Half of all Muslims worldwide will deposit their money in Islamic banks by 2015 and an estimated 50 to 60 per cent of total savings of Muslims globally will be managed by Islamic financial institutions in Asia, according to specialists in Islamic banking at the 5th International Islamic Finance Conference in Malaysia.
Professor Dr Bala Shanmugam, one of the most respected commentators on Islamic finance, said there had been major growth in shariah-compliant financial service providers from just one in 1975 to more than 300 globally today. He added that global Islamic finance had grown rapidly over the last four years, with assets having quadrupled to almost $850 billion (RM2.98 trillion), partly due to oil-driven financial liquidity and increasingly savvy Muslim consumers seeking more Islamic financial products.
“The International Islamic Financial Services Board has predicted that assets managed under Islamic rules will almost triple to US$2.38 trillion by 2015. Islamic financial instruments have also grown tremendously with the sale of Sukuk growing nine times faster than conventional corporate bonds in 2006. Standard & Poor’s estimates that the Sukuk market has reached $70 billion and will top the $160 billion mark by the end of the decade,” he said.
“In Malaysia, Islamic financial market has entered into its next phase of development and is well-positioned to meet the ever increasing challenges of international competition and financial globalisation,” he said.
Professor Bala said that while 30-40 per cent of Islamic assets worldwide were now managed in Malaysia, it would be difficult to determine how much market share the country would have in 2015.
He said major western banks including UBS, HSBC, Barclays, Duetsche Bank, Paribas and Citigroup, recognising the rapid growth in Islamic finance, had created Islamic units or were becoming heavily involved in activities such as the underwriting of Sukuk in recent years.