Today CFA Institute and CFA Society Emirates, the local UAE member society of CFA Institute, hosted a presentation at the Ritz Carlton in Dubai to share new global and local insights on the concept of sustainability in Islamic finance and conventional sustainable, responsible, and impact investing.
Journalists were invited to a presentation by Usman Hayat, CFA, FRM, EMEA content director at CFA Institute, and Amer Khansaheb, CFA, president of CFA Society Emirates. The presentation addressed the meaning of sustainability in finance and investing with practical examples and attendees were challenged to consider how businesses are being financed and run in the context of environmental, social, and governance issues.
Islamic finance and sustainable, responsible, and impact investing both have some obvious similarities in their objectives (do good; avoid harm), methods (e.g., exclusionary screening) and claims (such as emphasis on ethics). There is, however, limited collaboration between the two. Historically, conventional ethical finance has been paving the ground for Islamic finance. Many developments in Islamic finance, from setting up an Islamic index to use of mutuality in Takaful, were influenced by similar developments in conventional ethical finance. In fact the very first Islamic finance initiative in Mitt Ghamar in Egypt in 1960s was influenced by German mutual. This trend is continuing, for instance, the rise in interest in issuing green sukuk has come after conceptualization of green bonds.
The competition for resources, changing demographics, climate change, and economic globalization are major drivers for the growing interest for sustainability in finance and investing. In this context, Usman Hayat, CFA argued that grater collaboration with conventional sustainable and responsible investing represents an opportunity for Islamic finance, particularly for the ambitions of Dubai in establishing itself as a global centre of Islamic finance. Reaching out to thought leaders and international bodies working in sustainable, responsible, and impact investing will enrich the knowledge and practice of Islamic finance in Dubai and bring it greater recognition both domestically and internationally. It would also bring more awareness of the ethics embedded in the ideas underlying Islamic finance.
Mr. Amer Khansaheb, CFA, president of CFA Society Emirates, said: “Under the vision of Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Dubai is successfully progressing on its ambitious plan to become the global capital of the Islamic economy. We hope that by hosting the first CFA Media Academy in this region, the journalist community will be more empowered to hold companies here to the highest ethical and financial standards.”
Mr. Usman Hayat, CFA, FRM, EMEA content director at CFA Institute, said: “We hosted today’s Middle East Media Academy to educate journalists in the UAE on both Islamic Finance and Sustainable Investing. Both investment areas share similar expectations of being ethically different from conventional finance, and we had interest from journalists in the region to explore these topics in greater detail.”