As Islamic banks continue to post impressive figures compared to their conventional counterparts, The Banker launches its inaugural awards aimed at celebrating this financial sector. With a global award, regional winners for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, as well as 13 country prizes, the awards show what an impressive geographical reach Islamic finance has established.
More articles on Islamic finance
Despite an impressive 12 months for Islamic finance, the view from the industry is that results could be even greater if hurdles concerning taxation, regulation, legal frameworks, market challenges and a lack of qualified scholars are tackled.
With no single interpretation of Islamic law, differences in rulings between scholars over whether products are sharia-compliant has led to a lack of standardisation in the industry. Resolving this issue is key to bringing about greater efficiency, transparency and cohesion – ultimately helping to raise the curtain for more Islamic business, says AAOIFI deputy secretary general Khairul Nizam.
The Islamic finance industry has undergone rapid growth in recent years, but in representing just 1.5% of global banking assets, it remains a hugely underpenetrated market across many asset classes and geographies. This has led the heavyweight global Islamic players to redefine their strategies to capitalise on these opportunities.
The Arab Spring uprisings have brought change on an unprecedented scale to north Africa over the past couple of years, but what impact have these changes had upon the region's appetite for Islamic finance?
Islamic finance is increasingly being viewed as a credible alternative to conventional finance, but Hussain Al-Qemzi, group chief executive of Dubai-based Noor Investment Group and chief executive of Noor Islamic Bank, recognises that Islamic institutions must work together if they are to compete with conventional banks.
Year upon year, the Islamic finance industry posts stellar growth figures. However, as large Western lenders withdraw from the sector, is Islamic finance in as healthy a shape as the figures suggest? The Banker asks a number of experts in the field what the future holds for sharia-compliant banking.
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