Almaty to Host Islamic Finances Forum in May

ASTANA – The 12th Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) summit will be held in Almaty on May 19-21, the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) announced. A memorandum of understanding signed between NBK and IFSB on Dec.31 signified the cooperation and commitment of both parties in ensuring the success of this important event, stated its Jan. 5 press release.

According to NBK, the IFSB summit is an interactive platform for key players in the Islamic finance industry that will focus on the current development of Islamic finance in the world, regulating the activities of Islamic financial institutions, regional and global cooperation in the fields of financial stability and capacity building, as well as the prospects and development plans of the industry.

“The first summit of the Islamic Financial Services Board was held in 2004 in the U.K. under the patronage of the Prince of Wales. Subsequent summits were held in Qatar, Lebanon, the UAE, Jordan, Singapore, Bahrain, Luxembourg, Turkey, Malaysia and Mauritius. The summit is held annually in May, with the support of central banks or regulator countries as co-organisers of the event. The summit usually gathers over 300 delegates from more than 35 countries, including high-ranking officials of regulatory and supervisory authorities, international financial institutions, financial market participants and representatives of science and education,” the report said.

Hosting such an event in Kazakhstan will promote Almaty as the Islamic financial hub in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Central Asia.

“I am delighted that the 2015 summit is being held in Kazakhstan,” said ISBF Secretary-General Jaseem Ahmed. “The IFSB summit presents an important high-level platform for the key regulators, market players and thought leaders of the global Islamic Financial Services Industry (IFSI) to discuss issues pertinent in steering the regulatory direction of the industry, with the mutual aim to further strengthen its resilience and stability.”

“The National Bank of Kazakhstan has been an associate member of the IFSB since November 2011 and we are very happy to work with them in organising this twelfth edition of the summit. We are especially pleased that the summit will take place in Central Asia – a region of emerging importance and potential on the map of Islamic finance,” he added.

The annual IFSB summits aim to bring together industry leaders and professionals from across the globe. In particular, participants of the previous summits have included key players of IFSI, especially members of IFSB, from among regulatory and supervisory authorities, international inter-governmental organisations and market players.

IFSB is an international standard-setting organisation that promotes and enhances the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry by issuing global prudential standards and guiding principles for the industry, broadly defined to include banking, capital markets and insurance sectors. IFSB also conducts research and coordinates initiatives on industry-related issues, as well as organises roundtables, seminars and conferences for regulators and industry stakeholders. The organisation consists of 184 members, including 59 regulatory and supervisory authorities and eight international intergovernmental organisations. NBK joined IFSB in 2011.

Kazakhstan adopted the law on Islamic finance in 2009, creating the conditions for the functioning of Islamic banks, Islamic investment funds and Islamic securities issue. In 2011, a law was passed providing the possibility of issuing state Islamic securities, as well as expanding the list of originators of Islamic securities issued by Kazakh residents.

NBK drafted a law on amendments and additions to certain legislative acts on insurance and Islamic finance to develop Islamic finance, insurance and leasing. At present, the draft is under discussion in parliament.

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