Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies Trains 20,850 Professionals for First 8 Months Ended 2016

Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS), a regional leader in banking and finance education and training, has once again reported a record training year, for the first eight months ended August 30, 2016.

The institute delivered a total of 833 vocational training and education programmes and activities during 2016 so far – the highest recorded to date. EIBFS also welcomed a total of 20,850 participants for the 8 months ended August 30, 2016, registering an increase of 26% from the start of the year. Aligned with the UAE government’s objective to boost the professional capacities of Emirati citizens, EIBFS also received 5,366 UAE national participants for the 8 months ended August 30, 2016.

Speaking on the strong performance, Mr. Jamal Al Jasmi, General Manager, EIBFS, said: “Through these progressive results, EIBFS once again reaffirms its commitment towards supporting the UAE’s significantly important banking and financial services sector. We are pleased to have welcomed several new students and trainees to our programmes this year. The increased growth in participants across our programmes reinforces our position as a leading institution in the region, that effectively prepares banking and finance professionals with the necessary tools to succeed in the sector. We have also been mandated in supporting the Government’s nationalisation efforts and are pleased to be a key supporter of Emirati talent in the region, which are attested by these numbers.”

He added: “Our desire remains to establish industry benchmarks and develop initiatives in line with market demands. Given the rapid pace of automation on front end banking across the globe, backed by financial technology, it’s imperative that the skill sets of employees, especially UAE nationals, are elevated so that they can work in more critical areas in the future. We will continue to collaborate with our valued stakeholders to ensure we can deliver specialised knowledge, which will keep our students and trainees at the forefront of their careers.”

EIBFS is expected to deliver 570 Annual Training Plan (ATP) programmes by 2017. It has increased the number of training programs compared to 2016 by 4%.

Committed to offering best-in-class services and integrating technology into its programmes, EIBFS also offers an e-learning system that provides over 101 online banking and finance courses in corporation with Intuition. These cover important subjects such as ‘Banking Science & Operations’, ‘Credit Management’, ‘AML & Compliance’, ‘Treasury & Investment’, ‘Marketing & Customer Service’, ‘HR Management’, ‘Islamic Banking’, ‘E-Banking Applications and Risk Management’.

The Institute also introduced new courses in line with industry demands, which cover, accounting, and advanced courses on card operations, corporate restructuring, stress testing and modelling, corporate governance and compliance & risk management for board of directors.

As part of its aims to develop Emirati talent and develop them for leadership positions with the banking sector, EIBFS also delivered a host of Leadership Development Programs for nominated UAE nationals from regional banks. The programs were completed in partnership with key stakeholders such as Insead, Darden School of Business and Harvard Business School. The Institute also hosted a series of workshops and seminars during the year, for various senior-level attendees from the UAE’s banking sector.

Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies Appoints Senior Experts as Part of Organizational Enhancement Strategy

The Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS), a regional leader in banking and finance education and training, today announced the appointments of Dr Philip Hamill as Academic Head and Tony Macrae as Head of Business Development.

In his position, Dr Philip Hamill will be responsible for managing the education and research department at EIBFS, and will contribute to the strategic vision and planning of the curriculum. On the other hand, Tony Macrae will be tasked with managing the business development function at EIBFS, and will be responsible for overseeing and developing the Institute’s business relationships.

Speaking about the appointments, Jamal Al Jassmi, General Manager at EIBFS, said: “We are pleased to welcome both Dr. Philip Hamill and Tony Macrae to EIBFS. We are confident their knowledge will help to enhance our organization, and look forward to their contribution. As experienced specialists in their respective fields, they will support us in providing a progressive and enhanced prospectus for our valued stakeholders. The appointments also demonstrate our commitment to offering the highest quality service to our customers through the employment of highly qualified senior professionals, as the leading training center for banking and financial studies in the region.”

Prior to his current role, Dr Philip Hamill served as Dean of the Institute of Banking, a recognized college of University College Dublin and the largest professional body for banking and financial services in Ireland. He had managed the college’s activities as part of its efforts to professionalize banking and support the long term stability of Irish banking and financial services. Dr Hamill holds a BA (Hons) in Economics, MSc in Accounting and Finance, PhD in Finance, Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and an executive MBA which were awarded by The School of Economics and Political Science, New York University.

