Russia and the CIS: Realizing potential and exploring Islamic finance opportunities in a promising new market
Date: 15th March 2016 Venue: Renaissance Moscow Monarch Centre, Moscow
Conference Guide

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The active integration process in CIS markets towards the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union coupled with the increased awareness of Islamic finance in Russia and CIS countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan and Azerbaijan have spurred investor interest but locally as well as internationally. REDmoney Events in partnership with the Islamic Business and Finance Development Fund (IBFD Fund) will organize the IFN CIS & Russia Forum on the 15th March 2016 in Moscow.  The event is expected to draw market players and regulators from key Islamic finance markets globally and within Russia.



In the news

The Islamic Finance Forum has been held in the Russian capital to promote ties between Russia and the Eurasia region. Business and financial leaders say Iran will play a key role in creating economic opportunities in the region in the post-sanction era.
Credits: Press TV, Moscow

Presentations & Speeches



9.00 - 10.00
10:00 - 10:15
Welcome Remarks
Linar Yakupov — President, Islamic Business and Finance Development Fund (IBFD Fund) & President, The Association of Regional Investment Agencies
10:15 - 10:30
Keynote Address
Alexander Torshin Deputy Chairman, Central Bank of Russia
10:30 - 11:15
Roundtable One: Laying the Infrastructure for Islamic Banking in Russia and the CIS Region

Facilitating Growth: Role of Regulators and Market Players
  • Assessing current legal and tax barriers to structuring Shariah compliant deals
  • What is driving the push for Islamic finance in the region and what opportunities the new sector is to offer the market?
  • Continued support from tax authorities to provide for an equal playing field for Islamic and conventional capital-raising products is essential to develop the market: How can regulators better cooperate with the industry? What specific regulations/legislation will help develop regional Islamic finance agenda?
  • Possibility of a sovereign or benchmark Sukuk issuance: Will sovereign Sukuk boost the sector in the region?
  • What impact will the development of Islamic finance have on the proposed Eurasian Economic Union?
  • How will Islamic finance activity facilitate the development of Russia’s resources in oil and gas, energy, agriculture and the Halal industry?

Inauguration of Islamic Banking

  • Examining the banking industry landscape in the CIS region and Russia: What foundation exists for the introduction of Islamic finance to the greater region?
  • Assessing recent progress in laying legislative infrastructure for Islamic banking in Russia and the CIS region
  • What role could CIS countries with already established Islamic financial institutions play and what lessons could be drawn from their experience?
  • Branding and capital injection: Should these newly established Shariah compliant financial institutions be branded as Islamic, alternative, ethical or otherwise? Or, should established conventional banks simply take the path of setting up Islamic banking windows? Starting with small capital or ride on the existing liquidity of the conventional parent bank?
  • How should the region position itself in the increasingly competitive Islamic finance market? What are its inherent advantages and limitations?
Moderator: Linar Yakupov — President, Islamic Business and Finance Development Fund (IBFD Fund) and President, The Association of Regional Investment Agencies
Panelists: Aidyn Tairov — Member of the Management Board/ Financial Director, Al Hilal Bank, Kazakhstan
Alexander Torshin — Deputy Chairman, Central Bank of Russia
Aleksey Kuznetsov — Partner, Head of Corporate Tax Services in CIS, EY
Alina Vetrova — Vice-President, Association of Regional Banks of Russia, Member of the Board and Head of the Center of the Banking System
Behnam Gurbanzade —Managing Partner, FBSCo, Azerbaijan
Dmitry Savelyev — Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Financial Markets (leader of IF task force)
Elena Gupalo — Chairman, Zaman Bank
Elman Mekhtiev — Executive Vice-President, Association of Russian Banks
Ghassan Chammas — Islamic Finance and Banking Director, Capital Intelligence
Roustam Vakhitov — Managing Partner, International Tax Associates
Sergey Glazyev — 
Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor
S.M. Moniruzzaman — Executive Director, Bangladesh Bank
Victor Chetverikov — CEO, National Rating Agency
12:00 - 12:30
Coffee & Networking
12:30 - 12:50
Feasibility Study Results Presentation
Professor Barjoyai Bardai —  Project Director for Islamic Finance, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia
12:50 - 13:00
Presentation: Capturing the Opportunity for CIS and Russia: What Have We Learnt so far from the growth of Islamic Finance around the world?
Paul McViety – Legal Director, Head of Islamic Finance, DLA Piper, the UAE
13:00 - 14:30
Roundtable Two: Shariah-compliant Capital Raising and Increasing Regional Appeal to Islamic Investors

Shariah compliant Capital-Raising

  • Dissecting the Sukuk market and credit risk analysis
  • How can Shariah financing assist in sovereign capital-raising and infrastructure projects? What needs to be done for this to happen?
  • Examining project financing in the region via syndicated deals
  • Structures and models in the use of Islamic finance in public-private partnership ventures
  • Assessing the potential of alternative assets and its suitability to Shariah compliant financing
  • Opportunity for cross-border trade finance through Islamic finance
  • Alternative funding strategies: What options are open to corporate issuers in Russia and the CIS region? How can Russia’s SMEs benefit from Shariah compliant capital-raising products? How to make potential corporate issuances in the region attractive to foreign investors?

Attracting Inward Investment

  • Investing in Russia and the CIS region in comparison to other Islamic finance destinations: costs, legal considerations, opportunities and sectors. What investment climate should exist in Russia in order to attract more foreign capital?
  • What role Islamic finance can play in attracting foreign investment?
  • Which sectors and asset classes are likely to attract foreign Islamic investors?
  • Utilizing a cross-border distribution strategy for fund products
  • Outlook for real estate investment in Russia and CIS states
Moderator: Hitesh Asarpota — Director and Head, Debt Capital Markets, Emirates NBD Capital, UAE
Panelists: Abdutalip Sultanov — President and the Chairman of the Board, Kyrgyz Stock Exchange, Kyrgyzstan
Ahmed Galal Eldin Ibrahim
 Chairman, Al Galal Group
Alexander Kazakov  Head of Structuring, Eurasian Development Bank 
Aydar Mukhametzyanov
— Managing Director, Investment Business and International Banking, AK BARS Bank
Dmitry Dembich 
 Partner, Baker & McKenzie 
Elena Redko 
 Analyst, Moody’s Investors Service, Russia 
Elnur Aliyev 
 Manager, Corporate and Structured Finance, ITFC, IDB Group 
Evgeniya Vinokurova 
 Head of Alternative Finance Division, Vnesheconombank 
Faris Al Amoudi  Associate, White & Case, UAE
Farmida Bi  Head of Islamic Finance – Europe, Norton Rose Fulbright, UK
Philip Lamzin 
 Legal Director, DLA Piper, Russia 
Roman Rybalkin
 Credit Rating Analyst, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services 
Vladislav Zabrodin 
 Managing Partner, Capital Legal Services
End of the Forum