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QFC Authority Discuss Islamic Fintech at Thomson Reuters Event

26 Apr 2017

Qatar Financial Centre Authority's Chief Economic Advisor Dr. Haitham Al Salama took part in the "Islamic Fintech: Are Islamic banks Ready to be disruptive?" panel as part of Thomson Reuters Future of Technology event.

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.

Speaking on the rise of Islamic Finance across the globe, Dr. Haitham Al Salama stated: "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."

Dr. Haitham also highlighted how Fintech is disrupting the industry stating: "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."
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.
Qatar Financial Centre Authority's Chief Economic Advisor Dr Haitham Al Salama
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." Furthermore, he added: "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, new instruments or products and business model innovations. Achieving the balance between ensuring financial stability, consumer protection and promoting innovation will be a key element for a successful regulatory framework, which will help nurture the sector and attract investors to the region in the Islamic Fintech space."

The Thomson Reuters event also explored how technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), Blockchain and the internet of things are disrupting the way traditional industries operate.

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