ISLAMIC FINANCE EDUCATION

We are venturing into new frontiers to bring greater value to society, the economy and the environment with the "Three Ps" - people, planet and prosperity

COUNTRY PANORAMA 10.05.2021, 21:17 11.05.2021, 00:40
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ISLAMIC FINANCE EDUCATION

The aspiration of the founder of The Global University of Islamic Finance (INCEIF), Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia or BNM), was to establish a postgraduate learning institution in Islamic finance that would be at the forefront of producing high-calibre practitioners and professionals for the industry, as well as specialists and researchers in the disciplines of Islamic finance.

The INCEIF syllabus is structured with inputs from regulators and industry players to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and industry experience. INCEIF faculty members, who are globally respected among the Islamic finance academia and industry, have a combined wealth of experience and diversity. The faculty, coupled with continuous support from the industry, provides INCEIF students with strong mentoring relationships and opportunities for professional development.

Apart from its academic programmes, INCEIF offers customised executive training programmes and industry-focused applied research in line with its vision to be the knowledge and thought leader in Islamic finance. In November 2018, AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International accredited INCEIF, joining the top 5 percent of business schools in the world to be accredited.

THE PRESENT & FUTURE

In a new era in Islamic finance, we are venturing into new frontiers to bring greater value to society, the economy, and the environment with the "Three Ps" - people, planet and prosperity. To demonstrate the application of Islamic finance beyond banking and finance, INCEIF has developed a new syllabus and embarked on applied research with multilateral institutions such as WWF-Malaysia and International Federation of Red Societies and Red Crescent on sustainable practices that included managing risks, upholding ethics and trust while promoting societal well-being.

INTERNATIONAL REACH

Establishing a relationship with international industry players and renowned institutions is integral for INCEIF as we seek to achieve global recognition in all aspects of our deliverables, be it programme content, teaching quality, advisory services or research. Over the years, apart from universities, INCEIF has collaborated with central banks, regulatory and Professional bodies as well as industry players to bring Islamic finance knowledge, particularly to non-traditional Islamic finance markets, including to Japan, UK and Luxembourg.

While English was predominantly the language of programme delivery, INCEIF recently teamed up with Algeria's insurance association, Ecole Des Hautes Etudes D'assurance (EHEA), to offer an online Master's programme, eMIF, in French for the Algerian financial players. Subsequently, the French language eMIF will be offered to other French-speaking populations.

For Turkey, in particular, INCEIF has worked with The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey to share Islamic finance knowledge and the Malaysian experience in developing the Islamic finance industry through workshops/ seminars held in Turkey. In 2019, as part of the Erasmus (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) programme, INCEIF faculty members and students took part in a staff/student exchange programme with Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim Universitesi (IZU), where they teach/ study at the university's campus in Istanbul for a semester. IZU staff and students were on the INCEIF campus for a similar programme.

Since 2010, INCEIF has worked closely with the Malaysian Government through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme to conduct workshops on a spectrum of Islamic finance topics such as Islamic Fintech and microfinance. The visiting participants are government and central bank officials and industry leaders from mainly developing countries who are exploring Islamic finance for adoption in their respective countries. This year, INCEIF will train government officials from the Philippines in Islamic banking and Ar-Rahnu.

ENABLING ECOSYSTEM FOR THE GROWTH OF ISLAMIC FINANCE EDUCATION

The Malaysian Islamic finance ecosystem has breadth and depth. The country is host to universities, research institutes, professional bodies and accreditation agencies, which are all working to support the human capital development of Islamic finance, backed by a strong regu latory framework. INCEIF is one of the few organisations in the country and the only university to be accorded by the Malaysian Government with the status of "Project of National Interest" in recognition of its agenda to nurture talent for the global Islamic finance industry.

Malaysia's top-down approach in developing the Islamic finance industry has resulted in a proactive engagement between regulators and industry players, which is key to the successful implementation of policies and guidelines to ensure Malaysia remains at the forefront of the global Islamic finance industry. The highlights of Malaysia's Budget 2020 included measures such as tax incentives and the formulation of an Islamic Economic Blueprint and professional courses to promote a deeper nationwide understanding of Islamic finance.

As Green Finance gains momentum globally within the Malaysian financial industry, the Islamic finance industry is showing leadership in positively impacting the economy, people, and the environment by adopting the Value-based Intermediation (VBI) agenda. VBI is an intermediation function that aims to deliver the intended outcomes of Shari'ah through practices, conduct and offerings that generate positive and sustainable impact to the economy, community and environment, consistent with the shareholders' sustainable returns and long-term interests. INCEIF is part of the Value-based Intermediation Assessment Framework (VBIAF) task force formed by BNM in 2018 to spearhead the strategic development of VBIAF. The task force is chaired by INCEIF and co-chaired by the Islamic Banking and Takaful Department of BNM.

THE ROLE OF ISLAMIC FINANCE IN THE PANDEMIC

Creating a vibrant alternative financial system to the current system is vital not just for any country or jurisdiction but for the world. The first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic brought such global socio-economic disarray. It caused a simultaneous global shock that has extracted substantial human and economic costs within an inconceivably short time. The pandemic is a fire test on the fragility of the existing ecosystem. It allows us to re-set the way we do things to minimise the risk, increase the resiliency and protect all levels of communities from any future unpredictable shocks. Islamic finance, underpinned by Shariah principles, has shown the potential to create significant economic and social development value.

When the first Movement Control Order (MCO) was announced in the country, it took everyone by surprise as all were unprepared for the ensuing restrictions. INCEIF was fortunate, as the university had a distance learning license and its digital platform in place. Flipping a crisis into an opportunity, most organisations, including INCEIF, took this opportunity to utilise and hasten digital application in the operations and product and services offerings. INCEIF resumed business during the MCO, but without in-person activities, including classes on campus. Challenges, however, remained as the world has yet to recover from the effects of the ongoing pandemic and subsequently, the outlook for the higher education industry, which relies heavily on direct physical services, remains worrying.

For INCEIF, we have adopted a hybrid approach of limited on-campus presence while improving our online teaching and learning experience as international borders remained closed. Despite the setbacks and uncertainties, INCEIF must persevere because we have a moral obligation to impart knowledge conscientiously and shape today's learners into leaders for a better tomorrow.

INCEIF President & CEO Prof. Dr. Azmi Omar

You can view the content in the 25th issue of Katılım Finans. (ISLAMIC FINANCE EDUCATION)

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