Category Archives: Training and education

57,000 new Islamic finance jobs? How not to get one

57,000 new Islamic finance jobs? How not to get one
by Paul Clarke

Source: http://news.efinancialcareers.com/125367/57000-new-islamic-finance-jobs-how-not-to-get-one/

Islamic finance is supposedly synonymous with growth. As Islamic assets hit $1.3trillion and sukuk issuance reaches a new high, a skills shortage looms. Why, then, can’t those undertaking industry qualifications find work?

In Malaysia, the world’s largest Islamic finance centre, the industry is reportedly facing a massive shortfall of qualified professionals. Around 40,000 people will be needed to fill the roles by 2020 in Malaysia, according to its central bank, and another 17,000 in Indonesia in the next three to five years. The Kuala Lumpur-based International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance says it will launch new programmes to meet the demand.

But it’s not as though there’s a shortage of educational options currently. There’s the Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ), various certificates from the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance, the CIMA advanced diploma in Islamic finance and whole host of degree courses like the MSc Investment Banking and Islamic Finance offered by the Henley Business School. However, these are not a golden ticket into a new job.

“Islamic institutions haven’t been immune to the financial crisis and, while they may not be downsizing, many are making do with what employees they have,” says Saftar Sarwar, a board member of the Islamic Finance Council. “The main problem with these qualifications is that they teach students the principles of Islamic finance and Shariah compliance, but they lack capital markets and asset management knowledge or experience and this, more than anything, is what employers want.”

Big market, small teams

So far in 2012, Islamic bond issuance globally has already reached record new highs of $38.4bn, according to figures from Dealogic. Syndicated loans have also held up well this year, with deal value coming in at $18.7bn, compared to $7.2bn for the whole of 2011. The Middle East makes up the majority of Islamic bond issuance – $19.7bn so far in 2012, compared to $16.5bn in Malaysia.

Globally, the biggest bookrunner is HSBC, with 25.7% of the market, followed by Maybank Investment Bank, whose dominance in its native Malaysia helps it up the league tables, then CIMB Group, Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank.

Investment banks’ Islamic finance teams in the Middle East remain relatively small, however.

Mark Swan, director of Dubai-based headhunters Principal Search says: “Most international banks have a senior structurer dealing with Islamic finance transactions, who’s expected to be an asset management, capital markets and Shariah-compliance expert. They usually have a VP and a junior banker – maybe two – supporting them, but deal origination comes from the conventional investment banking team. Few firms are increasing their Islamic finance arms in the region.”

In Malaysia, job opportunities appear more prolific. Simon Gregory, general manager, Malaysia, executive recruitment at recruiters Talent2, says demand “continues to increase” with investment banking providing the driving force.

“While many companies are asking their front-line staff to sell both Islamic and conventional products, most have Islamic-product specialists who are able to give technical information and ensure the product is sold in correct way,” he says.

The wrong tools for the job

Part of the problem with the current Islamic finance qualifications is that graduates come equipped with theoretical knowledge, but nothing in the way of work experience or practical application that would appeal to an employer, suggest experts.

Mohammed Khnifer, a sukuk structurer working for the Islamic Financial Product Development Center in Saudi Arabia (and a man with Islamic Masters and MBAs under his belt), says there’s a “thin line” between good and bad Islamic finance education. Globally recognised universities, who provide both theoretical and practical training – the Henley course requires students to spend time in an Islamic bank in Malaysia, for example – are much more likely to result in employment after graduation, he argues.

“It’s easy to get carried away by catchy headlines that blame the unemployability of Islamic finance fresh graduates on all education providers,” he says. “It’s important to recognize the gulf between the good and bad courses.”

Even graduates of these Masters courses are struggling to find employment, however. Martyn Drage, manager of the careers service at the ICMA Centre in Henley Business School, says that graduates of the MSc Investment Banking and Islamic Finance are not finding success within Islamic institutions.

