Tuesday 28, February 2017 by Georgina Enzer

Launching “AAOIFI in 850 Days” Report and Shari’ah Standards e-Learning Platform

Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has launched a comprehensive report on AAOIFI in 850 Days.

The report provides concise details covering AAOIFI’s developments in areas of activities, projects, and achievements, over the period from September 2014 to end of December 2016.

“We are pleased to set forth this flagship report which showcases specific aspects of the wide strides being taken by AAOIFI as well its far-reaching accomplishments to the interest of the broader Islamic finance across the globe. This would not have come true without Allah’s blessing, first and foremost, and then the substantial support accorded by my brothers in the Board of Trustees, in addition to the great support by all institutional members, and the pivotal technical efforts exerted by AAOIFI’s Shari’ah Board, Accounting Board, and Governance and Ethics Board, and their respective committees and working groups, and the team of AAOIFI’s General Secretariat, and last but not least all the industry’s stakeholders,” said HE Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman, AAOIFI’s Board of Trustees.

The 68-page report consists of four sections: 1) Standards development and technical activities and their respective subcommittees and working groups. The meetings cover 123 days, of which 626 hours for meeting in session; an average of 3.14 meetings a month). The main outputs of these meeting include development and issuance of 10 new standards, review and revision of 14 standards, and discussion of 18 studies for new standards. The report also sets out the total number of standards projects currently underway, in different stages of completion as 26 projects, expected to complete some of it by end of 2017. This section sheds light on a number of distinctive projects and achievements; 2) Professional development, in which instances include finalisation of agreements between AAOIFI and 28 exam centres for AAOIFI’s professional development certificates (fellowships) across 20 countries. The report specifically cites the near completion of the comprehensive development project for CIPA certificate, which consists, under the new format, of 1600 pages (large size) in four books. Development required more than 10,000 working hours, and up to 65 meetings. The project will be officially launched in April 2017. Furthermore, this section sheds light on efforts to strengthen AAOIFI’s ties with universities, research and academic centres, and professional societies from more than 12 countries. This included almost 55 meetings and participations (workshops, lectures, presentations, visits, distribution of complimentary copies of AAOIFI’s standards, etc.); 3) institutional and organisational development focuses on AAOIFI’s activities and landmark achievements aiming to increase governance and transparency and attain higher levels of professionalism and institutionalism within the organisation. This was possible through the introduction of significant changes at the structural and organisational levels including the formation of three committees (reporting to the Board of Trustees), i.e., the Nominating Committee, the Audit and Review Committee, the Development, Investment and Fund Raising Committee as well as the selection and appointment of the members of new technical boards (AAOIFI’s Shari’ah Board, Accounting Board, and Governance and Ethics Board) from amongst 180 candidates hailing from 37 countries, based on transparent, professional criteria. AAOIFI’s statute was also amended, and a set of seven by-laws, policies and procedures, charters were developed, in addition to the efforts pertaining to accessibility to AAOIFI’s standards and issuances, such as launching of AAOFI’s Shari’ah standards translation projects (for Russian, French, and Urdu languages), and publication of AAOIFI’s standards in paper and digital formats including a mobile app for smart phones; 4) Strategic relationships (section 4) cover AAOIFI’s ties with stakeholders, specifically development of ties with institutional members. More than 70 meetings and visits, involving more than 59 institutions from 17 countries, were carried out.

“In our belief that the key basis for success and the motive for outperformance come through enhanced communication with all active stakeholders in the Islamic finance industry, AAOIFI embarks on efforts to enhance transparency as key to effective communication, in a bid to keep all stakeholders always informed of latest developments in areas of work, activities, and initiatives undertaken by AAOIFI. This comprehensive report aims to serve this end, highlighting specific aspects of the great efforts exerted by AAOIFI over a period of 850 days, thanks to your unwavering support and assistance over a period of 850 days, almost spanning the current term of its Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Hamed Merah, AAOIFI’s Secretary General.

Furthermore, AAOIFI was keen to reach out to a number of other non-member key players in the Islamic finance industry where more than 58 meetings, visits, and events were held with more than 56 institutions from 19 countries. These efforts aimed to introduce AAOIFI to these institutions and recruit them as institutional members. Fortunately, the immediate outcomes of such efforts embodied the membership of 19 new institutions from 11 countries, including nine central banks and regulatory and supervisory authorities from leading Islamic finance markets.

The report highlighted AAOIFI’s keenness to further solidify its relationship with central banks and regulatory and supervisory authorities. In this regard, 56 meetings, visits and activities were carried out, involving more than 42 central banks and regulators from 18 countries, where AAOIFI was introduced to these institutions and efforts were made to attract them as new institutional members and towards wider adoption of AAOIFI’s standards, particularly on a mandatory basis. AAOIFI also fostered its ties and cooperation with more than 22 international organisations through mutual meetings, visits, and activities as well as partnerships and execution of joint projects.

With respect to external activities and conferences, AAOIFI took part in more than 55 events in 20 countries. It also organised five international conferences where latest developments across the industry were discussed and tackled. Total turnout stood at 2,400 participants from 42 countries.

The press conference coincided with the official launching of AAOIFI Shari’ah Standards e-learning platform (English), which provides an interactive, remote e-learning gateway for a variety of professional training programmes designed to equip students with explanations on AAOIFI Shari’ah standards, besides practical exercises, tests, references, and cases studies on each standard.

“We, both in AAOIFI and the Waqf Fund, are pleased that this initiative has been launched, as it will hopefully facilitate the process of learning and training for practitioners, experts, learners and scholars from across the world with respect to AAOIFI standards, which constitute the main reference and authority for the Islamic finance industry, thanks to the professionally designed digital portal that will address various needs and expectations of professionals, among others,” said HE Mr. Khalid Hamad, Chairman of the Waqf Fund, Member of AAOIFI’s Board of Trustees and Executive Director of Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain.

He extended thanks to the BIBF for joining forces with AAOIFI towards implementation of this important initiative which is expected to have positive and sustainable impacts across the industry. He also stressed that in its pursuit of excellence and value-added education and training, the BIBF also seeks to keep pace with developmental needs, sophisticated academic criteria, and new technology as a strategic goal. According to Mr. al Shaikh, this represents the first stage of the project, and later the Arabic version of the portal on Shari’ah standards will be phased in by end of March 2017, while the training materials and content, both English, and Arabic, for AAOIFI’s accounting, auditing, governance, and ethical standards will be launched on by year-end.

The above project is the outcome of a partnership between AAOIFI and the BIBF, under the patronage and support of the Waqf Fund and a number of leading Islamic financial institutions based in Bahrain.

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