Kuala Lumpur, 13 March 2012
Third Islamic Finance Roundtable focuses on ‘Solutions for liquidity management’

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) today concluded the third SC-OCIS Roundtable on Islamic Finance, a closed-door forum for Islamic finance experts, Shariah advisers and scholars from around the world which was held on 12 and 13 March 2012 in Kuala Lumpur.

The Roundtable, which was officiated by His Royal Highness, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, Crown Prince of Perak, and the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) Financial Ambassador, focused on “Solutions for Liquidity Management” in Islamic Finance, with the aim of identifying pathways to strengthen the international sukuk market, to address infrastructure constraints and issues relating to global connectivity, and to improve overall market integration.

While sukuk issuances have generally been successful in terms of primary subscription, “the lack of secondary trading – due perhaps to the scarcity of supply; lack of infrastructure; trading mechanisms that are not globally accepted; or unresolved issues over valuations – have all led to investors holding on to the “buy-and-hold‟ attitude of the instruments until maturity” observed HRH Raja Nazrin.

Inaugurated in 2010 as a thought-leadership platform for international debate and discussion on Islamic finance issues, the annual Roundtable has been effective in creating a forum for distinguished Shariah scholars, academicians, regulators and Islamic finance practitioners in various fields including banking, asset management as well as accounting, to explore solutions to the issues and challenges which impact the Islamic Finance landscape.

The discussions at the Roundtables have resulted in greater understanding and intensification of tangible efforts to expand Shariah compliant asset classes and investment opportunities. “For example, in Malaysia, the SC is working towards a bill, to allow for the expansion of various asset classes for investments by investment funds” commented Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, Chairman of the SC.

“This bill will pave the way for Shariah funds to directly invest into income generating assets and businesses. The bill also proposes the creation of business trusts, a trust vehicle, to accommodate the ownership of businesses or assets, giving investors direct exposure to the real economy. More importantly, these initiatives are consistent with maqasid al shariah. This bill has strong roots in the exchange of visionary ideas and perspectives from the inaugural SC-OCIS Roundtable of 2010″ added Tan Sri Zarinah.

Following on from last year’s announcement by the Director of OCIS, Dr Farhan Nizami, of a new Scholar in Residence Programme in Islamic Finance at OCIS, which is jointly supported by the SC, OCIS is now in the process of considering applications for a Visiting Fellowship which would commence in October 2012. The fellowship, which is for one academic year and includes a grant of 10,000 pound, is open to specialists in Islamic finance or a closely related discipline and preferably with practical experience of policy-making with an international or comparative component. The closing date for applications is 1 May 2012.

From left to right: Daud Vicary (Chairman, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, INCEIF), Badlishah Abdul Ghani (CEO, CIMB Islamic), Assoc. Prof Mohamad Akram Dr Laldin (International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance), Dato Dr Nik Ramlah Mahmood (Managing Director, SC), Dr Md Nurdin Ngadimon (Head, Shariah ICM, SC), Prof Datuk Dr Rifaat abdel Karim (INCEIF), Wan Abdul Rahim Kamil (ICM Consultant, SC), Dato Muhammad Ibrahim (Deputy Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia), Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar (Chairman, SC), Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh (Managing Director, SC) and Jaseem Ahmed (Secretary General, Islamic Financial Services Board)