1st Dialogue Session: Global Islamic Fintech Ecosystem: Integration or Decentralization

 Islamic fintech start-ups exist in ecosystems and are supported by hubs. These hubs offer start-ups and innovators financial support, infrastructure, access to regulators, mentorship, networks and financial lab opportunities. However, the Islamic fintech ecosystem is not connected globally, and in some cases is not even connected at the local level. There are uneven rates of development of ecosystems across jurisdictions. This session will discuss whether there is a need for integration of the Islamic fintech globally—or is decentralization, with a focus on developing local activities, needed to build a strong connected ecosystem?


2nd Dialogue Session: How to Secure Your 1st Million Dollar Funding


A number of fintech start-ups show great promise and are quickly earning rising market valuations. Some of these companies have grown, or will grow, to become valued at billions of dollars. Start-ups in the fintech space fall into either a business-to-consumer sales model (B2C) or business-to-business model (B2B). While each model has its own challenges, they are both confronted with the same funding challenge.


Raising angel or venture capital financing is never easy for fintech companies. Investors will raise a number of key questions in their due diligence process, such as: What problem in the financial process is the company’s solution looking to solve? Is there a qualified management team? Is the market opportunity big?


This session will touch on some of these key questions to better understand what it takes to get a piece of the pie in the investment world.


3rd Dialogue Session: Direct, Neo or Challenger: How are Islamic Digital Banks & Takaful Emerging? 

In the global digital banking space, ‘neo banks’ and ‘challenger banks’ are being touted as the next big thing. So is insur-tech in the takaful scene. However, the ‘direct banks’ are not giving in as they too have evolved from ‘traditional banks’. Neo banks (like Monzo and Atom Bank) are completely digital banks that have no physical presence. They reach out to customers via mobile apps, APIs and web platforms. Challenger banks (Chime, Simple) are FinTech that have leveraged technology to streamline retail banking and operate with full banking licenses. Direct banks are the traditional banks that have evolved with digital banking offerings. Globally, the neo and challenger banks have been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of about 46% and are expected to reach US$356 Million by 2025.  The insurance industry is not as aggressive as the banking industry, but there have been a few interesting technological advancements in the industry.

While these concepts are relatively new to Islamic fintech, there is some positive momentum building in the Islamic finance space on digital banking and takaful. An emerging trend shows some activities in this regard from both regulators and market players in various Islamic finance jurisdictions. The regulatory authority in Malaysia has issued a framework to support the development of Islamic digital banks and Islamic digital takaful.


4th Dialogue Session: Artificial intelligence and Robo-Advisory: How Realistic is Their Application in Shariah Assurance and Islamic Wealth Management?


Robo advising has made a rather large impact on the global financial sector. Since its emergence about a decade ago, it has built up a reputation as an efficient and low-cost investment management solution. As of 2018, robo advisors managed an estimated $257 billion worth of assets globally, a number that is expected to increase to half a trillion by 2023.

Robo-Advisors are simply algorithm-based platforms that leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI & ML) to help clients manage their investment portfolios without the involvement of a human ‘relationship manager’. They replicate cognitive decisions made by humans yet avoid some of the behavioural biases inherent in humans on investment decisions.

Slowly, given the track record of the platforms and the transparency and low fees/commissions charged, robo-advisory services began attracting Shariah-compliant investors; hence, the emergence of Shariah robo advisors.

This session will discuss how effective Shariah robo advising actually is. After all, robo advisors are unthinking machines, so how could they grasp the subtle nuances and Shariah intuition that go into successful Shariah-compliant investing? On the other hand, how will the rise of robo advisors affect traditional Islamic wealth management firms? Will leveraging on artificial intelligence be a key factor for the way forward?


5th Dialogue Session: Islamic Social Fintech to Boost the Halal Economy Post Pandemic World – What’s to Come?


The global fintech ecosystem is worth more than USD 127 billion, employing thousands of people and generating new sources of revenue for economies worldwide. In 2020, the importance of fintech has been compounded by the role digital payments can play in curtailing the spread of COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic represents a turning point for the global payments industry as digital wallets gain traction worldwide, particularly with the younger demographic. In the global halal economy, COVID-19 has disrupted the life of everyone, from the leader of the country to the vendor on the street corner.

In the global halal economy, COVID-19 has impacted the shift from card payments at POS terminals to contactless digital wallets, both in-store and online. The increasing pace of the Islamic social fintech initiatives post-COVID-19 has increased digital financial activities in the halal economy.

This session will look at the role of Islamic social fintech in supporting those that are heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the roles of the Islamic social fintech in facilitating and driving the halal economy.


Open Dialogue Session – Islamic Fintech Outlook: What Future Do We Foresee?

The 3rd IFD closes with an open brainstorming session, the goal of which is to identify the important questions and issues raised through the series of dialogues and to paint a picture of what is to come for development of the Islamic fintech industry. The session is open to the majority of the speakers, who will actively engage the audience on the outlook of the Islamic fintech industry.