Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies Organises Workshop on Islamic Asset Management

Institute offers range of Islamic banking and training courses, diplomas, professional certificates and qualifications

As part of its ongoing commitment to imparting Islamic banking and finance education, Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS), a regional leader in banking and finance education and training, hosted a day-long workshop on the current and future landscape of the sharia-compliant asset management sector for the UAE’s senior-level bankers and financial experts.

The workshop invited Islamic finance specialists from EIBFS, Dubai Islamic Bank, Noor Bank and Mashreq Capital to address the achievements, opportunities and limitations of the Islamic asset management industry – even while focusing on future innovations, solutions and strategies.

Divided into various sections, the thought sessions provided a comprehensive overview of the industry’s key segments – including wealth management of Islamic finance, the Islamic investment market and future growth opportunities and challenges of the Islamic asset management sector. The training sessions additionally examined the complexities of the industry’s legal and regulatory landscape and called on the industry to simplify compliance procedures.

Speaking on the growth projections for the Islamic financial industry in the UAE, Jamal Al Jassmi, General Manager of EIBFS, said: “Hosting seven full-fledged Islamic banks along with several Takaful and Islamic investment and mortgage companies, the UAE Islamic finance industry is a fast growing one. It is the second largest Islamic banking market after Malaysia, with the country’s sharia-compliant assets expected to reach US$262 billion by 2019. Although encouraging, the UAE must continue to address the shortfall in Islamic investment avenues in addition to improving and diversifying short-term asset management product offerings.”

He added: “Aligned with the UAE government’s directive to become a global Islamic financial hub, our institute provides real-time comprehensive academic and training initiatives for the UAE’s dynamic banking and finance community. Our objective is to contribute to the development of human capital in the region and prepare the country’s workforce to meet the requirements of the emerging Islamic economy landscape.”

One of the main pillars of the fast growing Islamic finance industry, asset management has evolved significantly over the last few years. In 2015, Assets under Management (AUM) of total global Islamic funds grew 5.3% from the previous year while the number of funds increased by 11%.

Speaking on the growing gap between supply and demand in Islamic assets, Dr Sabahuddin Azmi, Academic Coordinator of the Islamic Banking Program at EIBFS, said: “Following the global financial crisis of 2008, investor interest in Islamic assets has grown exponentially. Investors are now seeking attractive alternative investment strategies, and have turned to Islamic finance as a means to diversify their global business interests. With limited product offerings, the Islamic asset management industry is unable to keep pace with emerging demands for services. The industry is projected to see a US$105 billion supply-demand gap in Islamic funds by 2019. Currently, Islamic wealth management avenues satisfy less than half of the outstanding demand.”

He added: “Looking ahead, the Islamic asset management industry must establish high calibre organisations capable of innovating new products and intermediary institutions with strong market connections.”

Experts at the workshop highlighted the nascent status and scale of Islamic asset management as the key challenges facing the industry. Dominated by larger funds, the Islamic fund universe is a monochrome market supporting similar structures, mandates and products. However, the speakers commended the industry for attracting non-Islamic issuers and investors to take advantage of its sukuk market and for providing an Islamic product for almost each asset division.

EIBFS offers a range of accredited Islamic banking and finance education and training programs, including a rigorous two-year Islamic banking diploma, diverse customised in-house training courses, specialised Islamic banking programmes for fresh graduates, in addition to Islamic finance workshops and conferences for the UAE’s professional community. In collaboration with international training organisations, the institute additionally provides a Professional Certificate in Islamic Banking and Finance and a CISI Islamic Financial Qualification.

In 2015 alone, EIBFS offered 38 programmes in the field of Islamic banking and finance, training more than 800 graduates and professionals. Building on this progress, the institute is set to collaborate with a leading Malaysian training organisation to launch a certification programme in Islamic banking.

Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies Facilitates Attendance of UAE National Bankers at Exclusive Vocational Training Workshop

Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS), a regional leader in banking and finance education and training, facilitated the attendance of sixteen Emirati bankers at ‘The Future of Well Being’ workshop in Bahrain that was hosted by renowned author, life coach and speaker, Deepak Chopra.

Organised by Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF), the day-long workshop highlighted ways for achieving positive outcomes in the social, economic, psychological, spiritual and physical aspects of life.

More specifically, the thought session focused on promoting awareness of corporate wellness and enhancing the understanding of attendees with regard to holistic health and well-being. The training session also examined how simple lifestyle changes can help infuse positive energy for enhanced self-esteem and work excellence.

Speaking about the training session, Jamal Al Jassmi, General Manager of EIBFS, said: “We are pleased to sponsor the two UAE nationals in line with the government’s visionary Emiratisation initiative. At EIBFS, we are committed to offering world-class vocational training to Emirati professionals. Engaging platforms such as this one by world-renowned life-coach Deepak Chopra provide an invaluable experience to participants and can help kick-start efficiency and positive energy that are critical in career development today.”

Deepak Chopra is the founder of The Chopra Foundation and cofounder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing. A world-renowned pioneer in integrated medicine and personal transformation, Chopra is an award winner and author of more than 80 books including several New York Times bestsellers.

Collaborating with regional and international academic and research institutes as well as vocational training entities and the wider business community, EIBFS has made substantial contributions to the career growth of students and working professionals in the banking and financial services industry. Students that successfully complete these programmes often find productive employment at various levels in banks and financial institutions in the UAE. Recently, EIBFS hosted a Career Fair for 250 UAE nationals.

