The World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) and Ernst & Young Global Limited (EY) hosted a press conference on Nov. 1 to discuss the key strategic imperatives for the industry at the Awal Ballroom of the Gulf Hotel in Bahrain. Held exactly one month ahead of the 22nd Annual WIBC, the press conference was an opportunity for EY to highlight key strategic insights from the much-awaited EY World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2015-2016.
The report has for several years been a key feature at the annual WIBC, which is globally renowned for being, among other things, a platform for cutting edge thought leadership and intelligence for the past 22 years. The full year's report will be developed by EY's award-winning Global Islamic Banking Center and will be presented at the WIBC 2015 on Dec. 2, 2015. Speaking at the press conference, Ashar Nazim, a partner and head of Global Islamic Finance at EY, said: "The key findings of the EY World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report [WIBCR] 2015-2016 provide some groundbreaking revelations which will help shape the future of Islamic banks. Innovations in technology and digitalization call for transformation of customers' banking experience across channels and all touch points and this transformation can help banks anticipate the changing needs of customer."
According to the report, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Islamic banking profit pool crossed $12 billion for the first time in 2014, with expectations that the sector will continue to grow amid regional economic uncertainty. Nine core markets are currently the growth engines for the global Islamic finance industry. The report identifies a group of 40 banks across these nine core markets that are systemically important to the future progress of the industry. Out of the 40 banks, over 50 percent have an equity base of $1 billion or more. Acting as a platform to provide resourceful insights on the opportunities and challenges, WIBC has played a pivotal role in bringing together the leaders of the Islamic banking industry to form constructive alliances and thereby strengthen the foundations of the industry."