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MENAFN - Arab Times - 30/09/2009

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(MENAFN - Arab Times) The CEO Middle East magazine awarded Kuwait Finance House — Chief Executive Officer — Mohammad Sulaiman Al Omar the best CEO award in the banking sector for the year 2009 in appreciation of his efforts and outstanding contributions to Islamic finance industry.

Al-Omar emphasized that now is the time for Arab and Islamic societies to reinforce the role of Sharia compliant transactions and amend their legislations and regulations to cope with the nature of Islamic finance business and eliminate all obstacles. It is important to highlight that Islamic banks work model is available for all and not limited to certain religion or race.

Mohammad Al-Omar said: "One of the strategic goals which I have put and executed in cooperation with my colleagues is for KFH to become the cornerstone of Islamic financial services worldwide and the partner of choice for the Islamic world."

Islamic finance services has become one of the fastest growing finance sectors worldwide. Accordingly Islamic banks are required to design and issue new competitive products and activate several professional and regulatory standards.

Al-Omar, who joined KFH 20 years ago, is considered as one of the second generation leaders of this remarkable Islamic financial institution. In addition to his absolute devotion to implement Sharia rules and regulations Al-Omar's vision has developed the performance of Islamic banking business and helped in the creation of new financial products and services based on his extensive experience and knowledge in various fields and activities.

Al-Omar is one of the most renowned names in the field of Islamic financial institutions; he graduated from Chapman College — USA in 1986 with a Bachelor of Sciences and Business Economics.

Prior to his current post Al-Omar occupied the Deputy General Manager position for two years after working as an Assistant General Manager — Investment Sector for 6 years from 1999 — 2005.

He played a significant role in the major shift for various activities in this sector in the last few years, thus resulting into the creation of new investment tools, increasing KFH global expansion and establishing strategic alliances with major global international institutions and banks.

Ceremony

Mohammad Al-Omar said in his speech during the award ceremony in Dubai that this honoring crowns his long professional journey.

However, he reiterated that KFH plays a historical role in developing the leaders of Islamic finance industry as it is considered the Harvard of Islamic Banking.

He pointed out proudly that he is one of the sons of this school. In his speech Al-Omar conveyed his sincere thanks and appreciation to all leaders working in Kuwait Finance House, namely the old generation who have born all difficulties and exerted distinguished efforts in this industry.

Al-Omar added that despite several and various difficulties, doubts and challenges which Islamic banking encountered over the years yet it has continued its consistent success.

Sharia compliant finance business has become one of the most significant sectors in global economy, growing vastly and highly demanded in local and global markets.

The current economic crises which global markets have encountered proved that Islamic banking has the elements of safety and security that enable it to add a new dimension to the world economy as well as significant values to humanity. We work based on real assets and actual projects aiming to support real economic growth.

Elements

There are three basic elements which have distinguished KFH model during the recent years namely; KFH expansion into global markets, offering of distinguished investment opportunities to customers and invention of new modules to fulfill investors needs & achieve remarkable returns while focusing on the professional performance and implementing global standards in service, quality, competition, customer care and assisting customers in investing their assets.

Al-Omar played a major role in setting the strategy to enter key global markets, participate in structuring finance for several products and projects, establish and develop International Murabahah and establish investment funds in USA and Europe i.e. "Danah", "Deera" and "Healthcare" investment funds. Also he adopted the establishment of "Emaar" fund which has achieved remarkable cash flows for investors within very short periods reaching one week, reinforced the role of international real estate which is considered as an excellent opportunity to benefit from the latest positive developments in global markets and achieve globalization for the organization through qualitative investment with high returns.

Also, he focused the efforts of his group on the development of treasury department to exploit liquidity and Foreign Currencies deposits in the best possible manner, develop international Murabahah and enter KD Murabahah transactions.

Investment activities are focused on participating in major growth projects that achieve remarkable returns and represent a significant contribution in the development and cultural change of society's i.e. communication, infrastructure, energy, transport, industry and real estate projects.

To activate new forms of products the role of Ijara product was reinforced and its fields were expanded from simple commodities to strategic fields i.e. leasing of aircrafts, ships, heavy equipment and real estate funds and portfolios.

Sukuk is also introduced as a highly significant Sharia compliant product that provides an alternative for bonds. It is considered as a significant finance instrument for companies to execute low cost expansion and growth plans.
Advanced results were achieved in this field i.e. arrangement of and entering several deals and establishment of an independent company to deal in Sukuks.

Al-Omar is currently the chairman of KFH — Turkey. He assumed his duties in this post since 2000 while the Turkish economy was facing the most difficult economic conditions ever encountered. With his remarkable experience Al-Omar was able to overcome these conditions, set a work plan to develop a stringent credit policy, improve assets management, and focus on the diversification of US dollar and Euro dealing tools.

He supervised the execution of the bank's local and global expansion plan thus increasing its branches from 26 to 130 branches within Turkey, opened branches in Bahrain, UAE and Kazakhstan, obtained a license to operate in Germany, adopted the strategy of establishing cooperation bridges between Turkey and Kuwait from one side and Turkey and GCC countries on the other side.

Al-Omar is also a board member of KFH — Bahrain where he participated in the establishment of Liquidity Management Center (LMC) in Bahrain. This company is considered as major asset for Sharia compliant companies where it has eliminated several difficulties which these companies have encountered in the field of arrangement and implementation of liquidity.

Additionally he is a board member of Amlak Finance & Ijara Company — UAE. He also worked for Pearl Ijarah & Finance company and Manar Ijara & Finance Company for some time. He previously occupied the post of Chairman of Muthanna Investment Company.

 






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