Islamic finance is experiencing challenges on multiple fronts. In a changing industry practice and regulation, development and retention of talent is impacting on innovations and pattern of growth. Additionally, Islamic financial services (IIFS) are realizing that their risk management functions may not be as effective as they should be thus impacting shareholder value.
Due to such major issues currently affecting Islamic finance practices, the Deloitte Islamic Finance Knowledge Center (IFKC) in the Middle East and the Islamic Research & Training Institute (IRTI), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group held recently two workshops, in Manama, Bahrain, targeting different industry practitioners, investors and issuers on the topics of risk governance and talent development in Islamic Finance.
“Risk management in Islamic Finance is one of the major concerns faced by all industry practitioners, as the numerous types of risks faced by Islamic banks – Sharia compliance, liquidity, credit, operational and regulatory risks – all have a significant impact on the business sustainability and going concern” said Joe El Fadl, financial services industry leader at Deloitte Middle East. “As such, the board’s risk oversight role is critical in providing clarity in the direction of strong risk mitigating controls”.
The first workshop entitled: “Strengthening Risk Governance in Islamic Finance,” addressed the challenges that need to be faced to strengthen risk governance in Islamic Finance. The program enabled better understanding and appreciation for the necessity of a well-equipped risk and corporate governance function. Another objective of the program was to discuss and provide practical insights to successfully structure and manage an effective risk governance strategy, and to strengthen risk management strategies and methods to comply with regulatory and self-regulatory requirements.
“The Islamic Finance industry has been in operations for more than 40 years. Yet the industry lacks risk management standards, risk assessment and risk mitigation tools needed for it to compete on a level playing field with traditional banks. This workshop addressed these issues and provided participants with best practices learned from leading Islamic banks,” said Professor Mohammad Azmi Omar, Director General of the IRTI.
The second workshop, entitled: “Talent Development in Islamic Finance” tackled the development and retention of talent in a changing industry. The workshop discussed issues regarding quantity and quality of workforce in financial industry and ways to enhance talent development, and how Islamic finance industry practitioners can play a role in contributing to industry growth.
“The Deloitte, FAA and IRTI executive workshop on talent development in Islamic Finance is timely in addressing the challenges facing by the global Islamic finance workforce. FAA is pleased with the level of participation and interaction from various stakeholders and hopes similar platforms are organised in other parts of the world to further strengthen the effort to develop world class talent in the Islamic financial services industry,” said Dr. Amat Taap Manshor, CEO, Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA), an international and independent quality assurance and accreditation body supported by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia.
“We had very interactive discussions in both workshops; participants expressed their opinions in a highly professional way and made constructive criticism to representatives of regulatory and standard setters’ bodies. Our main objective was to create a friendly dialogue environment between the regulators, standard setters and practitioners to agree on issues of differences and difficulties in the practice,” said Dr. Hatim El Tahir, Director of the Deloitte Islamic Finance Knowledge Center.