News story 10th Aug 2015

Malaysian Islamic finance experts attend forum

New areas of opportunities for conventional and Islamic financing will be discussed at an upcoming forum.

The inaugural Australia Malaysia Financial Services Forum will bring together leading industry representatives and experts from Malaysia and Australia to provide insights into the importance of the emerging Islamic finance industry and conventional finance services.

Finance

Co-organiser Dr Kerstin Steiner from the Asia Pacific Business Regulation Working Group, Department of Business Law and Taxation, Monash Business School said the program for the forum had been developed following an Islamic finance workshop held late last year and hosted by the School.

"Last year's workshop was primarily targeted at academics and research based on Islamic finance, while this year's forum will bring together leading industry representatives and experts from Malaysia and Australia to provide insight into new areas of opportunity," she said.

"With the Australia Malaysia Business Council (Vic) taking the lead and the support of Pitcher Partners, this has allowed the forum to morph into a bigger event than expected.

"We have been able to develop ties with the central bank of Malaysia, plus the CEOs of some of the biggest Malaysian companies who are working in the Islamic and conventional financial markets."

Dr Steiner worked with Joe Perri, President of the Australia Malaysia Business Council (Victoria), Dr Jikon Lai from Melbourne University and Chris Andrews, Vice President – CIO La Trobe Financial Asset Management Ltd with the support of Pitcher Partners to bring the forum to fruition.

Lessons can be learned

"The forum is a perfect opportunity for representatives from both Australian and Malaysian financial companies to learn from the experts," Dr Steiner said.

"Both countries have very different financial environments but everyone can still learn some lessons – how they approach it, how they convince the population to buy into these financial products.

"Malaysian financial institutions have developed conventional and, moreover, Islamic products with the latter attracting Muslims but also a non-Muslim customer base. The forum will look at both kinds of products and financial services.

Last year's workshop was primarily targeted at academics and research based on Islamic finance, while this year's forum will bring together leading industry representatives and experts from Malaysia and Australia to provide insight into new areas of opportunity.

Dr Kerstin Steiner

Asia Pacific Business Regulation Working Group, Department of Business Law and Taxation

"There is a close link between certain Islamic principles and corporate responsibly, environment issues, matters of accountability and governance, ethical investments – many of the same considerations being made in conventional financial banking.

"This makes Islamic banking quite attractive to non-Muslims as well, and they are competitive with conventional financial services."

Malaysia is a leader in the Islamic financial market

Dr Steiner said Malaysia had been a global player right from the beginning.

"The forum offers the delegates an opportunity to understand Malaysia's unique operating environment where conventional and Islamic sectors operate side-by-side," she said.

"It is underpinned by modern rules, regulations and governance which ensure stability and make them attractive for customers. All important aspects for Australian institutions looking to enter the Islamic finance industry or further develop their offerings. "

Overseas delegates will also have the opportunity to meet with leading financial services organisations to further enhance cross border connections and relationships. 

Dr Steiner said because Islamic banking is an emerging market globally there are plans to hold more forums in the future.

"We are hopeful the forum will become an annual event, alternating between Australia and Malaysia," Dr Steiner said.

The Australia Malaysia Financial Services Forum was held at Pitcher Partners, Level 19, 15 Williams Street, Melbourne 3000 on Monday 17 August starting at 8:30 am.

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