Convened under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the 3rd Annual Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2014) opened at the Gulf Convention Centre of the Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain. METF 2014 gathered more than 200 senior decision-makers from over 100 organizations for discussions that focused on building scale, and boosting the efficiency, profitability and scale of Takaful operators in the Middle East.
Speaking to the media present at the event, David McLean, Chief Executive of the Middle East Takaful Forum noted: “Recent reports continue to project a positive future for the Takaful industry in the region, with forecasts of double-digit growth. The industry continues to gain market share across several high value rapid-growth markets, which still show significant untapped potential. However, a number of key challenges are still being tackled by the industry as Takaful operators seek to build scale and deliver a sustainably profitable business model.”
The two day event was inaugurated with a keynote address delivered by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain. Mr. Al Baker’s inaugural address provided key insights on the next steps in strengthening the regulatory framework for the Takaful Industry as well as assessing new measures and initiatives to enhance the success of the Takaful industry in the Middle East.
METF 2014 also saw an International keynote speech delivered by Dr. Eddy Chong Siong Choy, Director of the Accreditation Division of the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA) in Malaysia. Dr. Chong provided an international perspective on the progress of the global Takaful industry and the critical success factors that have driven the industry forward in other key centres.
A major highlight of this year’s METF 2014 was the industry leaders’ power debate session which featured significant debates and discussions on how the Takaful industry in the Middle East can move to the next level of development. The debate led by Ammar Radhi, Research Manager – Emerging Markets Specialist, Thomson Reuters, and featuring Mohamed Radhi, Board member / Treasurer, Bahrain Insurance Association; Safder Jaffer, Managing Director & Consulting Actuary – Middle East & Africa, Milliman; Omar Gouda, Managing Director, Africa Retakaful; and Mohamed Hussein El-Dishish, Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Retakaful Limited (Emirates RE) discussed key strategies for balancing competitive pressures with the need for risk-based pricing.
Commenting on their participation, Younis J Al Sayed, Chairman, Bahrain Insurance Association said: “Bahrain has a long established presence as a leading international Islamic financial services centre, strengthened through the well-established regulatory framework and high levels of commitment to research and training in the Islamic finance industry. This has provided a key structural backdrop required for the Takaful industry in Bahrain to establish itself and for Bahrain to become the leading insurance hub of the region. The Bahrain Insurance Association which has 48 members comprising of local insurance companies, foreign insurance companies, reinsurance, brokers and service providers is delighted to be a strategic partner at the 3rd Annual Middle East Takaful Forum 2014 (METF 2014). METF 2014 will provide the perfect setting for discussions that will determine the key factors required to take the industry to the next level of development.”
The METF Exhibition, which was held along the sidelines of the conference, was inaugurated by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain and showcased the latest products, services and innovations in the regional Shari’ah-compliant insurance industry.
METF 2014 continues on the 14th of October and features high-profile sessions addressing solvency, legal and risk management priorities for the Middle East Takaful industry. Day 2 of METF 2014 will also feature interactive roundtables on key areas including governance, transparency, Shari’ah frameworks, and asset management approaches in the regional Takaful industry.