Prior to joining EIBFS, Tony Macrae completed an extensive spell at United Arab Bank as Executive Vice President of Business Support. His experience includes over 30 years of business and HR management across the Middle East and Africa. Tony has held leadership positions at both international and local companies, primarily in the banking sector, as well as manufacturing and retail. Tony holds a BA (Hons), an MBA from Wits Business School in Johannesburg and an advanced HR Certificate from the University of Michigan.

EIBFS has been globally integrated with leading organizations, universities and financial institutions to ensure ongoing availability of best-in-class programs and courses in the UAE.

RSD Workshop: Writing an Academic Program

In this workshop will discuss current CAA and NQA standards which need to be followed when preparing the program documentation. In particular, the workshop will concentrate in a current draft plan of a postgraduate program under development, and offer advice and practice on how to write: (a) program learning outcomes, (b) course learning outcomes, (c) course outline, and (d) assessment tasks (following Bloom’s Taxonomy of Hierarchical Learning and in compliance with CAA and NQA). Although the workshop is addressed to the working group preparing a postgraduate program, it is still open to any faculty/staff member who is interested to learn what needs to consider when writing any academic program. The workshop will be repeated over three mornings during exam period. To attend please register at: rsd@eibfs.com

Reducing the labour demand and supply gap in Islamic Finance

Having sustained significant growth since 2013, the world Islamic finance industry is estimated to be worth $1.81 trillion and is expected to reach $3.24 trillion by 2020, according to Thomas Reuter’s latest State of the Global Islamic Economy report. As the industry continues to grow, the demand for a highly specialized and skilled workforce capable of meeting industry demands and requirements increases. A rapidly evolving market, the Islamic finance industry has naturally experienced a demand-supply gap in workforce competencies. With limited human resources and cohesion among the academic sector and the Islamic finance industry, education and training institutions often have difficulty providing relevant in-depth instruction in Islamic banking and finance. A fairly nascent industry with new emerging products and services, it is challenging for academic institutions to equip professionals with unique specifications for day to day operations and knowledge on Shari’ah compliance. This, combined with conflicting interpretations of the Islamic economy and Shari’ah compliant regulations among scholars in the field, further perpetuates uncertainty in the industry thereby hindering innovation and interest in studying and pursuing a career in Islamic finance professionals fearing the risks associated with an unsustainable industry. Further to this, with the majority of Shari’ah and Islamic economy courses taught in Arabic, the industry fosters an entry barrier for non-Arabic speakers interested in the field thereby limiting the industry’s global reach. From the perspective of academic professors and industry trainers, a lack of standardized text material in Islamic finance education and the constantly evolving practices of the Islamic economy has made it difficult to create a focused, comprehensive academic curriculum. Instead, education and training experts today are continuously revising course materials and program objectives to keep pace with local market requirements—their response to the changes a reactive rather than a proactive one. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai, has in recent years expressed his desire for Dubai to be the capital of the Islamic economy. According to a report by Ernst and Young (EY), the Islamic banking assets in the UAE reached $127 billion in 2014 and is projected to reach an estimated $260 billion by 2019. To match these growth projections, the region must develop a skilled and qualified cadre of professionals for a vast range of banking operations. While there has certainly been a lot of work done to help achieve HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, there is still room for banks, governments and educational institutions to improve their training services and initiatives and further bolster the quality and quantity of the industry’s workforce.

