Following the success of the inaugural Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge and Awards (EFICA) in 2013, Thomson Reuters and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) have announced that the awards for the 2014 awards are now open for submission.
The awards fall into three categories, namely the Islamic Finance Industry Development Award, the Ethical Finance Initiative Award, and the Lifetime achievement award. They are designed to inspire real change in the financial services industry by recognizing and rewarding innovation that can be put into practice.
Entries are being accepted from any institution, research centre, or individual interested in shaping the finance industry within an ethical framework with prizes of up to $100,000 offered. The awards follow a rigorous and transparent selection process that features an advisory board, which includes scholars and financial experts.
Tirad Al Mahmoud, CEO of ADIB, said, “There is a hunger for more ethical and straight-forward banking in diverse markets. Innovation will be a driving force to bring us closer to meeting this demand and develop sustainable financial solutions that make a positive difference in the world. The EFICA awards aim to inspire this kind of innovation and honour people who are thinking creatively and working hard to improve current practices, and therefore to encourage progress across the industry.”
Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East, Africa and Russia / CIS, Thomson Reuters, said, “Thomson Reuters is proud to be organising this key initiative with our partner ADIB. We believe that as a good corporate citizen, we have a duty to demonstrate and exemplify ethics not only in our own actions, but also promote such initiatives to our banking and financial services customers, clients and stakeholders.”
Dr Sayd Farook, Global Head of Islamic Capital Markets at Thomson Reuters, added, “With more than $200 trillion of assets, the financial system has a disproportionate impact on the real economy. As such, influencing the ethical direction of the financial services industry can have a significant multiplier effect on the challenges facing the world.”
The awards drew significant interest last year from hundreds of individuals and institutions in 55 countries. A crowd funding organisation in Egypt and a UK-based Islamic financial advisory were selected as winners by a judging panel and the votes of 1000 delegates who attended the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) that took place in Dubai last November.
“We were pleased by the responses and the interest these awards aroused last year. We realized that the answers for a more ethical and sustainable banking environment are definitely out there if we look hard enough, and we urgently need to start putting them into practice,” added Tirad Al Mahmoud.
The first category of the awards, the Islamic Finance Industry Development Award, offers a prize of $100,000 and aims to stimulate a tangible change in the development of the Islamic financial services industry that remains true to its ethical foundations. Three specific challenge areas are pre-defined by an advisory board and candidates will need to identify and propose actionable solutions to overcome these challenges.
The challenges are as follows:
1.Develop an Islamic credit card
2.Develop Finance solutions for start ups
3.Develop cases / pitches that explain why Islamic finance is a viable, ethical and beneficial form of finance for customers and shareholders.
“The challenges reflect the requirements of the Islamic banking industry. It is time for the industry to focus on substance, rather than on form, and innovate to make products and services simple and straight forward. This will give us a universal appeal and drive future growth,” said Tirad Al Mahmoud.
The second award, the Ethical Finance Initiative Award, offers a prize of $50,000 and aims to recognize previously implemented initiatives that demonstrate how the ethical application of financial services can deliver a sustainable positive impact on the society or the environment.
The final award is a Lifetime Achievement Award that will be conferred on an individual who has made a significant contribution and impact in the ethical practice of financial services. Submissions for these three awards will be open from 5 June 2014 until 5 August 2014.
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