
(MENAFN - Arab News) The morning session of the first Islamic Finance News Forum yesterday focused on the continuing rise of the Islamic capital markets in the Gulf and beyond.

Abdulmohsen A. Al-Fares, managing director and chief executive officer of Saudi Arabia-based Alinma Bank, told Arab News that the Sukuk market is part of Islamic Capital Market (ICM) and is growing rapidly.

Al-Fares said the total ICM represents less than 2 percent of the worldwide bond issues, but it remains promising if investors examine the 2011 fiscal year in which Sukuk issues amounted to about 84.4 billion worldwide, a record in Islamic financing.

Islamic financing continued to grow in 2011 and the first half of this year to more than 60 billion. The forecast for this year on the Sukuk is around 120 billion, creating a new record.

"I would like to encourage every private as well public sector to think seriously about using the Sukuk as a source of fund," Al-Fares said. "And we are seeing many issuance over the last three years. This will continue and will see more that will help the secondary market to develop so that the government issuance of Sukuk will set as a benchmark which is very important for secondary market development. This will be strong source of funding not only in Islamic world but also globally."

The issue of developing trained personnel in Shariah-compliant banking was also discussed.

Kamal Mian, head of Asset Finance at Saudi Hollandi Bank, said his bank doesn't have specialized Islamic finance MBA graduates.

"I believe the responsibilities lie with the banks with their training departments to teach young professional to work in IF industry and HR should hire them based on their genuine skill in Islamic banking."

He added: "I myself learned Islamic banking by doing it over a period of 15 years and I am still learning. The young should learn and read as much as they can about IF and Islamic banking. Unfortunately, courses are not offered as they should be. Surprisingly, there are non-Islamic countries that offer courses in Islamic finance."

Mohammad Kamran Wajid, chief executive officer of Emirates NBD Capital, suggested that regulators and scholars should unite and work together to educate people about Sukuk. To avoid confusion and bring more clarity, countries should be working closely to promote and develop Islamic financing.


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