In exploring Islamic finance as a viable alternative to the conventional financial system, Korean public service television broadcaster, KBS Global has interviewed INCEIF’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Agil Natt on the development of Islamic finance and the roles of INCEIF in developing the industry.
In an exclusive television interview in Kuala Lumpur today, he said that Islamic finance had gained acceptance around the world as a form of ethical investing and the potential to tap excess liquidity from the Middle East.
According to Mr Agil, the Islamic finance sector, compatible with the Shariah law based on the holy Quran, the Hadith or the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the consensus of Islamic clerics, was now worth between US0 and US0 billion, compared with US0 billion two years ago.
“The consideration of Islamic finance is a new development in the financial world and this is noticeable not only in Muslim countries but also in non-Muslim countries,” he said pointing out that Japan would the first major industrialized country to issue Islamic bonds. He also explained that even conventional banks had moved to open Islamic branches, created Shariah-compliant subsidiaries, windows or underwent complete conversions to become fully Shariah compliant.
“These include the large financial institutions, to name some, the Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS and ABN Amro,” he said.
From the Malaysian perspective, he said the rapid pace of Islamic finance development had taken place in an environment of strengthening economic growth that was underpinned by strong fundamentals. Solid infrastructures including the financial markets, institutions and agencies as well as establishing the necessary regulatory and supervisory frameworks have also been developed in the country.
“Islamic finance in Malaysia has flourished with the strong supports from the government and Bank Negara Malaysia,” he said, highlighting that the establishment of INCEIF itself was initiated by Bank Negara Malaysia with an endowment fund of about US7 million as an investment in human capital.
Mr Agil stressed that human capital played a pivotal role in driving the performance and market competitiveness of the industry. He added that the fast pace of innovation in global financial services in general and in the Islamic financial services sector in particular, would demand new expertise and skills.
In meeting the objective of providing a total talent management solution for the Islamic financial services industry, he pointed out that INCEIF offered the world’s first certification on Islamic finance, the Certified Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP) programme. Moving on further, he added that INCEIF would soon offer various Masters and PhD programmes.
Explaining further on INCEIF’s CIFP programme, he said the CIFP modules offered had been designed by renowned experts of their respective fields and had been developed in full consultation with local and international industry players in order to ensure their relevance to the requirements of the industry.
With a vision to be the KNOWLEDGE LEADER IN ISLAMIC FINANCE, Mr Agil reiterated that INCEIF would always strive to be an innovator and discoverer of Islamic finance. He added that while aiming to be the Center of Excellence for Islamic finance education, INCEIF would be the point of reference in the field of Islamic finance education including research and knowledge repository for the industry.
The exclusive interview will be featured in a documentary, focusing on the Korean economy with an introductory slot on Islamic finance. Scheduled in January 2007, the program can be viewed at www.kbs.co.kr.
KBS Global was incorporated as Kyeongseong Broadcasting Corporation in 1920 and was changed to Korean Broadcasting System in 1960. The Seoul-based public broadcasting agency transmits all its programs nation-wide including certain parts in China, Hong Kong and Japan.