Malaysia to host the summit to expand the footprint of responsible finance across emerging markets 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 15 December 2015:  Hosted by Bank Negara Malaysia, the inaugural Responsible Finance Summit will be held on 30 and 31 March, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur at Sasana Kijang- an iconic center for thought leadership in banking and finance.

The Summit is organized by RFI Foundation and co-organized by Middle East Global Advisors, two leading institutions spearheading the agenda of identifying Islamic finance within the broader responsible finance universe to capitalize on its unique aspects to make responsible finance more inclusive across the global population.

Under the theme of “Unlocking Finance, Expanding Impact”, the Summit will highlight emerging markets as the most important frontier for the expansion of the responsible finance industry. Discussions at the Summit will focus on 4 critical areas for the responsible finance industry:

  • Increasing footprint in emerging markets
  • Enhancing and measuring the impact of the industry
  • Furthering the depth and knowledge sharing between Islamic finance and responsible finance
  • Integrating responsible finance within global financial markets

The Summit aims to open dialogue and build bridges between traditional responsible finance that is mostly concentrated in developed financial markets and Islamic finance which has a stronger position within the future driver of global growth, emerging market economies. The connections built will support the expansion of responsible finance more fully across both developed and emerging markets.

Malaysia is an ideal backdrop for discussions on convergence within the industry due to its leading role in the development of Islamic finance as well as its pioneering initiatives to encourage crossovers between Islamic finance and responsible finance, including establishing a regulatory framework to support sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) sukuk.

Speaking ahead of the Summit, Professor Datuk Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, chairperson of the RFI Foundation Board of Trustees laid out the vision of RFI for organizing the Summit, he stated “We come from the proposition that responsible finance is Islamic finance and so closer cooperation can allow some of the unique features of Islamic finance to support a universal responsible finance proposition.  Working together, through research and awareness building, the RFI Foundation can help to strengthen the value proposition in support of equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.”

Speaking to the pivotal role of the Summit in helping to realize the vision of the foundation Professor Datuk Abdel Karim said: “The Responsible Finance Summit will advance our common efforts by connecting emerging and developed markets.”

The CEO of RFI Foundation, Blake Goud commented on the theme of the Summit, he stated ”Emerging financial markets can gain particular benefit from values-based responsible finance that supports inclusive economic growth.  Importantly, we are focused on identifying how the responsible finance proposition attract long-term investors whose participation will support financial system stability, an area where the contribution of Islamic finance is widely recognized including by organisations like the IMF and G-20”.

Mr. Goud further noted that “by establishing linkages with Islamic finance, developed market responsible asset managers can strengthen their presence in emerging markets. This will provide a key opportunity for them to maintain the growth trajectory that has allowed responsible finance to account for 30% of global financial assets today.”

Dr. Sayd Farook, CEO and Vice Chairman of Middle East Global Advisors stressed on the importance of enhancing the impact of responsible finance globally, he stated “Responsible finance has limited presence in the emerging markets and in order to increase the scope and scale of impact based finance globally it’s critical to expand into these markets”

Dr. Farook further said that “Middle East Global Advisors has been a leader in the emerging markets building awareness for values based finance and supporting its growth for the past 22 years though our financial intelligence platforms. We believe the Summit will further help us in realizing our vision of building a robust responsible finance industry and connecting the emerging markets with the developed ones by highlighting the similarities between Islamic finance and other areas of the responsible finance industry.”

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