Tuesday, 15 January 2008
->Hong Kong should be aware of the long term implications of getting involved in Sharia Finance. The Chinese historically have been wary of Islamic expansion into China, and have been very careful, up to now, to back off. However, with their growth and financial wealth, their need for oil will outgrow the USA and Europe. As we try to develop alternative fuel sources to stop the funding of terrorism, the Chinese will buy every drop of oil, at any price and continue to fill the coffers of the Middle East. We need to educate the Chinese about the risks of Sharia Law, and also include them in our research and development of alternative energy to fuel their growing automobile market.
Seminar on Islamic Finance – opportunities and challenges in Hong Kong
Press Release Content
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) jointly organised the Seminar on Islamic Finance held today (15 January) to promote discussion of the development of an Islamic financial platform in Hong Kong.
The seminar was well attended by over 280 delegates including representatives from central banks, financial regulators, prominent commercial bankers, market professionals and legal practitioners from Hong Kong and the region, and delegates from countries outside the region including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and countries in Europe.
The Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Joseph Yam, said, “The importance of Islamic finance is rising in the global financial market. As an international financial centre, Hong Kong is stepping up its efforts to promote its financial services to major Islamic countries and regions, and developing an Islamic bond market. The HKMA is very happy to work with the IFSB to organise this seminar. It has provided an excellent opportunity for Hong Kong to understand more about the characteristics of Islamic finance.
The Secretary-General of the IFSB, Professor Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, said, “The IFSB hopes that the global perspectives on Islamic finance presented by the regulators and industry practitioners in the Seminar will contribute to greater understanding of Islamic finance as a viable form of intermediation that promotes the growth of real economic activities together with social justice, as well as highlight the challenges, issues and opportunities in the introduction of Islamic finance in Hong Kong.”
He added that the IFSB, as an international organisation mandated to develop prudential standards for Islamic finance has, to date, issued five standards covering issues related to capital adequacy, risk management, corporate governance, supervisory review processes and transparency and market discipline. In broad terms, these five standards, taken together, may be viewed as the equivalent of the three pillars of Basel II for the Islamic financial services industry. They aim to assist the regulatory and supervisory authorities as well as market players to address the specificities of risks in Islamic finance in order to ensure the soundness and stability of the system in which the industry operates.
Professor Rifaat delivered the opening remarks for the seminar, Her Excellency Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia) delivered the opening and keynote address and the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, Mr John C Tsang, delivered the welcoming and keynote address.
On the first of the one-and-a-half day seminar, speakers with a wide background and experience in the Islamic financial field examined the opportunities and challenges facing the Islamic financial services industry. They discussed the operational and business structural issues for institutions wishing to establish an Islamic financial services unit and the convergence of the Islamic financial services industry with the mainstream financial services industry.
The seminar will continue tomorrow at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, 56/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong.
Notes and contacts
The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), which is based in Kuala Lumpur, was officially inaugurated on 3rd November 2002 and started operations on 10th March 2003. It serves as an international-standard setting body of regulatory and supervisory agencies that have vested interest in ensuring the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry, which is defined broadly to include banking, capital market and insurance.
In advancing this mission, the IFSB promotes the development of a prudent and transparent Islamic financial services industry through introducing new, or adapting existing international standards consistent with Islamic Shari’ah principles, and recommend them for adoption.
The 150 members of the IFSB include 37 regulatory and supervisory authorities as well as International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, Bank for International Settlements, Islamic Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, and 108 market players and professional firms from 31 countries.