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Microfinance Can Be New Focus In Islamic Finance    
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Source: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 (Bernama) -- Microfinance can be the new focus in Islamic finance as industry players are looking at news avenues to channel excess liquidity in the system, says an industry expert.

Yavar Moini, Head of Islamic Banking, Morgan Stanley, United Arab Emirates, said it was possible to develop a syariah-based microfinance product.

However, efforts must be made to study demand and the viability of that segment before any industry player decide to venture into it, he said during a question-and-answer session at the Global Business Leaders Forum 2010 here Tuesday.

Moini was a panelist at a plenary session which discussed Islamic products and finance as an emerging international brand.

Other panelists included Khazanah Nasional Bhd Executive Director of Investments Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof and Amanie Islamic Finance Consultancy and Education LLC Managing Director Dr Mohd Daud Bakar.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Rashdan said Khazanah aspired to become a prime mover in Islamic finance by adopting Islamic principles in doing business, for example raising funds through sukuk issuance.

Besides, he said, Khazanah Nasional also requested government-linked companies (GLCs), under its stewardship, to adopt Islamic principles in their business activities for example in raising funds through Islamic instruments.

Mohammed Rashdan cited the success of Khazanah Nasional's 5-year and 10-year 1.5 billion Singapore dollar-denominated (SGD) sukuk in August, which demonstrated its commitment towards becoming a prime mover in Malaysian Islamic finance.

The SGD sukuk was the largest and longest termed sukuk issuance in Singapore, the largest SGD issuance by a foreign issuer in Singapore and the first SGD sukuk issuance out of the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre initiative.

About 250 participants, comprising industry players and policy makers, mostly from Commonwealth countries, attended the two-day forum which ended today.

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