For 25 years, the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) has solidified its reputation as the indisputable compass for the global Islamic finance and banking industry, building a robust platform that comprises of leading bankers, institutional investors, asset managers, policy makers, academics and other stakeholders from across the globe. This year’s conference will spearhead a host of discussions gravitating around the theme of “Islamic Finance & Sustainable Economic Growth in the Age of Disruption. Key features for WIBC 2018 include: Governors’ Addresses; High-profile Regulatory Debate among Central Bankers; a conversation with a distinguished Islamic finance veteran on the future course of the Islamic economy, The Regulations Power Table on fostering synergies among regulators, standard setters and global financial regulatory authorities to further Islamic Finance; WIBC Gala Dinner & Performance Awards, Exclusive launch of Financial Intelligence Reports & Panel discussions focusing on sustainable, equitable & inclusive growth, FinTech, new horizons for Islamic finance, cross-jurisdictional issues on Sharia standards & practices and much more.
Over the past 25 years, WIBC has served as the definitive platform for thought leadership, playing host to luminaries such as Sir Howard Davies, Former Chairman of the European Central Bank, Professor Robert Kaplan of Harvard Business School, Nicholas Naseem Taleb, the author of “The Black Swan,” and Dr. Mark Mobius, Emerging Markets Guru and Executive Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets. WIBC 2017 centred around the theme of “Drivers of Economic Growth & Risks: Policymakers & Regulators” and witnessed the launch of 2 intelligence reports by Thomson Reuters. Over the years, WIBC has partnered with Strategy Associates such as EY, Thomson Reuters, Harvard University and McKinsey & Company to produce cutting-edge pragmatic insights to serve the Islamic finance, banking and insurance industries.
The team behind WIBC, Middle East Global Advisors, are the conveners of the ground-breaking Global Ethical Finance Forum, in strategic partnership with the Scottish Government, and the co-organisers of the Responsible Finance Summit, in strategic partnership with Bank Negara Malaysia. A key focus at WIBC 2018 is identifying ways in which Islamic finance can connect with the broader ethical finance industry and benefit from collaboration with other ethical finance sectors to support their common growth prospects – SRI, ESG and faith-based investing – as well as looking at the model of community banking and microfinance to promote financial inclusion.
Over 25 years, WIBC has helped forge a robust ecosystem to widen the scope of Islamic finance to meet new realities, whilst staying true to its ideals. WIBC is an open forum connecting all stakeholders across the entire ecosystem – regulators, policy makers, banks, asset managers, investors, thought leaders, academic, international media – to converge and drive critical discussions and strategic execution across a plethora of areas: fintech, women, emerging markets, asset allocation, etc. Ultimately, WIBC cultivates this ecosystem to help power the agenda for the C-level executive for the coming year. The innovative WIBC Leaderboard, a peer-to-peer assessment benchmark based on robust quantitiaive metrics, was aimed to promoted greater transparency within the Islamic banking industry and fed into the much-coveted WIBC Awards celebrating excellence in the industry. The WIBC App proved an indispensable enabler to forge the WIBC global community – from Silicon Valley to London, from Nigeria to Australia. The series will leverage the app’s interactive tools to spur critical dialogue.
The launch of what was to become the world’s largest and the most significant annual gathering of Islamic banking & finance industry leaders anywhere in the world. 120 pioneering delegates attend the 1st WIBC.
Fast track to 2000 and the Islamic banking and finance industry enters the new millennium growing rapidly as the 7th Annual WIBC highlights a new wave of growth in the international Islamic banking and finance industry.
The events of 9/11 cast an unwanted spotlight on the international industry, however leaders of major institutions used the WIBC platform to put the record straight and get key messages across to one of the largest ever contingents of international media at the conference.
The 10th Anniversary of WIBC was celebrated in style. The event which was officially inaugurated by Abdulla Hassan Saif, Bahrain's Minister of Finance & National Economy and moderated by Peter Hobday, saw the announcement of the launch of a new $1.5 billion International Islamic bank.
The inaugural edition of the World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report – an industry first initiative – was launched at WIBC 2004. The WIBC Competitiveness Report over the last 9 years has evolved into an indispensable reference resource for the key decision-makers in the global Islamic banking & finance industry. The pre-conference workshops, which are now a regular feature at WIBC, was also introduced in 2004. Tim Sebastian of BBC HardTalk was the moderator for WIBC 2004.
WIBC 2005 saw the introduction of a high-powered Leaders & Winning Strategies session featuring Abdul-Aziz Al-Ghurair & Abdullah Sulaiman Al Rajhi. Prof. Robert S. Kaplan was the Keynote Speaker at WIBC 2005.
