In evidenza

Disruption, fintech and CSR the 3 mantras for islamic finance

wibc second day

 

Convened by Middle East Global Advisors – a leading financial intelligence platform facilitating the development of knowledge-based economies in the MENASEA markets and in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain, the forum is spurring a series of discussions focusing on “Islamic Finance & Sustainable Economic Growth in the Age of Disruption”, a theme that resonates with the conference’s steady vision to serve as a definitive check point for the global Islamic finance and banking industry.

Islamic finance may play an outstanding role in global economy especially if able to leave its comfort zone, with the help of new technologies in front end (improving customer experience) and most of all in backoffice processes.

Showcasing his support for Islamic finance entities to thrive and grow globally and stressing on the way forward for the industry, the Governor of Central Bank of Bahrain, in his address mentioned, “Islamic finance has followed a fragmented growth pattern since the start with various countries in the Middle East and South East Asia taking the lead. These country specific models have achieved reasonable success as measured by the share of Islamic finance in the respective markets. I would like to argue, however, that the reduced pace of growth suggests that we cannot hope for a new growth paradigm while maintaining the status quo. If the developments in the conventional finance industry are any indicator, it is reasonable to expect that regional and global cooperation can open new doors for the Islamic finance sector. The magic of such global cooperation works when some pre-requisites are in place, namely, leadership, standardization, good governance and risk management & compliance.”

“Shari’ah standards, accounting standards, prudential standards and best market practices, all need to be developed for the Islamic finance industry with the global audience in mind. AAOIFI has been doing excellent work on Shari’ah and accounting standards while Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) has developed risk management and capital adequacy standards which conform to global best practices. International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) has made valuable contribution towards standardizing money and capital market contracts as well as financing contracts. The recent endorsement by the IMF of the IFSB’s proposed core principles for Islamic finance regulation and their assessment methodology for financial sector assessments is a great news for the global acceptance of Islamic finance. What we need now is to convince regulators and market players to adopt AAOIFI, IFSB and IIFM standards in their respective markets”, added Mr. Maraj stressing on the need for standardization to enable global growth.

Commenting on the changing face of financial services due to the advent of digitization, Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, Head of Financial Product Development Centre, Islamic Research & Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank in his keynote address stated, “The size of e-commerce is about three times the size of the Islamic financial industry. This means that there is an ample room for the industry to invest and to participate in the digital revolution. Moreover, e-commerce will be a very good channel to manage the liquidity of Islamic banks. This is a challenge that has long been waiting for a solution. E-commerce seems to be a promising sphere. With the fintech revolution, online sales can seamlessly meet the requirement of Islamic finance. If Islamic banks invest in this area, they will be able potentially to reap lucrative returns from a growing large sector, manage their liquidly efficiently, and participate in real economic growth and development.”

The conference also played host to an exclusive interview of H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board, which focused on emerging projects and financing, the value added tax which will be implemented in the Kingdom in addition to the benefits and risks of digitization.

H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi discussed the Government’s integral role in supporting the continuous development of the local economy; encouraging constant collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as creating an ecosystem that is conductive to the success of startups and entrepreneurs, in order to ensure the Kingdom maintains its lead at the forefront of its competitors in digital transformation across industries. Mr. Al Rumaihi also mentioned the key milestones achieved by the GCC countries during the past three decades, and how they have employed the bilateral cooperation as a factor to promote brotherly countries and unite efforts to succeed in the initiatives and plans set in this regard.

Ahead of the panel session on economic growth & sustainable finance, Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive, Al Baraka Banking Group, said, “The World Islamic Banking Conference, has, over the last 25 years, established itself as a key global forum for in-depth discussions on the facets of the continued global growth in Islamic finance. The Islamic Financial Services industry has shown tremendous progress as one of the fastest growing asset classes in the world. The industry continues to expand in many emerging and advanced markets and introduce new standards that should further help develop products and attract investors. The industry’s global appeal continues to grow and attract remarkable attention, including from the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. In order to for Islamic banks to expand their geographical footprints further over the coming years, they must be able to compete more effectively and tackle a number of key challenges facing the industry, including delivering cost efficiencies, building greater talent pools, enhancing corporate governance; leveraging digitization, delivering innovative products that meet genuine market needs; and ensuring risk management systems are up to par. For the Islamic finance industry to build a solid foundation for the next phase of international growth, the industry must undergo transformation in a number of key areas. The 25th Anniversary World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2018) is a key platform for industry leaders to put a spotlight on the challenges, innovations, latest developments and technological solutions essential for further growth of the global Islamic banking and finance sector.”

