Is now an opportune time to get a qualification in Islamic finance market?
Robo-advisors that offer halal investments. Shariah-compliant private retirement schemes (PRS), fixed deposits and real estate investment trusts. Islamic finance market is all the rage, and not just for Muslims but non-Muslims alike.
Back in 2018, The Economist reported that the majority of customers at some of Britain’s shariah-compliant retail banks are non-Muslims.
Islamic retail banks do not invest in businesses that are haram (forbidden or sinful) such as tobacco, alcohol and pork. Muslim and non-Muslim customers are drawn to Islamic finance for its socially responsible investments, while some may be drawn to their competitive rates, said the report.
“Funds deposited for two years at Al Rayan [Bank] return 2.32%, the best deal on the market according to Moneyfacts, a data firm,” it said, adding that some 90% of savers who opened fixed-term deposit accounts with Al Rayan in 2017 were non-Muslims.
Meanwhile, a Research and Markets report said the global Islamic finance market is growing moderately due to strong investments in the halal sectors, infrastructure and sukuk bonds, especially through electronic modes in all products and services.
“The factors driving the growth of the market are directing investment toward the tremendous growth opportunities in the promising Islamic sectors,” it said.
An opportune time to pursue a career in the Islamic finance market?
With Islamic finance expanding into the mainstream and some countries reporting a strong Islamic finance sector, this could be useful for professionals to develop a specialisation in the field.
What type of qualification you pursue largely depends on whether you’re new or have experience in the field.
For instance, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) – the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountant – offers certificate programmes for newcomers and professionals across a range of industries.
Their courses include Islamic commercial law, banking and takaful, Islamic capital markets and Instruments, and accounting for Islamic Financial Institutions.
INCEIF (International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance) – which was set up by Malaysia’s central bank – offers a Professional Certificate in Islamic Finance course, an online programme for those aspiring to explore a career in Islamic finance.
Students can choose from one of the five specialisations: banking, shariah, capital market, takaful and wealth management, and shariah audit and compliance.
At the postgraduate level, many business schools also offer related courses in the field. While programmes vary between institutions, students can generally expect to develop knowledge in key areas of Islamic banking and finance, Islamic economics and shariah from both theoretical and applied aspects, and develop an understanding of the economic and financial aspects in which Islamic financial services operate.
For instance, Bangor’s Islamic Banking and Finance programme is accredited by the CISI (the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment) – a leading professional body for securities, investment, wealth, and financial planning professionals. The university notes that Islamic banking and finance has gained credibility and is the preferred way of banking for one-fifth of the world’s population.
Without a doubt, there are many short and long courses related to the Islamic finance market for those with and without experience in the field.
Growing demand for shariah-compliant financial products and increased recognition of the ethical aspects of Islamic banking could lay the foundation for more opportunities in the field, making it a potentially promising area for professionals who seek to arm themselves with expertise in the field.