The size of the Shariah-compliant banking and financial market, which has grown to nearly $2 trillion, has great untapped growth potential, as a significant number of Muslim population still do not have access to interest-free financing services, noted a top official of Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority at an event.
Dr Haitham Al Salama (pictured), Chief Economic Advisor at QFC Authority, was speaking on the rise of Islamic Finance across the globe at “Islamic Fintech: Are Islamic banks Ready to be disruptive?” at a panel discussion of Thomson Reuters Future of Technology event.
Dr Haitham said: “Islamic finance has enjoyed double digit growth rates over the past decade, and the total assets of the sector has reached $2 trillion globally. The world’s Muslim population of around 1.6 billion has low access to financial services, this presents a big growth potential for the sector.”
He also highlighted how Fintech is disrupting the industry, adding: “Fintech is expected to change the traditional models of Islamic financial services and support the sector growth by creating new instruments, increasing efficiency and reducing the cost of operations. It will also improve access and therefore, increase the asset base of the sector.”
Other speakers on the panel included Sagheer Mufti, Chief Operating Officer at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Jarmo Kotilaine, Chief Economist at Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and Mustafa Adil, Head of Islamic Finance – Mena at Thomson Reuters. Commenting on the role of regulators in keeping up with these fast-paced developments, he continued: “The pace of innovation is so fast that the regulators need to follow a proactive rather than reactive approach and develop guidelines for the new Fintech solutions that are expected to be developed.
“Islamic Fintech practices needs to be reviewed separately in-line with the governance and compliance standards. This includes the assessment of existing Fintech solutions, and the adoption of new ICT infrastructures and innovations.
Originally published on www.thepeninsulaqatar.com