بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
Assalaamu Alaikum and a very good morning!
Assistant Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia, YBhg En. Marzunisham bin Omar, President & CEO, INCEIF, Dato’ Dr. Azmi Omar, Dato, Datin, Professors, respected speakers and delegates.
I give you a warm welcome to the Islamic Fintech Dialogue 2017 organized by International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA). We are delighted to have you here to participate in this event. This is a first of its kind event for ISRA, where Shariah intellectuals are engaging not only with Islamic finance stakeholders but with technology experts. Some of our participants have travelled from abroad to attend this event, so we welcome you to Malaysia.
One of ISRA’s objectives is to provide a platform for greater engagement between practitioners, scholars, regulators and academicians on issues related to Islamic finance. We do this via research and dialogue in both the domestic and international arenas. By promoting rigorous intellectual dialogue, ISRA aims to encourage Shari’ah compliance, innovation and dynamism of the global Islamic finance industry. Therefore, ISRA is opening its mind to the various inventions and innovations that are swiftly manifesting in the financial world in general and the Islamic finance industry in particular. The importance of this emerging trend is reflected in the rapid spread of the term “fintech”, short for financial technology.
Technology has been transforming financial services for a long time. The telegraph, a 19th century invention, made it possible to wire money between countries. The ATM made it possible to conduct many transactions with human tellers. Online banking let people do that and more without leaving home. That kind of technology has made banking more convenient.
But there seems to be something different about the new fintech. Some people say it poses existential challenges to banking. How much of that is hype and how much is reality? What are the challenges and opportunities? Given the accelerating pace of technological change, innovations can transform our lives before most of us know what’s happening. It is high time for the Islamic finance industry and all its stakeholders, including Shari’ah scholars, regulators, policy makers, and industry players, to get familiar with this new wave of change and explore its implications. That would be the first step to harnessing the potential of fintech and using it for the advancement and benefit of Islamic finance around the globe. This is in line with the hadith of the Prophet:
الْكَلِمَةُ الْحِكْمَةُ ضَالَّةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ فَحَيْثُ وَجَدَهَا فَهُوَ أَحَقُّ بِهَا
“The wise saying is the lost property of the believer, so wherever he finds it then he has a right to it”
Many people are eager to have to acquire knowledge about fintech, particularly from Shari’ah and Islamic finance aspects; hence the importance of this event. We are not here to pass rulings and verdicts. We have a steep learning curve ahead of us before that. We’re here today to share and explore views for greater collaboration and development. We hope this event will be a great opportunity to hear from key experts on the latest trends in Islamic fintech. We expect to hear diverse views and experiences covering a wide range of interesting topics such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, crowdfunding, smart contracts, robo-advisory, microfinance, entrepreneurship and others.
We’re pleased at the overwhelming response from our participants to this event. Due to full subscription, many people who wanted to attend, unfortunately, couldn’t be here. In sha Allah, we are looking forward to organizing future programs on the growing area of fintech to meet the high demand.
So now prepare yourselves to benefit and get inspired by today’s event. We want to say once more, welcome. And we are looking forward to fruitful discussions and enlightening sessions ahead.
Thank you. Wassalaam.