Forum seeks ways to develop Brunei’s Islamic finance industry

|     Achong Tanjong     |

OVER the last 25 years, Brunei has gone from zero to representing 65 per cent of domestic banking. Moreover, Brunei has now been developed with the intention of providing its people with a viable alternative financial system which is Syariah compliant.

These were revealed by forum Chair, Associate Professor Dr Abu Umar Faruq Ahmad, Head of Universiti Brunei Darussalam School of Business and Economics (UBDSBE), at the closing ceremony of the one-day Brunei Islamic Banking and Finance Forum (BIBFF) 2018 at UBD.

He said UBD organised the forum to reflect back at the history, developments and current achievements, and to deliberate the future direction of the industry, with the theme ‘The 25 years of Islamic Banking and Finance in Brunei’.

The forum also was aimed at promoting research, development and publication activities in the field of Islamic banking and finance in the context of Brunei Darussalam.

The Islamic banking and financial institutions in Brunei are among the only Islamic institutions globally that lead its national industry.

There are potential opportunities for Brunei to become a hub of Islamic finance, given His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s emphasis on Halal branding, especially in terms of management of Sukuk, the Islamic securities in the country.

He also expressed his thanks and appreciation to the leadership of His Majesty which has driven Brunei’s vision to be a leading Halal economy.

He also thanked the keynote speaker Professor Dato Dr Azmi Omar, President/ CEO, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for sharing his scholarly views on both the practical and innovative developments of the Islamic finance industry in Brunei.

The forum saw four panel discussion sessions which explored a plethora of significant topics related to Islamic banking and finance in Brunei under four key themes; Islamic Finance in Brunei, History, Performance and Future Outlook; Governance and Regulatory Framework for Islamic Finance in Brunei; Islamic Finance and Socio-economic Development; and Islamic Capital Markets.

He hoped the forum will act as a platform of acquiring knowledge for all of the participants and enrich experiences to contribute positively in strengthening the industry in the future to a new height.

He also hoped every participant and the stakeholder benefitted from the outcome of the forum and looked forward to having more research collaboration, in relation to Islamic banking and finance industry in Brunei Darussalam.