Aston to host major Islamic Finance conference

Islamic finance for corporate UK conference
Dr Omneya Abdelsalam, Director of El Shaarani Centre for Islamic Business and Finance (EIBF); Mr Michael McMillen; Mr Wouter Schuitemaker, from Business Birmingham
7 June 2011

One of the world’s most eminent speakers on Islamic Finance is to address industry experts and senior business leaders from across the country at a major conference at Aston Business School next week (Thursday 16 June 2011).

Michael McMillen, a world-renowned and award-winning Islamic Finance lawyer, who was the founding Chair of the American Bar Association Islamic Finance Committee, among his many other distinguished roles, has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the one-day conference.

The conference, themed Islamic Finance for Corporate UK, is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. It is expected to bring together chief executives and senior managers from leading mainstream British and European companies, as well as Islamic bankers and practitioners, to explore new funding opportunities using alternative methods of finance.

The whole-day event aims to raise awareness of the potential benefits and advantages Islamic Finance can bring to British and European firms. In addition, it aims to demystify Islamic Finance for corporate decision makers, while giving them the opportunity to discuss their business needs directly with Islamic bankers and practitioners.

The event has been organised by The El Shaarani Research Centre for Islamic Business and Finance (EIBF) at Aston Business School, in partnership with Advantage West Midlands, Business Birmingham, Islamic Finance Advisory & Assurance Services (IFAAS) and Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB).

The EIBF Centre, which celebrated its first anniversary earlier this year, is the first of its kind in Europe and the biggest centre for Islamic finance outside the Middle East and Malaysia.

Dr Omneya Abdelsalam, Director of the EIBF Centre at Aston Business School, said:

“I am delighted that Mr Michael McMillen has accepted our invitation to be the keynote speaker. His work in Islamic Finance is world-renowned and to have him come to our great city of Birmingham is an honour to us all.”

Dr Abdelsalam added:

“Through the Centre, we are continuing to educate the next generation of Islamic economists and business leaders – both nationally and internationally. Our research has enabled us to study how mainstream financial institutions can learn from Islamic finance practices in their recovery and avoidance of the next global economic crisis.”

Mr McMillen will deliver a presentation entitled ‘Islamic finance and the financial needs of European Corporate – a misfit or a strategic fit?’

The second keynote speaker, Emad Yousuf Al Monayea, Managing Director and CEO of Liquidity Management House, will also give a talk entitled ’Islamic Financial Instruments – a real alternative.

The event will be opened by Aston University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Julia King, followed by a welcome address from Professor John Edwards, Executive Dean of Aston Business School. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anita Ward, will also be attending.

Other speakers at the event include Wouter Schuitemaker, Investment Director at Business Birmingham, who believes Birmingham is “the ideal location to host this exciting event.”

Mr Schuitemaker said:

“As one of the largest financial and business services centres outside London, it makes perfect sense to host this conference in Birmingham. The city’s long-established financial services sector and its growing reputation as a centre for Islamic finance, has remained robust throughout the economic turmoil of the last few years and has been identified as a key driver in economic growth – on a local, national and international level. Business Birmingham is encouraging business leaders from UK and European corporates, to take full advantage of the extensive opportunities which will be highlighted at this unique event.”

The EIBF Centre has been developed as a result of a £1.5 million grant from Surgi-Tech, a Dubai-based firm, and aims to establish Birmingham as the centre for Islamic Finance in the UK. It has been named after Dr El Shaarani, the director of Surgi-Tech.

The EIBF Centre offers a suite of qualifications on Islamic Finance which include MSc, PhD and executive programmes. In addition, it is a prestigious hub for research into Islamic finance and Shariah-compliant business and provides an advisory service to the government and the commercial sector.

In 2010, the actual global size of the Islamic financial industry was equal to $1 trillion and the Muslim community is estimated to account for 20 per cent of the global population.

Anyone wishing to attend, or for more information, please contact Patricia Bradshaw in the Events Office on 0121 204 3297 or email

For all media enquiries contact Dhiren Katwa at Aston Business School, on 0121 204 4954 or email

Speaker profiles

Michael McMillen

Michael McMillen is a member of the New York bar and has practiced law in the field of Islamic finance since 1996 and in the field of project finance since 1983. He has been a partner at major international law firms.  He also teaches Islamic finance at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Wharton School of Business. Michael was the founding Chair and has served multiple terms as Chair of and Senior Advisor to the American Bar Association Islamic Finance Committee. He has twice received Euromoney’s award for Best Legal Advisor in Islamic Finance (Global). Michael has also received the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Best Islamic Finance Legal Advisor for North America and for Special Contributions to Islamic Finance. Michael received his Doctor of Medicine from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1983, his Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin School of Law in 1976, and his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin in 1972.

Emad Yousuf Al Monayea

Emad Yousuf is the Vice Chairman, Managing Director and the Chief Executive Officer of Liquidity Management House. Emad has more than 25 years of experience in investments and corporate finance, in both government and private sectors and currently holds important board positions in several key companies. Joining the Kuwait Finance House (KFH) in 1999 Emad held the position of Head of the International Investment Department which was responsible for international banking services. During his time with KFH, the organisation won various international awards in the corporate and investment banking arena. Recently, KFH entrusted Emad in establishing Liquidity House with the mandate to evolve as a Sukuk House. Prior to joining KFH, Emad worked for Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the investment arm of the Kuwait Government, for 15 years, where he was instrumental in setting-up the Direct Investment Department of KIA.

Wouter Schuitemaker

Previously Head of Asia Pacific for Think London, the capital’s inward investment agency, Wouter works with investors to identify opportunities for them to locate and grow in Birmingham. Business Birmingham is the city’s inward investment programme.