Complex Made Simple

IIFM announces new standards to support the development of Islamic finance

IIFM is making concerted efforts to bring unification in the Islamic finance industry and is focusing on key segments to provide transparency, efficiency and cost saving to institutions

The International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) recently held its 33rd Board of Directors meeting and a workshop on its published standards on Islamic hedging and liquidity management hosted by The National Commercial Bank (NCB) at its regional head office in Riyadh.

In his welcome remarks addressed to the packed audience at the IIFM Workshop on Islamic Hedging and Liquidity Management, Mr. Abdulrazak Elkhraijy, Executive Vice President and Head of Shari’ah Group of NCB said, “We are living in a globalized world and in order for the industry to grow further and gain sizeable share of the global financial services industry, there is a need to develop and expand the range of Islamic products, develop IT Solutions, establish legal and regulatory framework, develop human capital and above all, more involvement of Shari’ah scholars to find comprehensive solutions to the complex financial products and transactions and provide the right guidance in accordance with the Shari’ah principles. We need to standardize the documentation for facilitating greater flow of funds between the market players within the domestic boundaries and across the borders while ensuring their enforceability in the various courts of law”.

“In its efforts to take the industry to a higher level of development, IIFM is making concerted efforts to bring unification in the Islamic finance industry and is focusing on key segments to provide transparency, efficiency and cost saving to institutions as well as to jurisdictions active in Islamic finance. The full potential of IIFM can only be realized when most of the market participants support this standard-setting organization created by several regulators,” said Mr. Khalid Hamad, Chairman of IIFM. In this context, he welcomed Mr. Hamed Ali, CEO of Nasdaq Dubai as a new Director on IIFM Board.

The Bahrain based IIFM recently published the Islamic Cross Currency hedging product standard to provide currency and cash flow risk mitigation capability to institutions. In 2016, IIFM plans to complete the Islamic FX Forward standards for risk mitigation and develop the Islamic Credit Support Arrangement. Under its expanded scope of work, IIFM will also be developing standard on Risk Participation Arrangements to support the Islamic corporate and trade finance segment.

Sukuk is one of the key instruments of Islamic finance and after the successful completion of market consultation process; IIFM will now commence its standardization initiatives to tackle structure and documentation issues as well as to provide primary and secondary market guidelines through its comprehensive standardization process with the support of key stakeholders of the industry.

The IIFM Board acknowledged the kind support and guidance of IIFM Shari’ah Board members and appreciated the review and minor amendments to the text of IIFM published standard agreements on Unrestricted Wakalah and Collateralized Murabahah, in line with IIFM well established review process of each published standard.

IIFM has held number of technical workshops and seminars including the recent IIFM workshop hosted by The NCB in Riyadh where experts explained the technical details of Islamic hedging and liquidity management documentation and products. IIFM will continue to organize such events to provide technical knowledge as well as to create awareness and understanding on key issues.

Mr. Ijlal Ahmed Alvi, Chief Executive of IIFM thanked the Board of Directors for their leadership. He also extended his appreciation to The NCB for hosting the meeting and workshop and thanked the IIFM member institutions.

Mr. Alvi also highlighted the importance of technical financial assistance provided by Islamic Development Bank and The Waqf Fund (Bahrain) which is enabling IIFM to push ahead with its plan of developing more standard agreements.