Zarinah: Islamic finance talent shortage critical
SINGAPORE: Islamic finance may have grown at a 15 per cent rate per year in the last decade, but the industry still faces a shortage of skilled and experienced professionals.
The shortage is rather critical which needs to be addressed, Securities Commission chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar said in a conference here yesterday.
Although she did not elaborate on the human capital issue, she noted in her speech of the need to expand the cross-border growth of Islamic finance by lawmakers, regulators and market participants.
Coordinated efforts must be put in place, she added that to overcome the challenges faced by the industry.
Among the challenges are the creation of a wider diversity of products, enhancing the availability of information and the development of a comprehensive and reliable Islamic finance database.
Zarinah said there was also a need to facilitate consistency in the interpretation of syariah and the resolution of disputes.
"A critical area that needs attention is the shortage of skilled and experienced professionals in the industry," she said at the 2nd Annual World Islamic Banking conference.
She noted that the opportunities for expanding Islamic finance are aplenty and the growing demand for it will help push the boundaries of the industry further.
"It is heartening to note that the World Bank has formally recognised Islamic finance and has formally designated it as a priority area in its financial sector programme."
Zarinah said in the last decade, Islamic finance has grown by 15 per cent annually with sukuk issuances growing by as much as 40 per cent in 2009.
She also said Islamic finance should be a complement, not the substitute for conventional finance, actually the right target for Islamic finance is to contribute to the growth of financial assets.
"In many countries and regions, there is a need to establish Islamic financial institutions to provide financial services to those who prefer to place their funds in a financial system that is compatible with their belief system."
Zarinah said this will boost a larger share of savings to be mobilised to finance economic activities, bringing about new opportunities for Islamic investments.