IFN Singapore Forum gathered influential Islamic finance thought leaders to debate how Singapore can fully utilise its competitive advantages to shape itself as a regional and international centre of Sharia’a finance excellence.
At the event, Lawrence Oliver, Director and Deputy CEO of DDCAP, moderated the panel focusing on ‘Financing, Fund and Capital-Raising in Singapore: Islamic Options’ where the panel assessed the diversification of funding for corporates and the potential for Islamic financing arrangements. Further to this the panel discussed the potential for Sukuk issuance and identified what steps should be taken to deepen domestic and regional secondary markets and increase the tradability of such Instruments.
The half-day event was very well attended with many established attendees such as Sazali Baharom (Country Manager for Singapore, CIMB) featuring greatly. Baharom has been positive recently regarding Singapore’s potential, commenting that “In terms of regulations, Singapore does have the right ingredients in terms of flexibility and clear regulations.”, whilst also citing the country’s geographical location and conventional finance position (www.straitstimes.com, OCT 5, 2018,)
A common theme of the event was the need to incentivise entry into the Islamic finance market. Many attendees supported the idea that Singapore should follow Malaysia’s example of implementing industry incentives.
The event coincided with the launch of a new Sharia’a -compliant index – FTSE ST Singapore Shariah Index- launched by FTSE Russell, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH)) that will serve as a benchmark for Sharia’a -compliant funds looking to invest in the city-state. It is thought that the index could carve a path for more Sharia’a -compliant products to be created, with the first foray into Islamic financing not having quite taken off several years previously.