Full Webinar available at www.EthicaInstitute.com
Atif: Webinar career options in Islamic finance. I'm very excited to be here, we're normally accustomed to conducting face-to-face training sessions but it's gratifying to see that we literally are covering the entire globe this evening. I see names all the way from Calgary, Canada in the West where it's early morning to Australia where its late night, so welcome everyone. We have people from Dubai, Finland, U.K, Nigeria, so it's a really healthy mix and Islamic finance is for everyone, so we'll try to make sure that all the questions get answered and that we keep all of our answers as relevant as possible to this global audience. I'm also joined by Yusuf Jha who is the Shariah controller of a major GCC Islamic bank, he'll also be joining us. Welcome Yusuf.
Yusuf: Asaalamu alaykum, thank you for having me here. It's a pleasure to be here, hopefully I can benefit the listeners in terms of the questions they may have.
Atif: So we'll begin right away. We're going to try to keep the webinar to less than 90 minutes, we'll have an introductory session which will shortly be followed by the questions that we've received in advance by email and then live questions and for those of you who stick around to the end we will also give people an opportunity to win various things including discounts, as well as other stuff. So we'll begin right away, the webinar is "Career options in Islamic finance" and as most of you know, despite the global financial crisis, Islamic finance has remained quite resilient through much of the crisis. It has not been completely insulated because obviously even many Shariah-compliant transactions, however compliant they are, are still going to be affected by the markets around that industry. So despite that Islamic banks continue to thrive. There is expansion going on in a number of countries and over 500 Islamic banks, whether stand alone or subsidiaries are all over the world and central banks and countries from as far flung regions as Japan, Canada where we were recently, and Australia have stated their intention to expand with Islamic finance services. The industry is growing annually at a rate of over 20% which is actually a number that we hear a lot but what is more relevant is that in some Islamic finance industries that are relatively mature like, Malaysia, Pakistan, parts of the GCC, it is more stable and growing while in other places where it's just being introduced the rate of growth is much, much higher.
The S&P believes that the potential for the market of Islamic financial services is close to $4 trillion and like I mentioned there is a very positive interest from Muslim and non-Muslim countries around the world with many of them starting with capital markets transactions from the get go and then moving on to retail and corporate style products as they progress. So it's good to see that regulatory, legislative and political changes in these countries are accommodating Islamic finance.
According to AT Kearney over 30,000 new Islamic banking jobs will have to be filled in the Gulf alone. And there are actually bigger markets than the Gulf, obviously the UK, Europe, North America, these are huge markets where Islamic finance remains largely untapped. There has been progress in places like UK, Europe, but again, it's still the tip of the iceberg.
One of the best signs that there is a critical mass of Islamic financial institutions and Islamic finance practitioners is AAOIFI.
AAOIFI stands for the Accounting and Auditing Organization of Islamic Financial Institutions and it is the leading standard setting body in the industry. It is essentially an effort to bring the top scholars from around the world from various regions together several times a year to formulate standards for various products and it is widely held to be the leading standard setting body and they've put out a book called AAOIFI Shariah Standards, which I recommend to all of you to try to get a hold of.