EIBFS participates at Careers UAE From 16th to 18th May at Dubai world trade Center

As Dubai forges on with its historic Expo 2020 preparations, Emirati job seekers will tap into thousands of new employment avenues at the 16th edition of Careers UAE – the country’s leading recruitment, training and education exhibition for UAE nationals.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Careers UAE is expected to attract an ‘exceptional’ collection of more than 17,000 Emirati job seekers from 16-18 May at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

Short-term courses designed to meet training requirements of the Islamic finance industry

eibfs-news-may-10-16-img-01 With the Islamic finance industry registering sustained momentum and gaining wider acceptance and appreciation around the world, the emerging financial landscape will require a highly qualified workforce equipped with relevant education, as well as professional and vocational training to drive further growth in Islamic finance. DR SABAHUDDIN AZMI explores the different types of training courses available in the market.

Although the sector boasts a relatively strong global network of Islamic finance course providers and undergraduate and postgraduate programs, the fact remains that vocational training and academic courses fail to offer highly specialized, technical and relevant courses to keep pace with the dynamic demands of the Islamic finance industry. This is further validated by a 2014 FAA-IFN Human Capital Development Survey in which 44.5% of the respondents agree that Islamic finance training programs fail to cater to industry skill requirements.

Large-scale continuous developments and transformations in the Islamic economic space necessitate Islamic banking and financial institutions to train their professional cadre on a regular basis to keep pace with the latest innovations and product offerings. In order to develop a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce, training and academic institutions must continually review and update course content according to industry requirements. In addition, they need to adopt focused and specialized programs for a range of professionals – from junior-level bankers to senior-level managers.

As technologies and market outlooks shape systems, programs, regulations and practices, it becomes increasingly critical for industry leaders to improve the efficiency of their workforce and leverage short-term courses that encourage students and working professionals to build on existing competencies and refresh their knowledge of the Islamic banking and financial sector to gain a competitive edge.

To overcome the gap in human capital development, short-term courses – that can run two to three times a year or over a span of several weeks – are tailored and designed to meet the specific needs of the local and regional Islamic finance industry.

Less restricted by academic barriers than long-term programs, short-term training courses are designed to fill gaps in knowledge and upgrade a specific skill set to enhance the performance of expected and evolving responsibilities – in only a fraction of the time. They serve as a cost-effective alternative and can help formalize skills gained in the workplace and build on qualifications obtained in university. With limited time to dedicate to training, employees and Islamic financial institutions alike can benefit from the short duration of these courses.

Short-term programs combine industry-specific research and development with theoretical, practical and technical training.

Open-ended in nature, short-term courses incorporate customdesigned curricula focused on developing expertise in new areas of Islamic finance and enable students to examine up close the principles of the underlying Islamic economy. With shortterm program offerings, training institutions can also utilize real-time case studies and data schemes provided by Islamic banks and financial institutions to instill hands-on training in the use of Islamic finance tools, instruments and strategies.

Academic and vocational training institutions should encourage industry collaboration in short-term program offerings. With greater involvement and input from experts and financial institutions in designing academic and training curricula, training institutions can integrate authentic market exposure and align programs with ongoing developments in the Islamic finance industry and regulatory landscape to make them truly topical. Short-term courses on risk management, new Islamic banking products, accounting standards and trade finance are among various such topics offered in many institutions with Islamic banking specialization programs.

Institutes like the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies have modified the curricula of their short-term training courses based on industry feedback. Training departments should set up a regular liaison with human resources and talent development representatives and hold frequent focus group meetings with department heads and industry leaders to develop relevant, revised and updated courses for the training year. Offering customized courses, institutes can collaboratively design programs according to a client institution’s specific training requirements and adjust the degree of complexity based on the varying professional levels of the target audience.

Mandated to track the progress of industry-specific training initiatives and integrate well-informed suggestions and training objectives, an established advisory committee composed of human resource managers and industry experts prompts academic institutes and Islamic banks to cultivate courses that are specific to the requirements of various bank structures, procedures and demands. Conventional banks with Islamic finance departments have their own operation schemes distinct from Islamic banks and institutions.

Further to this, with a limited supply of human capital in the Islamic economic space, Islamic banks are required to recruit conventionally trained bankers to undertake these highly technical positions. Expected to learn on the job, conventional bankers enroll in short-term courses rather than degree-based programs due to time restraints. These courses complement in-house short-term Shariah-based training initiatives within banks. Developing relevant professional competencies at a fast rate, short-term options play an integral role in satisfying the human capital demands of Islamic banking.

Industry research further suggests that students who engage in longer-term training programs accrue greater employment and earn more rewards than students enrolled in short-term occupational courses. Facing various challenges, vocational short-term courses aim to adapt to complex and ever-changing regulatory requirements and to understand the variation in product offerings and changes in product structures across banks – even while expanding their knowledge on Islamic finance principles, specifically those related to Shariah.

A cost-saving and time-efficient solution, short-term courses can bridge the human capital development gap in the Islamic finance industry. With a flexible structure that encourages industry collaboration on course design options, short-term programs empower industry professionals with relevant, advanced and timely knowledge and skills.

Dr Sabahuddin Azmi is the faculty and academic coordinator of the Islamic banking program at the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies. He can be contacted at Sabah@eibfs.com.

EIBFS organizes school visits at Dubai and Sharjah Campuses

As part of EIBFS community engagement efforts to introduce the academic programs offered by the institute, EIBFS organizes school visits open day at its premises in Dubai and Sharjah.345 student attended this event from different schools among Sharjah Dubai Fujairah and Ajman.

The program includes general introduction about the institute, general information about banking and finance sector, an interactive quiz to recap knowledge and understanding, followed by an open question and answer session.

This community outreach program stretches beyond the scope of EIBFS students and trainees to reach students at national and private high schools. The initiative aims to introduce the scope and components of the financial sector and highlight its role in national economic development, as well as banking and finance career paths and relevant education programs.