The conference also saw a Keynote Address by Aziz Elkhyari, Head of Business Development, Casablanca Finance City Authority who spoke about Fostering the development of Islamic finance in Africa and the role of financial centers. This was followed by the joint launch of Casablanca Finance City (CFC)-Thomson Reuters Report – Islamic Finance in Africa: The upcoming frontier that provides an industry landscape of Islamic finance in African countries with an overview of the industry development in 5 African countries including Morocco.

The conference proved to be the ideal launchpad for a number of key financial intelligence reports and also saw the launch of The Global Report on Islamic Finance – 2018: The role of Islamic finance in financing long-term investments by Islamic Development Bank that highlights how Islamic finance could help mobilize long-term funding for development programs.

Other key highlights from the day include the panel discussions focusing on economic growth and sustainable finance, the Fintech Panel on the Digitization Journey of a Global Bank and the Region Round Table focusing on Africa. Leading industry experts analyzed the challenges at hand and focused on coming up with effective suggestions with the ultimate aim of developing a convergence roadmap for the Islamic Finance industry at large.

Annunci
In evidenza

25th WIBC officially kick-started: key insights at the IIFM Awareness Seminar

WIBC 5

 

The 25th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) officially kick-started with a stimulating IIFM Awareness Seminar that covered a broad spectrum of issues, focused on entrenching transparency in advancing sustainable growth in the Islamic Financial Market, on the 26th of November at the ART Rotana Hotel, Amwaj Islands, Bahrain.

With a packed audience of 300 delegates, the 9th annual IIFM pre-conference seminar saw an insightful opening address by Khalid Hamad Abdulrahman Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain and Chairman of IIFM, who discussed IIFM’s 3 Year Strategic Plan (2017 – 2020) and its new initiatives being undertaken in collaboration with other international bodies such as the two Participation Agreements for Islamic Trade Finance that will be launched soon jointly with Washington based Bankers Association of Finance & Trade (BAFT) as well as the master agreements for gold trading being considered with UK based World Gold Council and London Bullion Market Association.

Stressing on the growing need for widespread adoption of standards, Mr. Hamad said, “IIFM has gained much credibility and reached a stage of maturity with sound achievements to date, however, there is still a burning need to get its standards to be used more actively by wider market players which can only happen if there is strong endorsement from regulators, particularly those in Islamic banking markets across GCC and Asia.”

The opening address was followed by an overview of IIFM’s Shari’ah-Compliant Financial Documentation and Product Confirmation Standards. The rest of the day ensued with thought-provoking sessions covering the most pressing issues affecting Islamic financial markets like Trade Finance and the IIFM-BAFT Master Participation Agreements; Developments in the Global Sukuk Market and Gold related Shari’ah-Complaint Documentation & Products Standardization Possibilities.

The seminar concluded with a critical discussion on the latest developments in global financial markets that saw an assessment of Benchmark Rate Reform and the preparedness levels of Islamic financial institutions. The session also discussed the need for digitization of Islamic financial contracts and products and the challenges which Islamic banks have to overcome particularly in adopting smart contracts.

The seminar saw a host of critical insights unfold from Industry Leaders comprising Ijlal Ahmed Alvi, Chief Executive Officer, IIFM; Hammad Hassan, Managing Director, Bank ABC Islamic and Group Head of Islamic Banking, Bank ABCAndrew Naylor, Director-Central Banks and Public Policy, World Gold CouncilLilian Le Falher, Executive Manager, Head of Treasury, FI & Capital Markets, Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain)Omar Mustafa Ansari, Acting Secretary General, AAOIFIMian Nazir, Chief Executive Officer, Dar Al Sharia; Habib Motani, Partner, Clifford Chance LLP; Dr. Hatim El-Tahir, Director, Audit & Assurance, Deloitte & Touche – Middle East among others.

 

In evidenza

The next little thing

 

mattoni

Probably everybody knows that story about a guy who meets three builders on their lunch break. “What are you doing today?” he asks the first. “I’m putting brick after sodding brick on top of another,” complains the first. “What are you doing today?” he asks the second. “I’m building a wall,” replies the second. But the third builder instead replies: “I’m building a cathedral!”

Clearly, the encouragement between the lines is that you really need to get out of the so-called “Doorway Effect” and that a process as well as an action needs to be thought of at multiple levels if it has to be successful.

So that means that the first two builders were wrong?  We can answer by saying that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”: if you don’t start putting (efficiently) a brick on top of another there will be no cathedral at all.

As strange as it may sound, in the real world the same person can’t exist in two times and places, but firm can

                     .the next little thing

If you look at the big picture, suddenly the cathedral will appear in your eyes. Then probably you’ll be inclined to concentrate with the following things:

benchmarking: how the other cathedrals were built?  How do they look like?  Which is the most beautiful?

innovation: what’s next? Real innovation means projecting a new cathedral or instead thinking about a breakthrough building something completely different of even more ambitious?