“At an entry level, Islamic institutions don’t take on many graduates,” he says. “Our advice to graduates currently is to try and secure a job at a conventional investment bank and, if they really feel passionately about Islamic finance, try to orchestrate a move into their Islamic arms once they’ve got some experience under their belt.”

Recruiters tell us that international banks tend to put their conventional products in an “Islamic wrapper”, so investing in a graduate with a specialist Islamic finance degree is unnecessary. Instead, they prefer conventional qualifications, such as the CFA, or turn to existing employees they can spend a short time training in Shariah principles.

It also doesn’t help that the Malaysia, the world’s biggest Islamic finance centre, is largely closed to recruiting foreign graduates.

“It is the nature of the Malaysian financial services industry that usually only Malaysian candidates will be considered unless at a very senior level,” says Gregory.

Reserve Your Free Copy of Ethica’s 700 Page E-Book

“Ethica’s Handbook of Islamic Finance (2013 Edition)”…700 Pages of Practical, Usable Knowledge!

Ethica's Handbook of Islamic Finance - Cover

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“Ethica’s Handbook of Islamic Finance (2013 Edition)” is the industry’s first practical, user’s guide for implementing change. It may also be the only e-book in Islamic finance with a detailed and expansive subject index for your convenience. An indispensable desktop reference for practitioners and students alike, this book puts everything you need in one place.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
* We Believe: Ethica’s manifesto.
* Speech: Use this speech or the accompanying video at your conference, training session, bank or university.
* Petitions: Use these sample petitions to bring standardized Islamic finance into your community.
* Articles: Use these articles to inform yourself and others about the basics of Islamic finance.
* Meezan Bank’s Guide to Islamic Banking by Dr. Imran Usmani: Use this section for a more detailed understanding of the industry’s core products from one of its leading scholars.
* Islamic Finance Contracts: Use these sample contracts to educate yourself and your bank about various Islamic finance instruments.
* CIFE™ Study Notes: Use these study notes to help you prepare for Ethica’s Certified Islamic Finance Executive™ (CIFE™) program.
* Recommended Reading for Practitioners: Use this reading list to help develop your worldview on finance.
* Recommended Reading for Entrepreneurs: Use this reading list to help you jump start your Islamic finance idea.
* Islamic Finance Q&As: Use this database of 1,000+ scholar-approved answers to guide your commercial dealings.
* Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology: Use this section to understand the industry’s most commonly used terminology.
* About Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance
* About the Certified Islamic Finance Executive™ (CIFE™)
* Press Releases
* Contact Ethica
* Subject Index: Use this detailed index to quickly search the entire e-book.

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About Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance (www.EthicaInstitute.com)

Ethica-logo-blue-yellow-cobination

Winner of “Best Islamic Finance Qualification” at the Global Islamic Finance Awards, Ethica is chosen by more professionals and students for Islamic finance certification than any other organization in the world. With over 20,000 paying users in 44 countries, the Dubai-based institute serves banks, universities, and professionals across over 100 organizations with its 4-month Certified Islamic Finance Executive™ (CIFE™) program delivered 100% online. The CIFE™ is the only globally recognized certificate accredited by scholars to fully comply with AAOIFI, the world’s leading Islamic finance standard. To watch an Ethica training video click here.

Ethica Trains 100 American Imams in Islamic Finance

Ethica Trains 100 American Imams in Islamic Finance

Two Months of Rigorous, First Ever Islamic Finance Training Successfully Completed

 

 

What does it take to bring 7 million American Muslims Islamic finance? Maybe training only 100 prominent religious leaders as a small first step. That is what the founding members of the American Islamic Finance (AIF) Project have now successfully accomplished. Jointly founded by Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance, Guidance Financial, and the Islamic Society of North America, the AIF Project seeks to promote standards-based Islamic finance among Muslim communities in North America.

The training program began with an inaugural address by Mufti Taqi Usmani, chairman of AAOIFI (Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions), the world’s leading standard-setting body. Ethica’s spokesperson said, “Muslims in America rely on their imams for all kinds of information. By giving these community leaders direct training in the practical application of Islamic finance, Ethica now equips them with an understanding of global standards.”

