Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SC-OCIS Inaugural Forum, Attended!

( SC - OCIS Forum )

Attended the 1-day Inaugural Securities Commission(SC)- Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies(OCIS) Forum(SC-OCIS Forum).

My Comments and/or Suggestions on Certain Points Raised by Forum's Speakers:-
1)Both HRH Raja Nazrin (Crown Prince of Perak, Malaysia and MIFC Financial Ambassador) & Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar ( Chairman, Securities Commission)in their speeches call for an urgent harmonisation of syariah principles or fatwas to move the IF industry forward. To this, I would respond by:-

- This proposed certificate will be in the form of a Syariah Council/Advisory Board declaration that the product is accepted or rejected by the various mazhabs. Hence,intended users or buyers can decide for themselves as to whether they want to be associated with a particular Islamic Finance product or NOT!

B. Have a Journal Publication (...perhaps organised by SC's Islamic Capital Market Unit and/or ISRA) highlighting why certain IF contracts are accepted or rejected by the various mazhabs. In this way, we would not limit certain IF contracts like the BBA but also expand the IF market accordingly. After all, there is no one size fits all solution and we should not just accommodate certain line of reasoning just to attract funds.

2) Ahmad Hizzad bin Baharuddin (Islamic Banking & Takaful, BNM) - The Bank Negara Malaysia(BNM) needs to conduct an audit or, set a benchmark for AMGIA Profit-Sharing Ratios(PSR) and/or Rate of Returns(RoR).This is because the PSR seems to be coming down as opposed to when the Interest-Free Banking Scheme ( or SPTF) in Malaysia were initially introduced in 1993. In addition, certain comments have been put forward that the ROR declared seemed to be within a certain band of the conventional banking system's Fixed Deposit rates. Perhaps BNM could organise an awards ceremony for Banks having high Mudharabah PSR and/or PSR as per the Unit Trust Industry with their annual "The Edge-Lipper Award" as an example.

On the whole, despite being an inaugural effort, it was a good Forum for both Practitioners & Academicians/Researchers to update oneself of the comparative situation in Malaysia/ASEAN vis-a-vis UK/Europe. Points made by Dr. Abbas ( ...I've spent my lifetime keeping islamic radicals out and now you want to let them in by implementing IF ) & Rafe Haneef from Fajr Capital,UK ( ...you can take the mountain behind me brother as an asset/collateral)is refreshing and brings to light the realities on the ground when pitching for IF jobs.

Always a pleasure to meet familiar faces within the IF industry like Afifudin(OSK-formerly BIMB/BIRT when I first knew him), Dr. Daud Bakar(Amanie B.S. - EON Finance Consultant), OP Efendi(AMMB), Zuljastri(IIUM - RHB/Kwong Yik Bank)& a fellow college batchmate i.e. OP Wan Suhaimi (MIDF.

Halalfinancing/Islamic Finance by AHM BLOG Appreciation:
TQ En. Wan Rahim (Advisor, SC-Islamic Capital Market)& SC for the kind invitation.

LINKS to this event:-
MSN News

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Question/Comment on IBF at 44th Public Bank AGM!!!

I attended the 44th AGM of Public Bank Berhad(PBB) in KL.

A shareholder posed a question/passed a comment related to PBB's Islamic Banking & Finance(IBF) operations. The question/comment was along the lines of - "...Maybank had purchased a bank in Pakistan to further enhance their IBF operations, what have PBB done to "beef up" this particular area?..." The shareholder(who claimed he was from Ipoh,Perak) was the 1st shareholder invited from the floor to comment. He was also commenting on the flattish growth of PBB share prices compared to other Banks like CIMB, Maybank & Hong Leong and had even suggested that the Board talk to a few parties(e.g. Hong Leong & EON Capital) to merge their operations.

What for me is quite surprising was not that the question on IBF was posed at all BUT,the fact that:-
1) PBB is a predominantly Chinese-owned bank; and,
2) Shareholder who asked the question was a Chinese.

I supposed, when a system is considered "just & equitable"...people will take notice especially after the IBF system having escaped the 2008-2009 global financial turmoil relatively unscatched!