Experts recently gathered to discuss solutions for the challenges of human capital and leadership development in the Islamic finance sector at the Kuala Lumpur Roundtable.
The discussion was a precursor to the second edition of the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES 2015).
“Given the highly specialized nature of Islamic finance, experts unanimously concur that acquiring the right competencies is critical,” Abdulla Al Awar, CEO of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), said. “A mismatch between the qualifications of fresh graduates and the skills required by the industry could prove costly for the emerging Islamic economy sector. The experts base their observations on the fact that higher education institutions most often equip students with qualifications that are theoretical rather than practical. This invariably leads to a gap between the competencies graduates bring to the table and the real-time needs of the banking and finance industry.
“Another challenge that is increasingly being perceived with the maturing of the sector is the absence of an international accreditation body for Islamic finance,” Al Awar said. “Accreditation is a significant achievement that articulates the maturity and growth of Islamic finance - both for quality of solutions offered and to evaluate the performance of concerned employees - we need to join forces on all levels to overcome this challenge.”
These event is part of the Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy initiative that was started by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, in October 2013.
“I ask you to look at career development for your staff as more than just promoting an individual to the next position,” Dato’ Seri Dr Zaini Ujang, Secretary-General II at the Malaysian Ministry of Education, said. “We need to expand the concept to include the ability of the individual to contribute to society, while enhancing employee knowledge and improving their area of expertise. If we accept this new definition of career development, it becomes the mandatory responsibility of professional institutions to equip their employees with the required abilities. After all, the true spirit of Islamic finance is to translate benefits to the overall economy in the form of financial intermediation that is well anchored in the real economy.”
The meeting was organized and supported by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIED), International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), and Thomson Reuters.
“The wide-ranging discussions at this roundtable session confirm that Islamic finance still needs to find solutions to the supply and demand challenge when it comes to the important domains of mining talent and developing research,” Sayd Farouk, global head of Islamic Capital Markets for Thomson Reuters, said. “Furthermore, there is currently an obvious lack of a coherent framework to address such critical industry needs that will fuel the future development of Islamic finance. The next logical step for the industry is to come together to develop a well-planned approach to systematically address key talent and research needs.”