Ethica’s two-month imam training program looks to become an annual event. The program was successfully completed this month after Ethica delivered a rigorous blend of e-learning, including case studies, exercises, and exams, in addition to intensive classroom instruction. With fewer banks and universities opting for face-to-face training, and more institutions adopting the increasingly popular e-learning option, Islamic finance is set to become more accessible to countries outside of the Gulf.

Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance

With over 20,000 paid users in more than 40 countries in 2011, Ethica (http://www.EthicaInstitute.com) is the world’s leading accredited Islamic finance training and certification institute, with more learners than any other Islamic finance organization in the world. Ethica remains the only institute in the world to deliver standardized certification based entirely on the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the leading standard-setting body in the industry.

Guidance Residential

Guidance is the leading US provider of Sharia-compliant home financing with over $2 billion in home financings. It is a subsidiary of Guidance Financial Group, an international company dedicated to serving the market for Sharia-compliant financial products and services. Guidance Financial Group offers unique investment products to institutional investors and financial intermediaries worldwide, and provides financial services to its retail customer base in the United States.

Islamic Society of North America

ISNA is an association of Muslim organizations and individuals that provides a common platform for presenting Islam, supporting Muslim communities, developing educational, social and outreach programs and fostering good relations with other religious communities, and civic and service organizations.

For more information about this article, or to schedule an interview with Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance, please e-mailcontact@EthicaInstitute.com.

Centre for Islamic finance planned at Durham University

Centre for Islamic finance planned at Durham University

 

 

 

DURHAM University will build on its role as a leading UK centre for teaching Islamic finance and business with a new doctoral training centre.

The Durham Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance is a collaboration between the University’s Durham Business School and the School of Government and International Affairs.

Durham has been a centre for research in Islamic finance for over 25 years, with a significant history of PhD study which will enter a new era with the launch of the centre in the autumn. The new centre will build on this success and the international popularity of the Durham Islamic Finance Summer School, which began yesterday.

Professor Rob Dixon, dean of Durham Business School, said: “Due to such exciting and dynamic developments in the Islamic financial and banking sector, it is important that financiers and bankers who are working in the field, or who wish to enter the Islamic financial market, are aware of the principles, operations, techniques and mechanism of Islamic finance and financial products as well as the dynamics of Islamic financial and capital markets.”

Dr Mehmet Asutay, the director of the summer school and a senior member of the new centre, said: “The centre will provide exclusive facilities for research students who have chosen to specialise in Islamic finance, which will enhance Durham University’s long-standing efforts to contribute to the development of academic and intellectual discourse and the practice of Islamic finance.

“It will also support the international reputation and recognition of Durham University.”

Source: http://www.nebusiness.co.uk/business-news/latest-business-news/2011/07/05/centre-for-islamic-finance-planned-at-durham-university-51140-28995315/

Colleges Expanding Shariah Courses Amid Scholar Shortage

Colleges Expanding Shariah Courses Amid Scholar Shortage

University-Degree

Universities are expanding Islamic finance courses as demand for professionals qualified in Shariah law outstrips supply in the $1 trillion industry.

The International Islamic University of Malaysia plans to start postgraduate courses specializing in Shariah-compliant capital markets, banking and insurance after enrollment for its general program in finance complying with Muslim tenets tripled in the past year, said Professor Mohd Azmi Omar, the dean of the institute. La Trobe University in Melbourne, which started classes this year, is working with officials in Malaysia to offer industry-recognized qualifications.

A lack of skills is among the biggest challenges for the expansion of global Islamic banking, said Washington-based Patrick Imam, an economist at the International Monetary Fund. About 50,000 professionals will be needed over the next five to seven years to meet demand, according to Ishaq Bhatti, the director of La Trobe’s Islamic banking and finance program.

“There are very few people who are really good at both finance and the interpretation of Shariah law,” Imam said in an e-mailed reply to questions on Dec. 10. “To do Islamic banking you must be fluent in finance and Islamic principles, and typically they are either one or the other.”

