Friday September 21, 2012
Islamic financial assets are US$1.2tril, but it is only 1% of global system and can grow
KUALA LUMPUR: Although the size of Islamic financial assets are roughly US$1.2 trillion (RM3.72 trillion) to US$1.3 trillion (RM4.03 trillion) globally, it is only about 1% of the entire global financial system and hence, there are huge opportunities for growth.
He added that for now, Islamic finance was being driven by supply side factors. However, opportunities to grow were emerging especially with the commodity boom, quality inprovements in the Islamic products, more Islamic finance windows and the availability of syariah compliant indices.
“Could Islamic finance be the solution to the financial crisis we had recently? Yes, it is still very small, but there are opportunities to develop it.
“For one, Islamic finance is stable and sound and adheres to its core principles. It also eliminates pure debt securities from the financial system. It calls for bank deposits to be collected on profit shareing rather than the fixed predetermined liabilities.
“Importantly, it closes the link between the real economy and the financial sector and clarifies the sources of individual ownership,” said Mohieldin during his public lecture on Enhancing the Islamic Financial System in a Decade of Increasing Internationalisation.
He added that the commodity boom had generated surpluses in Muslim countries that needed to be allocated through financial intermediaries.
“Secondly, there have been quality improvements in terms of more Islamic products and practical alternatives. As for Islamic finance windows, there are now windows by major internationl conventional financial institutions. This has provided a strong avenue for the growth of Islamic finance,” said Mohieldin.
As with all positives, Islamic finance also faced its key set of concerns.
Mohieldin said there needed to be an improvement in the regulatory oversight. There also needs to be a rebalancing of the tax treatment and the strengthening of the solvency framework.
“In the case of the solvency framework, there needs to be guidelines for bankcruptcy rules, reliable mechanisms for sukuk defaults and for addressing any other adverse outcomes,” said Mohieldin.
He added that it was important to ensure there was enough liquidity both in the short term and long term for the sukuk markets. Thus, establishing sound risk management practises were important.
Mohieldin said the World Bank was playing its role as it was already investing is Islamic financial markets. The World Bank was contributing through capacity building and knowledge sharing as well as helping with corporate governance, insolvency and liquidity issues.
“Within a relevant framework of regulation, standards and corporate governance, Islamic finance based on its main principles and through continued investment in human capital, can play an even more important role in ensuring broader financial access to support sustainable development,” said Mohieldin.
On a question by a participant on how the World Bank was helping countries to further develop Islamic finance, Mohieldin said that the World Bank was only helpful to countries that were helpful to themselves.
“We help through pragmatic approaches. If a country does not want our help, then all we can offer is ideas and knowledge sharing,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA) unveiled the KLRCA i-Arbitration Rules at the Global Islamic Finance Forum yesterday.
Launched by Bank Negara's deputy governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim, this is the first set of arbitration rules in the world that adopts the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Arbitration Rules, while allowing for the resolution of disputes arising from any contract that may contain syariah issues.
Arbitral awards under the KLRCA i-Arbitration Rules will be enforeceable in the 146 contries that are signatories to the UN Convention on the Recognition and on Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958, said KLRCA in a press release.
The director of KLRCA Datuk Sundra Rajoo said in a media release: “The KLRCA i-Arbitration Rules was produced to provide an effective and enforeceable dispute resolution platform for international Islamic commercial transactions, long being an uncertainty in international dispute resolution.
“It leverages on the robust structure set up by the syariah advisory councils of Bank Negara and Securities Commission, thus asserting Malaysia's capabilities in dispute resolution on commercial matters with the Shariah component, especially within the Islamic financing sector.”