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18 September 2011

WIFFMC 2011 to discuss strategies for Islamic Financial Markets

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It has been reported that following the return of investor confidence to global markets, the Islamic funds and investments industry has gained substantial momentum at an international level as more and more international issuers and investors are continuing to seek Shari'ah-compliant instruments as an attractive alternative for raising capital and diversifying their investment portfolio.

The Ernst & Young Islamic Funds and Investments Report 2010, which was launched last year, noted that "Though the key players in the Islamic fund management industry are concentrated within the GCC and Malaysia, a number of global investment fund centres are competing to become the domicile of choice for Islamic funds."

The report also noted that the "Investment managers have had to optimize their market reach through geographical expansion and by adopting flexible distribution channels."Held under the theme "achieving international scale and creating a vibrant Islamic financial market and re-invigorating the

Islamic investments industry', the 7th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2011) will feature critical discussions that will focus on strengthening the Islamic funds and investments industry and build international growth by tapping into exciting new jurisdictions. Convened under the official support of the Central Bank of Bahrain, WIFFMC 2011 will gather more than 400 key players, regulators and thought leaders in the global Islamic funds and investments industry on the 26th and 27th of September 2011 in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Speaking to the media ahead of the event, David McLean, Managing Director of the World Islamic Funds and Financial MarketsConference said that, "amidst increasing international integration of Islamic finance, cross border Shari'ah compliant investment flows are increasingly contributing to more efficient mobilization and allocation of funds across regions and also strengthening the financial and economic linkages across various jurisdictions. These trends have undoubtedly supported and reinforced the recovery and growth of the global Islamic funds and investments market."

He also added that "it is essential that the recent momentum that the Islamic funds and investments industry has gained in the post crisis landscape is further intensified in order to get the industry back on the high-growth track and achieve critical mass at a global level."

The 7th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2011) is set to begin on the 26th of September 2011 with an opening keynote address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director - Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain which will be followed by keynote addresses by Germain Birgen, Chairman - LFF

Islamic Finance Task Force, Chairman - ALFI Islamic Finance & ME Working Group, Managing Director - Global Head HSBC Amanah Securities Services - HSBC Securities Services (Luxembourg) S.A. and Gary Palmer, Chief Executive, Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA). The session will discuss key regulatory initiatives to strengthen the Islamic investments industry and will also assess the growth opportunities for Islamic funds in dynamic new jurisdictions.

Speaking ahead of the event Germain Birgen, Chairman - LFF Islamic Finance Task Force, Chairman - ALFI Islamic Finance & ME Working Group, Managing Director - Global Head HSBC Amanah Securities Services - HSBC Securities Services (Luxembourg) S.A.said that "Luxembourg is the second largest fund domicile in the world and has positioned itself as a domicile of choice for Islamic funds for more than 10 years now. In March 2010, HSBC launched HSBC Amanah Securities Services, covering Islamic and accounting, custody and securities services. This proposition is offered out of 16 locations on a global basis."

"I believe that the WIFFMC 2011 is the ideal forum to share experiences and views and most of all encourage investment managers from in and outside the MENA region to export their expertise and go global", he added.

Commenting on his participation at the event, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director - Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain said that "There are tremendous opportunities for the Islamic funds and investments industry as investors are in search of new investment avenues and asset-classes for greater risk diversification and improved returns. In order to tap into these opportunities, it is essential that the industry undergoes innovation in terms of introduction of new asset classes, improvements in global Shari'ah standardization, and development of new products and structures. With the increasing challenges of managing funds and investments across multiple geographies and jurisdictions, it is vital to facilitate greater sharing of technical expertise and experiences on Islamic financial markets and infrastructure development including the harmonisation of regulatory arrangements.

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