Industry Standards

The Islamic finance industry, with assets the Kuala Lumpur- based Islamic Financial Services Board estimates will climb to $1.6 trillion by 2012, is developing global standards to improve regulations. The Manama, Bahrain-based Accounting & Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions said a shortage of scholars increases the risk of conflicts of interest as many sit on various advisory boards.

Sheikh Nizam Yaquby of Bahrain and Syria’s Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah, who each serve on 85 boards of Islamic financial institutions, ranked first among the top 20 religious experts in an October report from Zawya, an online Middle East business news and directory, and Funds@Work AG, a Kronberg, Germany-based consulting company.

Experts are preparing the first standardized certification for scholars. A permanent committee is due to be selected by year-end to work on setting up a body to issue permits for those qualified to sit on Shariah boards, Aznan Hasan, the president of the oversight committee, said in an Aug. 30 interview in Kuala Lumpur.

“You could see the hunger and the thirst for Islamic finance when we first announced this program in July 2009,” La Trobe’s Bhatti said in an interview on Oct. 28 in Kuala Lumpur. “Initially, we thought 100 people were going to register, then we started getting very high-profile requests from governments and the industry, so we increased it to 200.”

Thailand, Senegal

Thailand, Senegal and Sudan are among countries seeking to tap the wealth of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims by selling Islamic bonds, which are vetted by scholars for compliance with Shariah law.

Global sales of sukuk, which pay returns based on asset flows to comply with the religion’s ban on interest, fell 28 percent this year to $14.5 billion from the same period in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Issuance reached a record $31 billion in 2007.

Shariah-compliant bonds returned 12 percent in 2010, the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai US Dollar Sukuk Index shows, while debt in emerging markets gained 13 percent, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Diversified Index.

Malaysia Yields

The difference between the average yield for sukuk in developing nations and the London interbank offered rate has narrowed 160 basis points, or 1.6 percentage point, to 308 this year, according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai US Dollar Sukuk Index.

The yield on Malaysia’s 3.928 percent sukuk maturing in June 2015 was little changed today at 3.06 percent, according to prices from the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The extra yield investors demand to hold Dubai’s government sukuk rather than Malaysia’s was also little changed at 342, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The U.K.’s Durham University, Al-Azhar University in Cairo and Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance in Dubai also offer Islamic finance courses. Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, runs an Islamic legal studies program through its law school, according to data on its website.

Durham University

Schools and colleges are facing a shortage of teaching staff for Islamic finance courses as demand increases, said Professor Rodney Wilson, a lecturer at the Centre for Middle East and Islamic Studies at Durham University.

“We need to appoint more staff” as Durham only has four lecturers for the classes, Wilson, who is based in London, said in an e-mailed response to questions yesterday.

La Trobe University is working with Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur-based International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance to gain approval to provide the Chartered Islamic Finance Professionals certification, said Bhatti.

The Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance at the IIUM will start a Masters in Islamic capital markets in September 2011 in conjunction with the Malaysian Securities Commission, the institute’s dean said in an interview on Dec. 6.

“We have bankers, lawyers and fresh graduates attending our classes,” said Mohd Azmi, who also teaches Islamic capital markets at Trisakti University in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-13/colleges-expanding-shariah-courses-amid-scholar-shortage-islamic-finance.html

To contact the reporters on this story: Soraya Permatasari in Kuala Lumpur atsoraya@bloomberg.net; Suryani Omar in Singapore at somar6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry at shendry@bloomberg.net

ONE DAY LEFT! Register for Ethica Institute Live Webinar: “Interest-Based Finance and Global Warming: Making the Connection”

ONE DAY LEFT! Register for Ethica Institute Live Webinar: “Interest-Based Finance and Global Warming: Making the Connection”

How does interest-based finance contribute to global warming? And how does Islamic finance provide an alternative? We explore these and other topics in this 40 minute presentation and follow up with your live Q&A.