If instead you are one of the first two builders, welcome in a completely different world. Welcome in the world of incremental innovation. In such a case innovation is about:

benchmarking: mostly an internal matter. Who’s the most efficient builder? Who, between the subjects performing task similar/equal to mine, is adopting an approach that can be transformed into a best practice?

improving the process: how can I put a brick on top of another quicker (and better) than ever before?  Can I think of adopting some slightly different material?  Can I reduce errors/waste?

innovation:  mostly incremental.  The most widespread kind of innovation. It means an innovation that concerns an existing product, service, process, organization or method whose performance has been significantly enhanced or upgraded.

Here is the point. In your organization you need to frame both things: both the brick and the cathedral. Looking for disruption will be an healthy and wonderful bet on a different future, but in the end every great innovation will become routine and incremental innovation is the only thing that will allow your firm to stay ahead in business. And this  matters for every firm and business environment, not just for low-wage countries or ow- and medium-technology industries or mature firms.

Yes, because incremental innovation is important, being largely the dominant form of innovation.

In facts, blue ocean is some kind of unicorn. Rounded on the side of caution 90% of innovations is like that: a small continuous process where innovation is always in the next brick, or wall. In facts, buliding a new cathedral can be challenging, being disruptive can be fashionable and sound positively ambitious too, but at the other side its a very complex process, rather than a discrete event, and generally implies a sophisticated and risky process

And so what?

There are anyway some typical warnings to be taken into account:

Is your firm sensitive to incremental innovation? This is strictly related to giving the chance to your team to exchange their experience, concentrate on product/service specification, register/formalize those small improvements

Does your firm reward incremental innovation?  This not just about providing training and know how but also being ready to timely transform a series of positive experiences and practices into best practices, and into a continual advance in change management process,

-does your firm look for innovation hidden in (apparently) daily /routine processes and practices?

matrioska

How is R&D managed inside your company? What about  its objectives and priorities?

That will be a useful exercise: from time to time, asking your team about the way they see their job. Are they taking the brick/wall or cathedral side?

 

In evidenza

The 3 E issues: Islamic finance, startuppers and a common paradigm.

Lets’ look at facts & figures.

Reading the latest available reports and figures on development (and related issues) of islamic finance from the point of view of entrepreneurs and young startuppers across the world a few facts are clear.

First of all there are facts and requests coming from this specific entrepreneurial and financial environment that are surprisingly similar or even equal to the requests of new entrepreneurs not belonging to that area.

The most frequent issues that young Islamic entrepreneurs are facing seem related to the following subjects:

  1. Bridging the skills gap, through specific training both inside startups and within the stakeholders providing services to entrepreneurs (such as banks, consultants, incubators etc);
  2. Developing leadership programs, identifying potential leaders;
  3. Creating the conditions for benchmarking inside and outside its own cultural sphere;
  4. Rising the service-quality bar: 5 characteristics are the most appreciated/requested good, specialized, updated, integrated on demand services for startup and generally speaking, entrepreneurship;
  5. Create start-up hubs, mentorship schemes for entrepreneurs; allocate dedicated advisors within institutes to help develop ideas, finance scholarships for entrepreneurs and nurture entrepreneurship and social enterprise as a part of CSR;
  1. Make CSR not just a paper producing activity or simply a report, but a chance of creating value through enhancing the social impact of an entrepreneurial idea;
  2. Dialogating with stakeholders and finding the right tools and environments to communicate clearly and effectively with them, “certifying” at the same time their real interest in investing in a firm/startup;
  3. Combining finance and entrepreneurship, finding always the ideal financial product/service product/service for the present state of development of a firm;
  4. Dialogating with academic world and connecting with research programs.

The truth is that we can say almost the same thing for the rest of the world. The same problems affect startuppers  with every kind of background and are generally speaking related to the following categories that you can be summed up as the “3 E”:

ENVIRONMENT: finding a smart, virtual and physical environment, where a business can grow and the develop/generate values accordingly to its entrepreneurial culture

ENTRENEURSHIP: transforming an idea in an autonomous, balanced and self-organizing entity able to identify and interact with the external environment

EQUITY: acquiring the best financial culture able to make the most efficient use of resources in order to timely accelerate, boost and stabilise startup growth.

So, it really looks like that every startup is carrying some specific financing, cultural, and social issues because, in the end, every new entrepreneurs is introducing somehow newly formed DNA into the system. This DNA makes the startupper look for a specific and sometimes unique combination of the 3 E.

