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World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) to Chart Future of Commodities, Currencies

This December experts from the US, Turkey, UAE, Egypt, UK, Saudi Arabia and other markets to provide Islamic finance industry with its asset allocation outlook for 2016

The World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) 2015 will gather seasoned economists, asset managers and investment bankers who will provide a holistic view of asset allocation opportunities for 2016 – covering key countries and regions, energy, commodities and currencies for the 1200 delegates in attendance this December.

For 22 years, WIBC has provided the most influential global and regional insights to help C-level executives shape their business strategy for the year ahead. Some of the topical areas the 22nd edition will cover include the impact of US monetary policy on foreign exchange exposure, whether Europe’s stagnation will drag down North Africa and what China’s disappointing growth numbers mean for the MENASEA economies.

Specifically, the global economic growth (or lack thereof), the ongoing oil crisis and monetary policy changes of the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank – all are absolutely key to assessing the asset allocation outlook for Islamic finance in 2016.

In 2014, the global economy grew at a disappointing 2.6% and although it is forecasted to rise to 3.1% and 3.3% growth rates in 2015 and 2016, it is no wonder the discourse has shifted around a “new mediocre” era of global economic growth as commodity-dependent emerging markets adjust to the new realities of lower prices. At the same time, governments in the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) region are faced with the challenge of maintaining increases in public finance – particularly for infrastructure investment – with the need for long-term fiscal sustainability. Interest rates policy from Europe and the US will have a strong influence on financial stability in the Middle East North Africa Southeast Asia (MENASEA) region by impacting the flows of capital towards these markets, and its effects have already been felt in countries like Malaysia.

WIBC 2015’s opportune timing will allow investors and asset managers to take stock of the current state of the global political economy. One of the luminaries joining the debate is Talal Touqan, VP/Head of Research & Advisory at Al Ramz Capital, who emphasized the importance of keeping in mind secular trends affecting business more broadly: “new technologies are speeding up business cycles as well as transforming investment styles into a global context.”

He also shared: “Larger economic channels, plus much higher worldwide correlations, dictate a better understanding of how global factors boil down to regional drivers.” Indeed, the sheer strength of the asset allocation outlook series at WIBC lies in the fact that the event has secured speakers who collectively provide a “glocal” perspective – deep local expertise and robust understanding of the global political economy – from across various jurisdictions.

One of the jurisdictions that WIBC will shed light on is Turkey, which will be well represented by pioneers from the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, Turkiye Finans and RHEA Asset Management. An emerging Islamic finance market, Turkey’s location at the EurAsian crossroads certainly works in its favor. Indeed, Turkish bank Kuveyt Turk announced that is would launch Germany’s first full-fledged Islamic bank in July 2016, a major milestone in providing sharia-compliant banking services to the European market.

Onur Takmak, Founding Partner & Chairman of Turkey-based RHEA Asset Management who will participate in the asset allocation outlook series at WIBC, said: “Doubling its share in consolidated Turkish banking industry assets to around 5% over the last decade, Participation (Islamic) Banking is anticipated to command 20% of the sector by 2023. With state-owned banks muscling into the industry and further developments expected on the Capital Markets side, Islamic investment vehicles and banking products should reach to wider audiences across different geographic, social and economic segments of the society.”

Turkey joins more than 60 jurisdictions to be presented at WIBC 2015 including Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Sudan, Canada, UAE, Bahrain, USA, Nigeria, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The Asset Allocation Outlook series at WIBC will take place on 3 December 2015 and will include pioneers from distinguished organisations such as Citi, EFG Hermes Holdings, Magni Global Asset Management, Lazard Gulf, Emirates NBD, RHEA Asset Management, Quantum Investment Bank and London Central Portfolio.

WIBC 2015 is a three-day gathering of the financial industry’s leaders, taking place on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of December at the Gulf Hotel in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.