General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI)

New products, standards buoy Islamic trade finance business

Islamic trade finance is poised for change with the launch of new products and common standards. Islamic banks have been laggards in trade finance but some see a business opportunity here. According to the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), digital tools such as blockchain can support this by helping to lower costs and speed up sharia-compliant transactions. Islamic trade finance is estimated at around $186 billion, compared to the $4.4 trillion worth of trade finance activity in Muslim-majority countries. Some firms are now introducing digital Islamic trade finance platforms. Emirates Islamic Bank has already launched its online supply chain tool. There is also a push towards standardisation of practices. The Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT) and the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) are developing standard documentation for both Islamic-funded and unfunded trade finance deals.

#Turkey holds great potential for Islamic finance

According to Abdelilah Belatik, secretary general of the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), Turkey's potential for Islamic banks is very big. Turkey has three participation banks, Al Baraka, Kuwait Turk, and Turkiye Finans, which are operating overseas already. Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) started developing comprehensive regulations for participation banks. Belatik said countries like Bahrain and Malaysia have developed their entire system of infrastructure for Islamic finance, which is very important for the development of the industry. This year, CIBAFI chose Turkey to host its annual Global Forum. The Forum is focusing on how the industry will fulfill its obligations while remaining competitive and relevant within global financial markets.

Istanbul: Islamic financial body vows to stay relevant

The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) held its two-day Global Forum in Istanbul. The forum’s main theme was "The New Face of Financial Services: Disruptions, Opportunities and the New Normals". Secretary-general Abdelilah Belatik said that CIBAFI would stay relevant in the industry as the world changes. CIBAFI's mandate is to represent the Islamic financial services industry globally, defend and promote its role, and to also consolidate cooperation among its members. Mehmet Ali Akben, chairman of the Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), said that while globalization had made countries come closer together, it also brought along risks. He added that countries need international cooperation and CIBAFI is one of the best examples of having cooperation and partnership between the countries.

After downturn, Islamic finance eyes profits, #fintech: survey

Islamic banks and insurers are focusing on profitability and new financial products. Surveys by the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) show a strong focus on fintech and digital transformation. Islamic banks are launching technology departments and forming joint ventures with fintech firms. The survey showed that technology-related risks have been steadily increasing and are now the biggest perceived risks. This means Islamic banks must ramp up product innovation efforts, as crowdfunding, P2P and payments platforms will be a major focus in the medium term. The CIBAFI survey on Takaful showed a mixed view on technology, suggesting concerns were focused on operational efficiency rather than innovation.

Islamic banks face uneven impact from correspondent banking decline -industry group

The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) has warned of uneven impact from a decline in correspondent banking, reinforcing concerns that small lenders will be most affected from "de-risking" by international lenders. Heightened money laundering enforcement has pushed global banks to cut their relationships in some regions, a policy known as "de-risking". Islamic banks in Africa and South Asia were among those most severely affected, with banks in the Gulf and Europe relatively unscathed. A recent CIBAFI survey of 103 Islamic banks found around a third of respondents experienced a significant decline in correspondent banking. Products most affected included trade finance and international wire transfers. CIBAFI said the practical impact of de-risking might be confined to certain regions and lenders, but it had been severe enough to raise wider concerns.

'#Turkey can play a leading role in Islamic finance'

According to Abdelilah Belatik, secretary-general of the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), Turkey can play a leading role in Islamic finance. Belatik sees Turkey as a bridge between the Muslim world and the West. He said through Turkey's support Islamic finance was discussed among G20 countries, which was a milestone. Belatik added that Turkey had a key role to play in raising awareness about Islamic finance. CIBAFI expects the volume of the sector to reach $4 trillion by the end of 2020.

#Kenyan firm tapped to train Islamic Finance #professionals

The Bahrain-based General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) has accredited Kenyan firm Aqeel Consulting to offer its professional development courses in Islamic finance. Aqeel Consulting's Managing Director Jaafar Abdulkadir said this partnership would develop a critical mass of professionals to support the growth of Islamic finance in the region. Aqeel will be conducting professional development courses on behalf of CIBAFI, which will be the certification body. The courses will be customised to suit the local scenario. Abdulkadir added that the collaboration with CIBAFI would reduce reliance on expertise from other countries. The professional development courses will meet global standards, but with local relevance.

REFILE-Islamic banks lag on corporate #governance -report

A report by the World Bank and the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) aims to encourage the sector’s governance. The findings are based on a survey of 77 Islamic banks across 22 countries, covering the industry’s core centres in the Gulf region and Southeast Asia and extending to Islamic banks in Africa and Europe. The report found risk governance was a weak spot for Islamic banks, recommending increased use of independent directors and strengthening the role of risk management officers. Sharia governance is another area of relative weakness, the big issues being the lack of diverse experience of the members on the sharia board and the infrequency of sharia board meetings. The report recommends the development of a new or revised standard for corporate governance that is specific to Islamic banks.

Public awareness key to boost Islamic finance in #Turkey

According to the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), Turkey should raise public awareness of Islamic finance to boost the sector's market share. CIBAFI's secretary general, Abdelilah Belatik, called Turkey's target of raising Islamic banks’ share to 20% by 2023 ambitious but achievable. The council’s annual gathering to discuss Islamic finance will be held in Turkey next April. Belatik said that countries like Turkey and Indonesia and regions such as Central Asia and Africa are important as they have a great growth potential in the Islamic finance sector. Belatik said they work with countries which lack the infrastructure and regulation for Islamic finance to show them its role in the economy. He also underlined Islamic finance's significance for financial stability.

CIBAFI-IRTI meeting on March 22-23

The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) and the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) are jointly organising the yearly meeting of the Directors of Operations and Investments of Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs). The theme this year will be "Bringing Islamic Investment of IFIs to the Next Frontier" and is held between March 22-23 in Manama. Experts in Islamic Investments will gather to discuss the disruptive agendas of the Islamic investments and look into topics of Strategies in the Infrastructure and Project Finance; Private Banking Capabilities of IFIs; Direct Equity Investment of IFIs; Sustainability Criteria in Islamic Investment Framework among other significant topics.

CIBAFI technical #workshops schedule announced

The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) has announced the schedule of its Technical Workshops on Product Development for Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs). The workshops will start on August 30 and will be organized in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. The three-day Technical Workshops aim to provide participants with hands on technical knowledge and skills pertaining to product development, with a focus on Islamic financial services. CIBAFI, as the voice of the industry, aims to provide platforms such as these to develop human capital and bring industry professionals together.

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