Register at: http://www.facebook.com/EthicaInstitute

Cost: FREE
Where: The comfort of your desk
When: 6pm Dubai time, Sunday, December 12, 2010

What You Get:

  • 40 minute presentation with slides
  • Live Q&A
  • Guidance on how to get active
  • Free downloadable article providing step-by-step guidelines

We briefly look at how interest-based finance imposes unnatural demands on humans and nature, and explain how Islamic finance offers the more ethical alternative. Most importantly, we ask you to get involved and give you some simple steps to get started.

Across the globe, every summer gets hotter and every winter gets milder. Between 1980 and 2007, the summer Arctic ice area shrank from ten million square kilometers to four million square kilometers. At this rate, the Arctic will be almost free of ice within fifteen years and the sun, with no large ice sheet deflecting its light, will have free reign to warm our oceans at will.

Rising sea levels and increasing global heat are not part of a natural, glacial shift in the Earth’s weather patterns, as some of those in moneyed quarters might have us believe, but rather a dramatic environmental shift all happening in a blink of the Earth’s archaeological eye. It is caused by us. A fact easily measurable from carbon data in ice stratigraphy dating back millions of years.

Space is limited—register today!

We’re limiting registration to ensure that each attendee gets the best experience possible. For more details and to register join us on Facebook.

Islamic Finance Heads Down Under: Australia Launches its First Islamic Finance E-Learning Program

Islamic Finance Heads Down Under: Australia Launches its First Islamic Finance E-Learning Program

Ethica Institute and La Trobe University Launch Australia’s First Ever Islamic Finance E-learning Program

How do you bring Islamic finance to the far corners of the world? Ethica Institute in Dubai and La Trobe University in Australia have solved this problem.

Today the leader in Islamic finance training and certification, Ethica, announced the launch of a new Islamic finance for-credit course at one of Australia’s leading universities. This will be the first time ever that a 100% online course in Islamic finance is offered as part of an on-campus course. Enrolment for the award-winning Master of Islamic Banking and Finance (MIBF) program is now open and online classes begin next month on January 10, 2011.

The international education industry is Australia’s largest services export, contributing over 550,000 students and $12 billion annually to the country’s economy. Moreover, the Australian government actively began promoting Islamic finance in recent years by exploring tax neutrality for Shariah-compliant products.

La Trobe University’s Associate Professor Ishaq Bhatti said, "With Ethica, our Islamic finance program now extends far beyond our physical campuses. For the first time ever, we now tap into the tremendous demand for Islamic finance from students all over the world." This year, La Trobe’s Islamic finance program won numerous awards including the prestigious Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Award for excellence.

Ethica’s Managing Director, Atif Khan said, "E-learning is the best way to address Australia’s growing demand for certified Islamic finance graduates. La Trobe is already a pioneer in the field with one of the world’s only Master’s programs in Islamic banking and finance, and now with an e-learning component, they scalably grow their campus across the globe."

Earlier this year Mashreq Bank rolled out Ethica’s e-learning program across its entire Islamic banking network. Dow Jones affiliate Zawya.com and New York based Banker’s Academy also signed on with Ethica recently.

About Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance: In 2010, Ethica (http://www.EthicaInstitute.com) was chosen by more professionals for Islamic finance certification than any other organization in the world. The Dubai-based institute received the award nomination for "Best Islamic Finance Training Institution" in 2009 and 2010 by Islamic Business and Finance Magazine. Ethica’s clients include banks, universities, and professionals in over 20 countries.

About La Trobe’s Master of Islamic Banking and Finance (MIBF) Program: Recipient of the prestigious ALTC 2010 Award, La Trobe’s Islamic finance program is the first university-level Islamic finance program in Australia. Enrolment for the program is now open on a first-come, first served basis with online classes beginning next month on January 10, 2011. To learn more, visit http://www.latrobe.edu.au/lawman/ifpd or contact Almir Colan at A.Colan@latrobe.edu.au.

For more information about this article, or to schedule an interview with Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance, please call Sameer Hasan at +9714-305-0782 or e-mail at info@ethicainstitute.com.

SOURCE: Ethica Institute Of Islamic Finance