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Global Islamic finance to mark steep growth

The global Islamic finance and banking sector is pegged at $1 trillion with an estimated growth rate that is four times higher than conventional financial services, according to organizers of the upcoming International Islamic Finance Conference 2012.
In a news announcement the event management team at Emerald Insight suggested that the demand for the Shariah-managed industry is largely market driven with a noticeably high number of institutions entering the arena introducing new products to market.
They noted that the sector is undergoing a dramatic change with its one-time easily identifiable early entrants of the 70's increasingly joined by new dedicated players, alongside Shariah-specific, specially-branded product offerings from the general banking sector.
A spokesperson for Emerald Insight noted that recent estimates predict a year-on-year growth rate of 25 percent, which would see the global industry valued at $5 trillion in 2016. They said that this indicates a need for an increased understanding of both the sector and the robust strategies needed to support such growth where the increased competition is in danger of blurring of lines between products and services.
One of the region's leading economists, Henry Azzam is slated to open the conference at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 14 this year.
Azzam, a financial services expert with more than thirty years regional experience, is currently adviser to Deutsche Bank AG and chairman of the board at NASDAQ Dubai. He will be joined by banking and investment specialists to consider the opportunities and challenges that face the sector, including its regulatory and supervisory set-up.
He will kick-start the three-day event that will also make a special review of the impact of the recent political and socio-economic developments within the region and their likely impact on the global Islamic financial sector, including mutual funds, securities and derivatives, as well as regular banking services. Other speakers include former Central Bank Gov. and first Gov. of the Palestinian Monetary Authority Professor Fouad Beseiso and M. Kabir Hassan, associate Professor and associate chair of the faculty of finance, University of New Orleans.


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