Pervez Said established the Islamic banking department at Pakistan’s central bank, serving as its first director. He has an MBA from Ohio University
, US. His work experience is spread over 28 years, evenly split between business and banking. He has also worked for multinationals such as Johnson & Johnson, where he was the managing director for Pakistan. Said has spent a considerable amount of time as a regulator for the Islamic banking industry in Pakistan.
Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
I started my career with Exxon
Chemicals and then moved to Unilever
Pakistan. After spending the first 10 years of my career in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), I moved to the banking sector as the director of marketing for Citibank
in 1990. I left Citibank
, after working there for six years, primarily because of reasons of conviction as I did not want to deal with riba
Then, I joined a group of professionals who found the first investment bank to run on Islamic principles in Pakistan. That investment bank is now the largest Islamic bank in the country. I later moved to the UAE and worked on putting together the Islamic banking proposition for Standard Chartered Bank
. At Mashreqbank
, I launched its first Islamic auto finance product. In 2003, I was appointed as the director of Islamic banking for the State Bank of Pakistan
), the central bank, where I was also the advisor to the governor of SBP
My six years tenure at SBP
gave me the opportunity to re-launch Islamic banking in Pakistan by implementing a strategic plan which was accepted positively by both internal and external stakeholders.
Having started the industry in Pakistan on a solid footing, I moved back to the private sector and joined Burj Bank
(formerly Dawood Islamic Bank
) as the president and CEO in 2009 and successfully gave the bank a new direction. The bank was re-branded as Burj Bank
in July 2011.
What does your role involve?
My role involves a broader management of the complete organization. Besides being a member of the board and the bank’s executive committee, I am responsible for assigning quantitative objectives to the functional heads and monitoring performance.
I am also the bank’s spokesperson. From a macro perspective, I am working for the benefit of the Islamic banking sector which involves regular communication with industry stakeholders and other banks.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
I was the director of Islamic banking at the SBP
and an advisor to the governor of the SBP
for six years while the sector was still at its inception phase.
As a result of my commitment to the Islamic banking sector, industry professionals have credited me as the architect of Islamic banking in Pakistan and this is my greatest achievement.
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
For banking in general and Islamic banking in particular, both liability and asset products contribute equally to the overall results.
These products are further broken down into corporate, commercial and consumer offerings. As a relatively new bank, our larger focus has been towards liabilities which are now being changed through aggressive product development on the asset side. In addition, the treasury function plays a pivotal role in balancing the liquidity of the bank.
What are the strengths of your business?
The Islamic banking sector of Pakistan has gained a share of 7% in just seven years of existence. With our unique marketing strategy, our bank is capable of offering banking products, services and technologies of international standards.
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
The main factors contributing to the growth of our company include a quality management team, capable human resources and the credibility of our sponsors.
The improved credit ratings have also contributed towards the recent expansion of our retail and corporate business.
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
The primary obstacles include the economic and political volatility in Pakistan as well as the ongoing implications of the international financial crisis.
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry in the next five years?
I see the percentage share of Islamic banking out of the total banking sector expected to reach 12% by 2016.
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance.
It is important for industry players to realize that Shariah
compliant banking is the best financial model not just for Muslims but for consumers from every religion.