07/12/2017 11:09 AST

Al Baraka Bank has been recognised as the ‘Best Performing Islamic Bank’ in Bahrain during the 24th World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) that concluded yesterday on a high note in the Kingdom.

The award, for top Islamic financial institutions at the global, regional and country level - based on their performance in the WIBC Leaderboard, was announced during a high profile Gala Dinner held on Tuesday.

WIBC Leaderboard is a groundbreaking performance assessment tool aimed at enabling Islamic financial institutions to benchmark their performance against their peers.

Boubyan Bank bagged the Global, GCC and Kuwait region awards as well as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award.

The awards were given away by Rasheed Mohamed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Middle East Global Advisors - a leading financial intelligence platform facilitating the development of knowledge-based economies in the MENASEA markets organised the conference in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain.

The three-day long forum spearheaded a series of discussions gravitating around the theme of “Drivers of Economic Growth & Risks: Policymakers & Regulators”.

A number of experts from around the world spoke at the conference. One of the highlights of the event was an onstage interview with Adnan Ahmed Yousif, Chief Executive and President, Al Baraka Banking Group, who shared his vision for the next 40 years of Islamic Banking. The interview focused on lessons from the past, the analysis of the current state of the industry and the future of Islamic banking.

Expressing his vision for Islamic Banking in the next 10 years, Yousif said, “Islamic banking assets share will increase from 15 per cent to 25-35pc with the primary growth drivers being regionalisation, digital acceleration and innovative business models for emerging markets.”

He pointed out that there is “ample room for growth” as Islamic banking rarely exceeds a third of total market share, even in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Malaysia. “Several potential markets with large Muslim populations remain largely untapped, such as India and the Commonwealth of Independent States countries, made up of the former Soviet republics.”

Adnan Ahmed Yousif also spoke on the need to fully exploit the Islamic banking niche, which means “targeting customer segments that care most deeply about Sharia compliance in their financial dealings as well as offering products and services that meet not only general financing but also Muslim-specific customer needs”.

“Overall banking penetration in many of the industry’s core markets is still low,” he said adding: “As competition intensifies, Islamic banks will have to adopt more sophisticated, customer-centric sales approach.”

Other key highlights of the event included the digital-banking focused panel and panel discussions focusing on dynamic capital markets, sustainable, equitable & inclusive growth, a potential of disruptive technologies and new horizons for Islamic finance. Leading industry experts analysed the challenges at hand.

Best performing Islamic Banks - Regional Awards

Levant: Safwa Islamic Bank

South East Asia: Maybank Islamic Berhad

South Asia: Social Islami Bank

Best performing Islamic Banks - Country Awards

Bahrain: Al Baraka Bank Bank

Saudi Arabia: Al Rajhi Bank

United Arab Emirates: Dubai Islamic Bank

Egypt: Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt

Jordan: Safwa Islamic Bank

Turkey: Türkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi A.S.

Indonesia: PT Bank Syariah BNI

Malaysia: Maybank Islamic Berhad

Bangladesh: Social Islami Bank

Pakistan: Meezan Bank Limited

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