Islamic finance in 2013: beyond the growth
Year upon year, the Islamic finance industry posts stellar growth figures. However, as large Western lenders withdraw from the sector, is Islamic finance in as healthy a shape as the figures suggest? The Banker asks a number of experts in the field what the future holds for sharia-compliant banking. Read More.... more
The Bank selected Islamic Finance Advisory & Assurance Services (IFAAS), the international Islamic finance consultancy, as its training supplier to design and deliver the course, entitled 'The Islamic Banking Foundation Programme'.
IFAAS devised 'The Islamic Banking Foundation Programme' as a package to meet the specific requirements of the Central Bank.
The programme was delivered to an initial group of the Bank officers and will be rolled out to additional groups in the coming months.
IFAAS delivered the programme as an intensive, and interactive, two week course which was concluded with a formal ceremony where delegates were awarded their certificates.
Hamood bin Sangour Al Zadjali, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, attended the ceremony together with a delegation of senior officials from the Central Bank of Oman and Farrukh Raza, managing director, IFAAS.
A speech was delivered by Raza, highlighting the main points of focus of the training course devised for the Central Bank of Oman. He also presented the key findings of a recent report published by IFAAS report entitled 'Islamic Finance in Oman -“ Sizing the retail market'.
The report was the result of groundbreaking, independent, market research conducted by IFAAS. It analyses the potential market for retail Islamic finance in the Sultanate and the challenges that lay ahead to realise this potential.
As a result of attending the inaugural course, delegates now have a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of Islamic financial principles; Islamic products and their underlying contracts, technical characteristics and applications; Islamic banking operations and the preparation and implementation of processes and procedures.
Sharia (meaning "way" or "path") provides guidelines as to the requirement by which Islamic life should be conducted; this includes standards for food, family life, and business as well as daily financial dealings and transactions. The restrictions of Sharia such as the prohibition of investing in companies involved in alcohol, tobacco and gambling mean that there is a very close association between Sharia investment and ethical investment.
Additionally Sharia finance prohibits Riba - (Usury - or interest), whereas the sharing of risk and rewards in financial transactions is encouraged.