Exactly like it happens for many ethnic, migrant or community startups.

So, for those who are daily trying to provide startuppers with right services, will be very important to consider that probably every newly established company is to a certain degree a kind of “stranger” into the business environment, an unknown variable sometimes not easy to read.

In evidenza

The Naked Pitcher presents: LAB-ON-CHIP & BIO-DATA ANALYTICS. A new event.

lab on chips and biodata

Recent interdisciplinary scientific developments and new technologies in the near future will allow, thanks to new diagnostic approaches, to abandon a system where prevention is sporadic and medical intervention is conceived right after the onset of a disease and move on to a new preventive, predictive, personalized model with routinary, constant on going controls.  We would then move from a structured model to treat the diseases to a structured proactive model to prevent the onset of diseases, which would allow all citizens to enjoy those social rights enshrined by the Constitution, specifically the right to health, while reducing global expenditure on health.

 

 

 

Thanks to Dr. N. Mastrolia for his special  effort on this field. The Naked Pitcher takes part and supports the Eleatiche Study & Reseach Centre on Possible Futures and Scenarios “Eleatiche – Centro Studi sui Futuri Possibili” .  

locandina napoli chips and biodata

In evidenza

Mismanagement 2: some further antidote

 

 

torre d'avorio

 

Due to the interest on the previous article (Mismanagement) here some further clarification and (hopefully) useful “mismanagement predictors

  1. Communication: many ISO standards and reporting guidelines too are concerned with concepts like “stakeholder engagement”/ “communicating with stakeholder”. Make sure that managers into your organization do not operate in vacuum: management is certainly made of a personal vision and some important beliefs, but is mainly about keeping a constant contact with reality, and performing as many “reality checks” as possible. Therefore, in this field, the sooner the better; introducing and using such standard as ISO 9001:2015; ISO/IEC 20000 and guidance or reporting guidelines such as ISO 26001 or GRI (https://www.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx) forces even the most reluctant manager to have an (official) dialogue with representatives of the “real “ world. To hear their voice, to answer their questions, makes more difficult mismanagement and unrealistic or just selfish behaviour to take place. Keep also in mind that the above mentioned standards are based on a widespread concept of sustainability: it means getting used to evaluate managers not just for their immediate results, but also based on how sustainable those results are;
  2. Training: training means empowering people; it means also knowledge sharing: being most of the companies nowadays based on knowledge, having in place an advanced training program is certainly a powerful message. It means that your company is creating the preconditions for reducing information asymmetry between different organizational levels, and, most important, the preconditions for supporting change through the creation of a new (internal) generation of managers. Generally speaking, organizations that support individual change show aòso a much better overall organizational readiness to change at all levels;
  3. Permeability: sometimes, an organization loses the capacity of timely transmitting the right signals through all the different organizational levels, like it happens in a body when nerves get damaged. That equals to slowly insulating managers in an ivory tower. Mismanagement can therefore occur as a result of a not intentional behaviour, but instead of an organizational pathology that drastically reduces firm’s sensitivity for changing environmental conditions;
  4. Customers: in many innovative business models, customer is CEO, being able to determine product/service changes, influence company’s marketing and communication, etc. A possible antidote to mismanagement is to renovate from time to time the extensive survey on “customer’s needs/voice” that surely every founder performed at the very beginning of its entrepreneurial journey. Just because you were once able to listen carefully to your customers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that now it has to be always the other way around (customers passively adopting your smart product/services);
  5. Suppliers: yes, suppliers are very important partners. Sometimes even irreplaceable. But suppliers are firm too, and exactly like clusters and networks of firms can suffer the effects of mismanagement resulting in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome that discourages critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints. So from time to time, experiencing and testing new approaches, experimenting new partners starting from non-critical processes can provide to the management an healthy internal benchmark. In fact, not always relying on the usual solutions is a good antidote to mismanagement too.
  6. Organizational climate: Yes, is very important to enjoy a positive organizational climate. Everybody knows that. But a two things should be stressed more than others:

a)The importance of a mistake. The ability of management to address and communicate with examples, because it seems that especially managers are afraid to set the right example by openly admitting they did something wrong (not understanding that there is much more to learn from a mistake than from a success), but if they do, they develop antibodies to mismanagement and so does the organizations they lead, because they are permitting a person to do things incorrectly or make errors of judgment without consequences, empowering themselves and learning how to take and handle risks. Mismanagement occurs where and when an organization is not taking risks anymore;

b) Organizational Forgiveness: it’s an important antidote, because it means being able to accept conflict, accept different point of views, leading the organization objectively and without taking revenge on those standing on the other side of an issue and opposing a change.