Two World Renowned Gurus: Tom Peters & Gary Hamel wowed the WIBC Audience in 2006 and the delegate numbers broke through the 1,000 mark for the first time!
WIBC 2007 saw the launch of the World Comes to WIBC Initiative and the country-focus sessions, which explored the increasing interest and opportunities for Islamic finance in new jurisdictions. For the first time, the UK Trade and Investment hosted the UK Pavilion which featured a high powered delegation of decision-makers representing major banks & institutions in the UK attending the World Islamic Banking Conference. The UK Pavilion is now a regular feature of WIBC.
WIBC celebrated its 15 years of market leadership in 2008. The World Comes to WIBC initiative further expanded to feature a high powered delegation from Singapore which was led by H.E Heng Swee Keat, Governor of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The Global Economic Crisis continues to cast a shadow across the conventional banking industry. The global market leaders gathered in full force at WIBC 2009 to strengthen the resilience and shape the future of the global Islamic finance industry. Prof. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Author of the New York Times Best Seller – The Black Swan, was the keynote speaker.
WIBC 2010 featured for the first time an official representation from Luxembourg to showcase Islamic finance. Also for the first time, a Malaysia focus representing the county’s leading Islamic financial players. Todd Benjamin, Former Financial Editor of CNN was the moderator and Dr. Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group was the Guru Speaker.
For the first time ever, an official representation from France led by Invest in France Agency attended WIBC in 2011 and hosted a roundtable on the opportunities for Islamic finance in France. Also for the first time, WIBC 2011 featured Kishore Mahbubani, Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore as the Guru Speaker.
WIBC 2012 featured for the first time, a US Country Interface led by the US Chamber of Commerce. This was the first time that the US was ever showcasing their interest in Islamic finance and inviting Islamic finance institutions to the US. WIBC 2012 also featured a special keynote address by H.E. Jaloul Ayed, Former Minister of Finance, The Republic of Tunisia who discussed the Potential for Islamic Finance in Maghreb Countries in the aftermath of the Arab spring.
The 20th Anniversary Special Edition of WIBC was a true celebration as the world’s largest gathering of Islamic finance leaders took stock of the past, present and future of the industry. It was graced by the presence of Islamic finance pioneer and industry titan Sheikh Saleh Kamel, Founder and Chairman of Dallah al Baraka Group (DBG), who shared his invaluable insights into the Development of the Islamic Finance Industry: Perspectives on the Past, Present and Future. The Keynote address was by Sir Howard Davies, Former Chairman, Financial Services Authority; and Former Deputy Governor, Bank of England, who spoke on the Future of Banking Regulation & Implications for Islamic Finance Institutions.
Celebrating 21 Years of Growth, Excellence and Innovation in the Global Islamic Finance Industry, keynote speakers featured Nurlan Kussainov, Deputy Governor, National Bank of Kazakhstan; and Jaseem Ahmed, Secretary-General of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), who addressed key issues related to the strength, stability and enhancing international linkages between Islamic finance jurisdictions. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi of the House of Lords, who has been a key driving force in the progress made by the UK in Islamic finance, said in her special keynote address that London is fast emerging as a key centre of Islamic finance offering billions in earnings as well as funding for major infrastructure projects.
WIBC celebrated 40 years of the Global Islamic Finance Industry in its 22nd edition, enabling it to evolve into a globally renowned brand standing for excellence, innovation & growth. In 2015, WIBC introduced various new topics including a focus on Fintech, Digital Banking and a large interest on Ethical Banking. WIBC’s tremendous success was portrayed in its representation of over 1300 delegates from over 50 countries, with 94 partners and over 70 high profile and globally renowned speakers.
In its 23rd edition, WIBC spearheaded a series of discussions centred around the theme of “Economic Uncertainties: Vigilance & Growth” and witnessed the launch of no less than 5 intelligence reports by Thomson Reuters, EY and Simply Sharia. A dedicated fintech stream in the form of Enterprise Excellerate was launched on the sidelines of WIBC with the aim of highlighting the fintech proposition of the Middle East. WIBC 2016 registered participation from a staggering 1300 delegates, 98 partners, 135 high profile speakers from across 50 countries, further boosting the powerful WIBC brand and its legacy.
In its 24th edition, WIBC spearheaded a series of discussions centred around the theme of “Drivers of Economic Growth & Risks: Policymakers & Regulators” and witnessed the launch of 2 intelligence reports by Thomson Reuters and 3 exclusive product launches, notably the launch of ALGO Bahrain – the world’s first Fintech Consortium of Islamic Banks. WIBC 2017 registered participation from a staggering 1200 delegates, 87 partners, 90 high profile speakers from across 50 countries, positioning itself as the indisputable compass of the global Islamic banking industry.