Islamic finance body AAOIFI picks up pace with new standards

The Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has issued two new sharia standards, revised three others and said it will review at least five more in coming months. The move appears to signal a more proactive approach by AAOIFI, which has acted only gradually to address some of the industry's big issues and controversies in recent years. AAOIFI may now be picking up the pace after it appointed a new secretary-general in September, Saudi Arabian national Hamed Hassan Merah. AAOIFI issued a standard for arboun (down payments) and another on conditional termination of contracts. Moreover, the body has also revised standards covering the conversion of conventional banks into Islamic ones, debt transfers (hawala) and murabaha.