Islamic Finance Debate Highlights Need for Standardisation

19 Oct 2018

QFC and Reuters partner up to deliver event on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank Meetings in Bali

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world's leading and fastest growing onshore business and financial centres, was honoured to partner with Reuters to successfully conclude an Islamic finance panel debate on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) in Bali, Indonesia. 

A number of high-calibre financial services delegates from across the globe attended the QFC event. The expert panel of speakers who came together to explore the key challenges and opportunities facing the Islamic finance industry included:

Mr. Joaquim Levy, Managing Director and CFO, World Bank Group

Dr. Bello Lawal Danbatta, Secretary-General, Islamic Financial Services Board

Dr. Mohamed Damak, Senior Director and Global Head of Islamic Finance, S&P Global Ratings

Mr. Luky Alfirman, Director General of Budget Financing and Risk Management, Ministry of Finance, Indonesia


Panel Discussion

The panel highlighted the need for Islamic finance standardisation to help face challenges the industry is facing. By standardising Islamic finance, the panel said they believe it will lead to greater harmonisation of Shariah and gain wider acceptance among international investors. Standardisation will also lead to an increase in sukuks being traded across borders and alignment with different markets and Islamic finance banks.

When looking at the opportunities for Islamic finance, the panel discussed opportunities for Islamic finance in financing infrastructure, aviation, Islamic insurance, pensions and endowments.

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority 
"Our Islamic finance debate brought together top global representatives from the Islamic finance industry to tackle a number of challenges, trends and opportunities. The QFC was honoured to be able to deliver such an engaging panel discussion on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank meetings."

Al-Jaida added: "Since 1982 when Qatar's first Islamic bank and first Islamic institution, the Qatar Islamic Bank was launched, to 2018 when the Qatar Stock Exchange listed the world's largest single-country Islamic exchange-traded fund (ETF), Qatar has certainly come a long way and made a number of achievements in Islamic finance. Islamic finance is a significant growth area, both for Qatar and for the Qatar Financial Centre. It is a sector that will remain a core focus for us, as we continue to welcome Islamic finance institutions to join our competitive ecosystem."

Dr. Mohamed Damak, Senior Director and Global Head of Islamic Finance, S&P Global Ratings
"It was my pleasure to be a part of the QFC and Reuters Islamic finance debate, which provided the opportunity to discuss the key trends and challenges occurring in the industry worldwide. There is growing opportunity in many areas of Islamic finance – standardisation and fintech are just two avenues that can accelerate the industry's growth, bringing more investors to the market."

Qatar Islamic Finance Report 2018

At the event, the QFC also launched its Qatar Islamic Finance Report 2018. The report found Islamic banking assets in Qatar were valued at US$97 billion by the end of 2017, that is 81% of total Islamic finance assets, demonstrating the robustness and resilience of Qatar's Islamic banking sector.

The Qatar Islamic Finance Report 2018 also found a number of opportunities for Islamic finance in Qatar, including:


  • Fintech, which can enable Islamic finance to attract more customers, increase efficiency, reduce costs and offer a wider range of products
  • Takaful insurers can increase their distribution strategies and differentiate their products to help improve their share of the overall market
  • The asset management industry, whereby domestic private wealth is estimated at US$35 billion
  • Alternative investments such as infrastructure funds could help add diversification opportunities
  • Sustainable finance, whereby Qatar is leading the region in increasing pressure on listed companies to report their environmental, social and governance (ESG) data

For more details, you can download the full 2018 Qatar Islamic Finance Report report from here.
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