Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
I am one of the founders of the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB). I was elected by the other founders – Dr Mohammed El Gari and Ammar Shata, chief financial officer – to develop the concept of specialized Shariah compliance review services. I possess a master’s degree in business administration and 14 years of experience in banking and product development, focusing mainly on Islamic banking products and services with leading banks in the region. .
What does your role involve?
Currently I am the CEO of Shariyah Review Bureau. Externally, my role involves focusing on our strategic goals, including reaching international markets and increasing our client base. Internally, my role involves maintaining and strengthening our professional team, sustaining and increasing the quality of our deliverables and developing new products and services.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
The whole SRB experience has been a success story as we founded the first specialized company to provide Shariah compliance review services.
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
Under Shariah review services, there are different deliverables that fulfil the requirements of the market. That includes the internal and external Shariah compliance service, developing Shariah review manuals, training and the stock market indicator, which examines stock market companies against the Islamic investment criteria. The stock market indictor and Shariah review manuals are currently delivering the best results.
What are the strengths of your business?
Our professional team consists of a group of professionals with diverse backgrounds and relevant expertise. Its members include both Shariah scholars and certified professionals. Our approach to serving our clients involves maintaining high levels of efficiency, autonomy and objectivity. Our purpose-driven methodology is based on an institutional and professional framework.
SRB is an associated member of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). We are guided by a Shariah supervisory board of reputable scholars headed by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Suleiman Al Maniya.
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
The Islamic financial system is not limited to banks and financial institutions, but also includes different types of customers and corporations interested in dealing according to Shariah principles.
The infrastructure of an Islamic economic system requires the creation of various specialized entities with organizational, supervisory and professional roles, in addition to the development and implementation of standards and procedures that will enhance compliance with Shariah, based on professional criteria. This is where SRB comes in, providing independent assessment of Shariah compatibility.
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
The obstacles are issues related to the industry, including the fact that a standardized regulatory and legal structure supportive of an Islamic financial system has not yet been developed. In addition, in many countries Islamic banks do not have the legal support of the Central Bank, which exposes them to risks.
The shortage of trained people who can manage Islamic banking and financial products and develop innovative solutions according to Shariah principles is also key.
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry, maybe in the next five years?
The rapid growth of the Islamic finance industry indicates a promising future as Islamic banking and finance is becoming a worldwide trend. However, developing an Islamic financial system requires the reinforcement of a significant Islamic financial infrastructure, including the legal and Shariah infrastructure and the regulatory and supervisory framework.
Improved awareness on how Islamic financial transactions and contracts are executed will not only support market discipline, but will also assist in enhancing operational competence.
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance?
At this stage I believe that the industry is in need of more standardization and a stronger supervisory framework. Also, more focus should be given to product development, and I think the time has come to develop new Islamic banking and financing products, rather than converting existing conventional products.
The Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) is an independent entity whose purpose is to help global Islamic financial institutions operate while conforming to Islamic principles. By providing specialized professional services, SRB empowers Islamic financial institutions with the ability to conform their economic and financial practices to Islamic principles. SRB is a limited liability company incorporated under the laws of Bahrain.