Al Madina, ACA Amanie sign MoU on Islamic investment
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MUSCAT — Al Madina Financial and Investment Services Co of Oman and ACA Amanie of Malaysia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate together in common areas of interest in Islamic investment.

The MoU was signed on the second day of the 1st Muscat International Islamic Banking Forum (MIIFF), which concluded at Al Bustan Palace — A Ritz Carlton Hotel yesterday.

This historic collaboration will enhance the standing of both entities as there are complementary competencies among the partners, not just in the investment space but also in the Shariah advisory area. Keeping with the theme of the conference, this partnership is the marking of an interesting cross-border relationship. Islamic finance as its core principle would not only serve to strengthen the ties, but also to sustain the cordial relationship and businesses between the partners.

Following a successful and well-attended opening, the second and final day of MIIFF saw the attendance of a large number of prominent personalities from the private and public sector of the Omani Islamic Banking community.

Dr Mohammed Daud Bakar, Amanie’s founder and Group Chairman, commented, “The two days of informed discussions and workshops successfully shed light on the challenges facing Islamic Finance in the Sultanate and also its early successes. In the future we will build on our experience here in Muscat and organise bringing together thought leaders across industries who will provide fresh perspectives on the subject.”

Abdul Rahman Barham, Chairman — Amanie Advisory Oman said, “We are very encouraged by the response received by the first edition of the forum. There have been a few key recommendations which have arisen over two days of discussions. We put forward these suggestions to the concerned authorities and ensure that these issues are addressed at the earliest.”

Day two began with a panel discussion on Takaful financing. Gautam Datta, Chief Executive Officer — Al Madina Insurance, Oman mentioned that throughout the global financial crisis, the one sector with Islamic finance to experience steady growth has been Takaful. With more and more new retail markets opening-up to Islamic finance, other experts from new and established takaful markets discussed how the approach varies from country to country and what the prospects are for each.

Taking the conversation to BancaTakaful — the new dimension of Takaful Distribution, Chairman of FWU Dr Manfred J Dirrheimer, a renowned global expert in the distribution of takaful products and Chairman, FWU Takaful — UAE, gave his thoughts on the most cost effective and profitable ways to bring this new product to retail markets. He was joined by Sulaiman al Harthy, Group General Manager — Meethaq, Bank Muscat, in talking about BancaTakaful.

Khalid al Yahmadi, Chief Investment Officer — Al Madina Investment, Oman and Mohamad Damshal Awang Damit, CEO — ACA-Amanie, Malaysia discussed structuring Islamic Property Funds in Oman, with special emphasis on the Tilal Property.

The concluding discussion for the day explored the sukuk instrument. While the basic structures of sukuk are well known in the industry, they can vary widely in terms of application. With new markets for Islamic finance entering the picture, like Turkey, Ireland, Egypt, Australia, and Kazakhstan, a panel explored the regional differences that bankers must manage for success in the new markets.

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