Amana Global partners Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia

Friday, 8 July 2011 03:29 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Amana Global, a fully owned subsidiary of Amana Takaful PLC has signed an MoU with the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia (IBFIM) in a bid to build capacity in the Islamic Finance industry. The signing event took place in Colombo recently in the presence of educationists and Human Resource professionals from the industry.

From Left: Fawas Farook, General Manager, Amana Global Limited; Ehsan Zaheed, Director, Amana Global Limited; Tyeab Akbarally, Chairman, Amana Global Limited; Dato. Dr. Adnan Alias, CEO, IBFIM; Dato. Mohamed Fadzli Yusof, Director, First International Consultants; and Munshif Hussain, Course Director, Amana Global Limited at the official signing of the MoU between Amana Takaful and IBFIM

The move to launch such a programme was driven by the emerging need for industry specific knowledge in the field of Islamic Finance in Sri Lanka. At present there is a dearth of professional services available to satisfy the demand. “As the pioneers of the subject (Islamic Finance) in Sri Lanka we thought it was apt to leverage our links with Malaysia to bring the best in education and coaching to the island for the benefit of all parties. Moreover, Malaysia has been in the forefront of the development of Islamic Finance and is known to be a hub for industry best practices and knowledge on the topic,” said Fawas Farook, General Manager, Amana Global Limited. “We have also sought a facilitator to make this partnership work and thus brought in First International Consultancy (Malaysia), which possesses a wealth of experience in propagating Islamic Finance learning,” he added.

In the initial stage Amana Global, together with IBFIM, will offer short term courses for public audiences and corporate entities. Customised programs or modules will be the distinct advantage of the initial stage. “We believe this approach will best suit the present need for learning and application due to higher levels of interaction and dealing with issues that are client specific,” Farook said.

Islamic Finance is gaining momentum in the Island since Amana Investment first began operations in 1995. Today, many conventional Banking and Finance companies have boldly moved into offer Shari’ah based solutions, highlighting the growing acceptance of Islamic Finance as a viable option for businesses and individuals alike in the long term. However, the availability of competent people and required knowledge to steer companies needs attention. “We believe there is much capacity to be built to take Islamic Finance forward through learning and practice. This is what we hope to achieve stemming from our pioneering thinking,” said Farook.

Speaking from a Shari’ah perspective Ash Sheik Murshid Mulafer, who is an active member of many Shari’ah councils in Sri Lanka including Amana Takaful, stressed the importance of acquiring and building adequate and relevant knowledge before entering into any business. Islamic Finance is little more than a decade old in Sri Lanka and is growing rapidly, but unfortunately there exists a vacuum of professionals with knowledge and practice in the field. “A sound foundation is essential for managers and leaders to appreciate the intention of Islamic Finance and achieve its true objectives”, he said. He pointed out that without sufficient understanding at first it would be difficult to progress due to many ongoing challenges faced by the industry.

IBFIM is a well-established institution in Malaysia designated as an industry-owned and regulator linked institute dedicated to producing well-trained, highly competent personnel and executives with the required talent in Islamic Finance. Its mandate stems from the Financial Sector Master Plan of Bank Negara, Malaysia (Sri Lankan equivalent of Central Bank) to increase the pool of Bankers and Takaful operators who are knowledgeable and competent in the country. Since 2001, IBFIM has been conducting training programs as well as extending business and Shari’ah advisory services. As a market leader, IBFIM’s certification programs are developed, moderated and recognised by the industry. The programmes cover four disciplines: banking, takaful, capital market and wealth management. IBFIM’s Islamic Finance Qualifications are mapped out in an innovative Progression Route which in itself is a motivation for industry personnel to enhance their competencies in moving up the corporate ladder.

Speaking at the event the Chief Executive Officer of IBFIM, Dato Dr. Adnan Alias explained that besides the highly sought after courses mentioned above they also offer a course titled Certified Islamic Finance Qualification (CIFQ) through a progression route where there are four membership levels namely Associate Member, Member, Associate Fellow and Fellow. According to him Students can specialise in a chosen field such as banking, takaful, capital market and wealth management, thus providing an ideal platform for students and professionals to sharpen their skills and develop a sound career in Islamic Finance.

Amana Global is a BIO approved venture, established to provide advisory services in the field of Islamic finance both locally and internationally. One of the key objectives of Amana Global Limited is to educate the corporate segment on Islamic Finance on several perspectives such as Shari’ah guidelines, operational aspects and product structures. Presently Amana Global has two subsidiaries under its wing namely Amana Takaful Maldives PLC which is to be the first listed insurance provider in the Maldives, and Amana Asset Management Limited which publishes the White List on a weekly basis in addition to managing a significant portfolio of assets. In the near future Amana Global is also looking forward to venture into stock brokering in Shari’ah compliant stocks in Maldives in partnership with a licensed stock broker in the country.