According to talent recruitment professionals, the majority of the workforce currently employed in the Islamic banking industry have transferred from a conventional background, and while they are performing at a high level, they are unable to keep pace with the specification of the industry and lack the relevant knowledge to deal with the Islamic banking and finance product structure. While those engaged in product design and structure are well-versed in Islamic finance either through education or long-term association with the industry, those who are engaged in operations, sales and marketing pay less attention to the nature of the product—whether Islamic or conventional. Therefore, this gap between product design, structuring and operational sales is where the Shari’ah knowledge and expertise is required. To counter this, banks should promote a more unified structure within their system to ensure innovation in product design and successful articulation of product offerings to the public, highlighting the unique nature of Shari’ah compliant products. For their part, education institutions must ensure that the programs and courses provided align with industry requirements and demands and equip students and professionals with real time experience. Cohesion and constant communication among the government, academia and financial industry experts and employers will transform the education and training curricula, encouraging up-to-date course materials that incorporate the dynamic demands of the industry. Governments, on the other hand, should increase investments in hard skill education along with technical and vocational training and research and development in the fields of science and technology. Moreover, to guarantee an adequate supply of highly skilled banking and financial professionals, governments and institutions must collaborate to develop corporate financial education – both short term training along with long-term undergraduate and diploma degrees. The UAE cabinet has taken a significant step in this regard with the recent establishment of anew Shari’ah board under the Central Bank. With the objective of unifying Islamic banks in the region, the role of the Shari’ah board will be responsible for setting the standards for Islamic finance products and Shari’ah compliancy in the region. The Central Bank will appoint scholars and oversee the board, who will not replace but liaise with the existing individual Islamic bank boards around the region. A report by Deloitte argued that this board could “reduce future disputes and increase transactions”, further ensuring sustainability in the industry. The launch of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center in 2013 has also promoted Islamic finance through various initiatives, including the Global Islamic Economy Summit, forums to educate the public and funds to support small and medium enterprises in the Islamic economy space. Moreover, published reports and studies on the state of the Islamic economy further educate the public on the booming industry and shed light on Dubai’s strategic objectives to become the capital of the Islamic economy. In the end, the cooperation between banks, scholars, the government and educational institutions will foster a stable, mature and attractive Islamic finance industry. As we work together to promote the Islamic economy, from educating the public on product benefits and offerings to demonstrating the value of obtaining a degree in the field, the region will have the human capital needed to sustain both the industry’s growth and Dubai’s position as a central hub for Islamic banking and finance

Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies Launches the ‘International Journal of Research in Banking and Finance’

The Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS), the regional leader in banking and finance education and training, today announced the launch of the inaugural edition of the ‘International Journal of Research in Banking and Finance’ (IJRBF). The first issue of the bi-annual, blind-peer reviewed online journal that targets professionals in the banking and financial services domain comprises a collection of research papers from leading banking and financial education experts in the region. The journal is the first of its kind in the areas of banking and finance, in the UAE.

Speaking on the initiative, Jamal Al Jassmi, General Manager at EIBFS, said: “The IJRBF journal is the culmination of wider development of research and scholarly activities within the Research and Studies Department (RSD) of EIBFS. This dedicated journal aims to provide a research publishing platform not only for academics, but also for interested bankers and financial experts in niche areas of conventional banking, finance and Islamic banking.”

He added: “As a leading advocate of banking and financial education, EIBFS is pleased to launch this journal, which is certain to be a key resource to the sector, given the country’s strategic goals of empowering its human capital and building a diversified knowledge economy. The publication reinforces the unwavering support that EIBFS offers to the private sector in the region, in articulating the national vision.”

Dr. Constantine Andoniou, Director of the Research and Studies Department at EIBFS, and the Managing Editor of the IJRBF, said: “I am pleased to be part of team which has developed a high quality product. The Research and Studies Department acknowledges the support of our top management, in particular that of Mr Jamal Al Jassmi, GM of EIBFS, whose continuous leadership and efforts for change have led to institutional growth and EIBFS emerging as one of the GCC’s key corporate education and training players, in the banking and finance sectors.”

The IJRBF journal will in future issues explore topics of relevance to the banking and financial services industry including management, business communication, corporate finance, banking statistics, microeconomics, and investment banking, among others. The journal is also set to feature research papers focused on Islamic banking that encompass Islamic transactions, Islamic financial markets, and Islamic investments.

Readers can download the PDF version of the journal online from the EIBFS website under the ‘Research/Academic Publications’ section. The second issue of the journal is set for release in December 2016.