Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
I have been in the business of investment banking for the past 12 years, where I have had hands-on experience in various facets of the business. My recent appointment as the head of Islamic capital markets will perhaps be one of the more exciting experiences given the current robust development and phenomenal growth of Islamic finance.
What does your role involve?
My role will mainly be to lead the team in deals origination locally and regionally, develop the necessary infrastructures to elevate our Islamic debt markets activities to a higher level and expand the breadth of our Islamic finance activities through Islamic research and product developments. We hope this will eventually lead to innovation of new Islamic debt, derivatives, private equities, equity and equity-linked products.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
After 12 years of investment banking, I have had many proud achievements in the various capacities that I have held. These include two successful bank mergers during the earlier consolidation of the Malaysian banking system, the listing of a number of large Malaysian conglomerates/companies on Bursa Malaysia, the successful placement/distribution of a couple of large IPOs, the listing of Malaysia’s first REIT and being the best performer in both module 6 and 7 examinations of Malaysia’s Securities Commission in 2005, which were required for my appointment as the executive director of Mayban Securities, the then stockbroking arm of the group.
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
Aseambankers has made quite a few notable achievements over the years, evidenced by numerous awards and accolades accorded to the bank. The most notable ones include the successful issuance of US$300 million for the world’s first Islamic US dollar subordinated bank capital Sukuk by Maybank and the recipient for The Best Mudarabah Deal of the Year Award accorded by Islamic Finance news for KNM Capital‘s ICP/MTN program.
What are the strengths of your business?
Firstly our people, who come with excellent innovative skills and strong execution and distribution capabilities. This will be further strengthened through the establishment of a dedicated Islamic research and product development team within the bank.
It has been definitely a distinctive advantage for Aseambankers to be part of the Maybank Group. Aseambankers’ Islamic capital markets division plays its role of complementing Maybank Group’s comprehensive financial services via the offering of innovative Islamic capital market solutions to the clientele base of the group across various industries, locally and regionally.
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
Our dedicated team with diverse backgrounds, backed by efficient and smooth execution teams who have capabilities in various facets of the financial markets as well as our serious observance on the delivery time. In any given deal we will strive to structure innovative and sophisticated Islamic capital market products or instruments, with Shariah support from in-house local and international Shariah scholars.
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
I would say the talent shortage in Islamic finance.
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry, maybe in the next five years?
Going forward, possibly further fundamental reformations in the global financial system and regulatory framework as to facilitate cohesion and adoption to the growing Islamic finance industry. I also expect to see more Islamic debt market solutions to evolve into Islamic equity-based solutions (such as Mudarabah) and stronger growth in Islamic private equities and wealth management. The growth we are seeing today is perhaps only the beginning, as Islamic finance is still at the initial stage of development.
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance?
I would like to see a more harmonized interpretation of Shariah principles and more globally proactively developed regulatory, legal and tax frameworks put in place or modified to suit Shariah requirements. This I believe would lead to new inventions and the development of Shariah-based solutions rather than Shariah compliant products.
Currently, the structures of the Islamic capital market instruments are often fitted into the conventional system and framework, resulting in them mimicking the conventional.
Aseambankers, the investment banking arm of Maybank, is one of the leading merchant banks in Malaysia. In November 2006, Aseambankers and Mayban Discount were integrated, bringing the bank closer to becoming a full-fledged Investment Bank as well as fulfilling its vision of becoming the preferred investment bank.