The awards ceremony was attended by Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Director General of the Department of Information. Aref Kooheji, DIB’s Executive Vice President, Investment and Corporate Banking, received the “Regional Continuing Contribution to Islamic Finance Award”, while Mohammed Amiri, Senior Vice President, Branches, DIB, received the “Global Continuing Contribution to Islamic Finance in Islamic Retail Development Award”.
Mr. Kooheji spoke about the development of Islamic Finance development during the inaugural session of the 9th International Islamic Finance Forum (IIFF) which is held under the under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, from March 19 to 22, 2006.
He said: “A series of deals, including the Sukuk issue for Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, the Department of Civil Aviation’s (DCA) Sukuk. and others did a great deal to change perceptions of Islamic finance in general and to highlight their attractions in particular. Islamic funding is maturing and it can no longer be regarded as a niche specialism covering a limited range of projects.”
“The industry has started benchmarking its products to conventional suppliers in terms of consumer convenience, benefits, pricing, transparency, and service standards. Hence, Islamic retail banking and finance products have gained popularity with non-Muslim communities due to their competitiveness and efficiency,” he added.
Mr. Kooheji noted:
“Important developments include the creation of independent Islamic banking subsidiaries in Malaysia, new Islamic banks in the UAE, Islamic banks in Pakistan, many new takaful companies in Saudi Arabia and the recent establishment of the Islamic Bank of Britain in United Kingdom. In Asia, the Middle East and Europe, more and more banks and their customers are turning to Islamic finance.”
He said: “The trend is characterised by both a “push” and “pull” factor: the banks have spotted the opportunity, and have established Islamic operations, while their customers are demanding Sharia-compliant products. The impetus behind the expansion of the sector, in other words, is both “bottom-up” and “top-down”.
“In many countries modern Islamic finance has little or no presence, indeed, it is only now establishing itself as a competitive force in the countries where it does have a presence. Islamic retail finance must also work to overcome doubts and misconceptions. While most Muslims view Shariah compliance as the most important factor in modern Islamic finance, not all of them are free of doubts. In some instances, this may be attributed to the popular view that Islamic finance is more about semantics than it is about substance. There are issues of trust to be resolved, both in regard to the products and services of Islamic finance and in regard to those who offer them,” he added.
Tuesday, March 21- 2006 @ 13:34 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.