Governor Projects Dubai as a Leading Islamic Finance Centre at Economist Conference in Switzerland

His Excellency Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), gave the opening address at yesterday’s Islamic Finance Summit held in Geneva, Switzerland, outlining the importance of Islamic finance in today’s global economy and emphasizing Dubai’s significant role in its development.

The one-day conference, entitled: “The financing alternative: from niche market to mainstream business” was hosted by The Economist. The summit was aimed at banks, asset managers and investment companies, focusing on the legal framework underpinning the Islamic financial services sector and highlighting opportunities and benefits for the entire economy, as well as for individual investors.
The line up for the summit consisted of several high-level international speakers, including: Mohammed Abdel-Haq, Managing Director of HSBC Amanah Private Banking; Uto Baader, CEO of Baader Wertpapierhandelsbank AG; Nadim Khan, Partner at Herbert Smith LLP; and Dr. Humayon Dar, Managing Director of Dar Al Istithmar.

During his speech, His Excellency Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), underlined DIFC’s involvement in Islamic finance: “Dubai pioneered modern-day Islamic banking and is one of the major centres of innovation in Islamic finance. DIFC plays a leading role in providing an infrastructure and environment that is helping the financial sector develop. This is certainly the case in the context of Islamic finance.”
“DIFC in particular, is helping to spur creativity, originality and development by leading through example. Within Dubai this helps create a dynamic atmosphere, which in turn attracts both the financial and human capital that, in its turn, generates further innovation“, he said.

With approximately 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, and the global market for Islamic financial services currently estimated at almost $250 billion worth of assets, this sector has also appealed to non-Muslim and ethical investors. Boasting an annual growth rate of around 15%, Islamic finance has moved from a niche market to a mainstream business and is now attracting attention from global financial institutions.

Indeed, Dubai’s role in this shift has been significant, being ideally located within the Muslim world and between existing financial centres in the West and in the East. In its ambition to promote and develop Islamic financial services, the DIFC has embarked on a number of initiatives.

First and foremost, it has established the Islamic Finance Advisory Council, which plays a key strategic role in providing advice on Islamic finance and in helping the development of the industry. The Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) has also been recognised for becoming the world’s largest exchange for sukuk in terms of value, with eleven issues totalling more than $13 billion.

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