Manama – February 27, 2022 – The 3rd Annual Islamic Finance Innovation Day (IFID) Forum launched today with participation from more than 300 regional and international attendees including senior Fintech, banking, regulatory, legal and investment experts engaging in dynamic discussions on “How Fintech Innovation is Transforming the Investment Industry”.
The hybrid event, which was held under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), took place in the Kingdom of Bahrain at the Gulf Hotel and was opened with remarks from HE Rasheed Al Maraj, Governor of the CBB, who welcomed business leaders and attendees and highlighted the important role of Fintech in industry transformation and the ongoing development of the investment sector.
Mr. Hassan Jarrar, CEO of BisB, the Forum’s Exclusive Banking Partner, delivered the morning’s first keynote address looking at “The Next Phase of Digital Innovation”. Discussing the evolution of the industry and where banks must focus today, he emphasized that, “To remain in pace with this rapidly advancing phenomenon of a digital-first society, and approach the future with confidence, we, as financial service providers, need to operate with agility and flexibility. We need to look beyond the technology and think about the people it impacts, whether be it our customers, employees, or partners.”
“Fintech Innovation in Real Estate Investing” was also in the spotlight. Mr. Anouar Adham, CFA Co-Founder and CEO of CrowdToLive®, a leading UK-based, FCA regulated Fintech offering an innovative and unique way to access the real estate asset class, and a Forum Partner, delivered a presentation highlighting how factional ownership can provide a non-debt solution both for investing and financing real estate transactions around the world. Mr Adham highlighted “Historically, real estate has been a prime asset class for debt financing, however the continuous price rise of residential properties around the world created a serious affordability crisis, non-debt solution is an answer to this challenge”.
Two interactive panel discussions followed covering the role of new cutting-edge digital solutions and how they are revolutionizing the investment industry with senior experts looking at the resulting challenges and opportunities and overall developments from a holistic prospective covering the regulatory and legal fronts as well as implications on financial services providers and the customers they serve.
The first panel of IFID, addressing the Forum’s theme, featured Ms. Yasmeen Al-Sharaf, Director, FinTech & Innovation Unit at the CBB, Ms. Maisaa Shunnar, Group Chief Digital Transformation, BisB, and Mr. Anouar Adham. The discussion, which was moderated by Ms. Vineeta Tan, Managing Editor and a Director at REDmoney Group, the Forum’s Media Partner, covered key changes across the regulatory landscape, both in the region and internationally, and their evolution to support innovation and industry transformation. Also discussed were the various approaches being taken by banks and Fintech providers to accelerate digitalization, transformation strategies being employed and customer needs and demand driving adoption, among others.
The second panel looked at “Fintech Innovation and Ecosystem and Legal Developments,” with participation from Ms. Yasmeen Al-Saffar, Head of Financial Services, Bahrain Economic Development Board, Mr. Roberto Mancone, CEO and Executive Board Member, BEYON Money and Mr. Mohamed Toorani, Partner and Head of Bahrain office, DLA Piper. The discussion, moderated by Mr. Kal Subramanian, Head of Markets, KPMG (Bahrain), saw panelists address how technology is changing the paradigm of financial services and the entire marketplace. They addressed both opportunities created and the risks and challenges that have arisen. Speakers also importantly discussed how regulators and policymakers have reacted and changes needed to the legal landscape to cover new activities and business models that have been brought about by financial technology as it works to disintermediate the financial services value chain and transform the landscape as a whole.
Concluding, Ms. Zahraa Taher, Managing Director of FinMark Communications, the Forum’s organizer, said, “We were delighted to have brought together such a distinguished group of speakers and panelists to address this very exciting topic at critical time when Fintech is driving change and rapid transformation of the investment sector. Bahrain remains both a leader in Fintech innovation and financial services overall and were proud to host this event with the support of the Central Bank of Bahrain and our many industry partners. We look forward to another exciting year of developments ahead for the industry and anther IFID Forum in 2023 to gauge progress and support industry collaboration and dialogue.”
IFID 2022 was also backed by Strategic Partner Tamkeen and Insurance Partner Solidarity.