A new attendance record is set to be achieved as 1,000 delegates representing the decision-makers of the world’s leading Islamic financial institution will gather at the 14th annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) at the Gulf International Convention Centre in Bahrain.
Speaking ahead of the conference, which takes place on 8, 9 and 10 December 2007, David McLean, Managing Director of MEGA, the owners of the WIBC brand, highlighted the growth of the event over the past 14 years:
‘In 1993, with only a handful of Islamic banks in existence, a mere 120 pioneering delegates attended the first ever WIBC. Today, with the extraordinary proliferation of Islamic financial institutions worldwide, 1000 delegates from more than 35 countries will attend WIBC this year. Working with over 60 partners and sponsors from industry-leading companies further highlights the pivotal role that WIBC plays as the largest and most significant gathering of Islamic banking & finance industry leaders anywhere in the world.’
Senior executives from market-leading institutions further echo this growth. Yousif Taqi, the Chief Executive Officer of Al Salam Bank, emphasises that: ‘Every year we witness increasing interest from key financial institutions to attend WIBC as it stimulates insightful debate on substantial issues facing the global industry.’
While John Weguelin, the Managing Director of European Islamic Investment Bank, highlights that: ‘WIBC is the one event that successfully brings together the major players in the Islamic finance market and is unquestionably the most important conference on the Islamic banking calendar.’
Networking between industry powerhouses is also high on the agenda. In addition to the substantial information exchange and knowledge transfer that takes place at the plenary sessions of the World Islamic Banking Conference, there is also significant value to be gained from the activities and discussions that take place on the sidelines of the main conference. From international press briefings to informal networking, the WIBC Sidelines is a creative environment conducive to getting the most from participation in the conference.
The WIBC exhibition also runs alongside the conference and provides a showcase for the latest developments in the industry, new financial services product launches and innovative solutions, with an emphasis on improving efficiency and performance.
With a focus on The World Comes to WIBC, this year will see the launch of the UK Pavilion. Hosted by the UK Trade & Investment, the UK Pavilion will feature a high powered delegation of decision makers representing key banks and institutions based in the UK, including the London Stock Exchange. With major initiatives already underway to establish London as a key European centre for Islamic finance, the UK Pavilion will be a dynamic and interactive space to meet with those leaders who are currently forging the UK’s role in Islamic finance, especially with exciting developments advancing on the UK Sukuk market.
Furthermore, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), a global organisation which supports over 158,000 students and members in more than 161 countries, will be launching a new specialist Islamic Finance qualification at the WIBC pre-dinner reception on the evening of 9 December.
Robert Jelly, Director of Education at CIMA, will be speaking at the pre-dinner reception at which the CIMA Certificate in Islamic Finance will be launched. He explains: ‘CIMA has identified that there is considerable demand from the global business community to develop the knowledge and skills needed to service the increasingly important Islamic Finance market. The CIMA Certificate in Islamic Finance is the first of its kind to be created by an accountancy body and I look forward to launching our global certificate at the WIBC alongside Dr Mohd Daud Bakar, who has assisted us in the development of the qualification’.
The Executive Business Lounge, hosted by Bahrain Financial Services Development (BFSD), will enable the delegates to more effectively connect with key clients, prospects and international media in a more interactive and spacious platform. Premium coffee from Starbucks, wireless internet and other business benefits are the order of the day at the BFSD Business Lounge.
In addition, the VIP Networking Area, hosted by BankMuscat International will help participants meet and unwind in an informal and relaxed environment.