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Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals Set Up to Strengthen Islamic Finance Professionalism

Date: 6 November 2015
Source: Smart Investor

The Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF) was launched today as a professional body responsible for global quality standards for Islamic finance professionals. Dato’ Muhammad Ibrahim, the Deputy Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, launched the CIIF in Kuala Lumpur.

The CIIF is a newly incorporated entity replacing the Association of Chartered Islamic Financial Professionals Malaysia (ACIFP). Its establishment follows the increasing need for a global reference point for professional talent development as the Islamic finance industry continues to expand internationally. The CIIF will continue the mandate originally held by the ACIFP, as outlined in the Financial Sector Blueprint 2011-2020 of Bank Negara Malaysia, as the professional body responsible for setting global quality standards for professional education in Islamic finance. The issuance of those standards is expected to spur the expansion of its membership base worldwide.

The growth of Islamic finance has seen the geographical footprint of the industry extend far beyond Muslim countries and into established and emerging financial markets equally. Such changes have seen an increasing flow of finances across borders, generating deeper international links and leading to a sector that is globally estimated to hold more than USD $2 trillion in assets.

The President of the CIIF, Mr Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, said that the rapid growth of Islamic finance worldwide necessitates a global reference point for international adoption that will guide the development of Islamic finance industry professionals.

“Islamic finance has, at its core, the values of justice, co-operation, inclusion and sustainability. It is only by developing these rigorous standards, and the frameworks for continued education, that we can ensure these core values remain true.

“The CIIF is dedicated to maintaining these values at a time of global expansion for the Islamic finance industry. It will provide and maintain both the international standards required of the industry while also ensuring that they adapt to remain relevant as the market continues to evolve and grow. This mandate will flourish by working closely with domestic and international partners alike. In doing so, the CIIF will ensure the integrity and success of what is rapidly becoming a truly international financial sector,” he said.

The CIIF will be premised on three strategic thrusts that are to:

Get ready for the upcoming financial winter
ensure comprehensive and holistic professional development programmes to support CIIF members;
attain international recognition through a global outreach strategy that includes establishing international linkages and strategic partnerships for collaborations that would provide a platform to support international mobility of the CIIF members through mutual recognition and adoption of professional standards ; and
promote industry recognition of the CIIF’s professional standards across the global Islamic finance landscape through integration and institutionalisation of the CIIF’s membership, to promote a more structured career path within Islamic financial institutions’ hierarchies.
“The success of these strategic thrusts will ensure that internationally recognised professional standards for Islamic finance are adopted through a globally relevant professional body. We envision that membership of the CIIF will identify professionals as part of a highly-qualified, globally mobile talent pool, as well as affording them a range of opportunities for professional development and networking,” said Mr Badlisyah.

In tandem with the launch, the CIIF and the industry players, represented by the Association of Islamic Banking Institutions Malaysia (AIBIM), Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA) and the Malaysian Investment Banking Association (MIBA), signed the Islamic Finance Profession Charter as a commitment to further strengthen talent development in Islamic finance.

“The commitment made by these partners also reflect the industry’s movement towards greater emphasis on professional values and ethics than ever before. This is a critical move given the rapidly changing landscape in financial services globally,” said Mr Badlisyah.

The Islamic Finance Profession Charter represents a historical milestone for the Islamic finance industry globally, and it is envisioned that the CIIF will leverage on this platform to set new professional qualifications reflecting industry requirements.