While Islamic finance has expanded rapidly and impressively in recent years, it can be easy to forget that while we are approaching the mainstream we remain a niche industry compared to the broader global financial markets. However big we grow, there will always be new markets to conquer, new achievements to attain and new sectors to enter. This week we focus on the exciting opportunities facing the Islamic finance industry in 2015 – with a cover story that looks at the biggest move of all: the opening up of Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange to international investors. Could this really be the step the nation needs to launch itself into the global market as a major player – or will it remain a big fish in the small pond of the GCC?
Our IFN reports continue the theme of new beginnings and new horizons: with a look at the latest Islamic financing deal in Myanmar; along with Islamic financing within the oil and gas industry and at an exciting Islamic crowdfunding platform using Bitcoin. Our correspondents talk to you on Kenya, Sri Lanka, Bahrain and syndicated finance; while our feature contributes a look at commodities by Barwa Bank. We also have an exclusive analysis on global Sukuk yields by RHB Research and special reports on financial inclusion and Sukuk by ISRA and Millenia Global Research House respectively.
As the industry grows and opportunities grow with it, we can sometimes lose sight of the founding principles, paths and pioneers that brought us to where we are today. Here at IFN, as we gear up for the 2015 IFN Asia Forum being held in Kuala Lumpur soon, we look forward not only to exploring all the exciting steps forward but also celebrating the foundations that support this momentum. I look forward to seeing you there!