News story 26th Nov 2014

Islamic finance debate brings leaders to Monash

The Islamic finance industry is rapidly expanding. 

With an annual growth rate of 15 per cent, it is widely regarded as a 'development to watch'. This has led to debate among policy makers and market practitioners who ask the question: is there something inherently cultural about Islamic finance or is it simply emulating conventional finance?

This was the central theme at a recent workshop hosted by Monash Business School. It brought together eminent national and international academics from the fields of law, political science, economics, international political economy and sociology to debate and review recent developments in the Islamic finance industry.

Islamic finance brings leaders to Monash

"Many policy makers and academics argue that Islamic finance offers a substantive alternative to conventional finance. Others are of the opinion that it largely replicates conventional finance," said Dr Kerstin Steiner from the School's Department of Business Law and Taxation.

"The workshop's goal was to build bridges between these groups through dialogue but also to challenge the conceptualisation of Islamic financial instruments. For example, we discussed an empirical study into the development of a segment of the financial market (conventional bonds and sukuk, the Islamic equivalent) in Malaysia, where a dual financial system has emerged."

Representatives from national regulators were in attendance, as were their international colleagues from the Shariah (Islamic religious law) Advisory Council at the

Many policy makers and academics argue that Islamic finance offers a substantive alternative to conventional finance. Others are of the opinion that it largely replicates conventional finance. The workshop's goal was to build bridges between these groups through dialogue but also to challenge the conceptualisation of Islamic financial instruments.

Dr Kerstin Steiner

Department of Business Law and Taxation

Central Bank of Malaysia and the Securities Commission. Legal practitioners and business representatives, including the chairperson of the Australia Malaysia Business Council and the Consul-General of Malaysia to Victoria also attended the workshop.

"It was a very successful day full of insightful and thought-provoking discussions. We have already been approached by the Australia Malaysia Business Council to host a similar event next year," said Dr Steiner.

The workshop was organised by Dr Kerstin Steiner (Monash Business School), Associate Professor Lena Rethel (University of Warwick) and Dr Jikon Lai (The University of Melbourne) and financially supported by the Melbourne School of Government, the Asia-Pacific Business Regulation Groupand the Department of Business Law and Taxation.