REITs, Sukuk, Capital Markets in spotlight at IFN Forum

Business Reporter –

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), as well as sharia-compliant investments in capital markets, investment banking, sukuk, and so on, are among a host of topics listed for deliberation at the IFN Oman Forum 2018 set to be held at the Grand Millennium Hotel, Muscat, on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
The daylong event, organised by RedMoney Events in collaboration with the Capital Market Authority (CMA), will open with keynote addresses by Abdullah Salim al Salim, Executive President — CMA, and Tahir Salim al Amri, Executive President — Central Bank of Oman (CBO). A keenly anticipated panel discussion will look on the sharia-compliant investment management environment in Oman with a particular focus on the new REITs regulatory framework and what it means for the burgeoning real estate market.
Moderated by Jeremy Ingham — Partner, Trowers and Hamlins, the panelists include: Kemal Rizadi Arbi — Expert/Adviser, Capital Market Authority (Oman); Mohammed Jalaluddin — Director and Vice-Chairman, Islamic and Ansar Co-operative Housing Corporations; Saifuddin Ahmed — Head of Asset Management, Al Madina Investment; Trevor Norman — Director, VG; and Zulhilmy Kamaruddin — Director, Group Client Coverage, Group Wholesale Banking, RHB Investment Bank.
Also on the agenda is a panel discussion that will offer an analysis of Islamic banking, finance and investment in Oman and how the recent and future development of Islamic retail banking, capital markets and Takaful can promote economic growth and expansion in the Sultanate.
Moderated by Karl Jackson — Director, Africa, India and Middle East, Risk Advisory Services, EY, the panelists include: Ahmad al Mamari – Vice-President, Insurance Sector, Capital Market Authority, Sultanate of Oman; Hasan Junaid Nasir — Head of Islamic Banking, Alhilal Islamic, Ahli Bank; Gautam Datta – CEO, National Takaful Company – Watania; Khalid Al Kayed — CEO, Bank Nizwa; Mohamed Said al Abri — Vice-President, Capital Market Sector, Capital Market Authority, Sultanate of Oman; and Sulaiman al Harthy — Deputy CEO, Meethaq Islamic Banking. As one of the last GCC nations to join its peers in tapping the Islamic finance industry, Oman has been the hotbed of interest in the GCC region for investors and corporates alike for almost half a decade now. The development of the Islamic finance and banking industry has been an important contributor to the country’s economic growth, with efforts to grow the sector being exercised frequently to compete with its neighbours, says RedMoney Events. Oman has had an impressive Islamic finance growth across multiple sectors in the past years. By the end of 2016, Sharia compliant shares worth RO 3.3 billion ($8.54 billion) represented 21.58 per cent of the total market capitalisation of shares listed on the Muscat Securities Market. Sukuk outstanding of RO 329.48 million ($852.92 million) took up 16.29 per cent of the total market value of the fixed income market.
In 2017, the sovereign issued its US dollar Sukuk, followed by the first Sukuk programme by Meethaq. Meanwhile, the Takaful market’s gross direct premiums of RO 42.06 million ($108.88 million) represented 9.3 per cent of the total insurance premiums in Oman. All these were achieved in about six years since Islamic finance was permitted in 2011 — a remarkable feat.