By D. Arul Rajoo
BANGKOK, June 13 (Bernama) — The Second Thailand Islamic Finance Conference, which will be held here on June 26, will give an update on the worldwide development of Islamic finance, including the untapped market in Thailand.
The event offers an opportunity for public sector officials, state enterprise directors, bankers, financiers and private sector business leaders to gain a better understanding of the opportunities offered by Islamic finance, the fastest growing banking and financial sector in the world.
Christopher F. Bruton, Director of Dataconsult Ltd which is organising the event, said Thai Finance Minister, Dr Surapong Suebwonglee, would give a keynote address while other speakers included deputy governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Datuk Mohammad Razif Abdul Kadir, British Ambassador to Thailand, Quinton Quayle and Kitti Patpong Pibul, chairman of the Islamic Bank of Thailand.
He said the conference was being held with the support from the Thai and Malaysian financial authorities, and with sponsorship from HSBC, Zaid Ibrahim Law Office and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Last year, about 220 participants attended the event.
Bruton said Islamic financing system was gaining worldwide prominent and cited the Arabian Gulf area, the world’s largest source of surplus investment funds which has experienced dramatic development of syariah-compliant financing.
“London, the hub of world financial innovation, now considers Islamic finance as a prime area of concentration. In Malaysia and Indonesia, Islamic finance is a major and fast growing part of the overall banking sector, used by Muslims and non-Muslims alike,” he said.
He said in Thailand, development of Islamic finance was now also gaining serious consideration with support from the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Thailand and Islamic Bank of Thailand.
“But the development still has a long way to go as necessary tax and regulatory measures to encourage use of Islamic financial instruments are not yet fully implemented while the government has not yet taken full advantage of the massive international sukuk bond market for infrastructure development finance.
“However, interest is fast growing, and there is now a serious desire among bankers, financiers, property developers and infrastructure promoters, to take advantage of the benefits that Islamic finance may offer,” he said.