Thursday 26, October 2017 by

EIBFS hosts first regional MENA conference of the Network of Islamic Finance Training Institutes

The first regional conference of the Network of Islamic Finance Training Institutes (NIFTI) in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) held in the Dubai campus of Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies examined the future of Islamic finance trainings, their critical importance to develop high quality talent for addressing the prevailing demand-supply gap amid the rapidly evolving financial landscape, the quality of trainings imparted and ways to improve and build upon existing programmes.

International Islamic finance leaders such as Khairul Nizam, Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysia-based Finance Accreditation Agency and Yusry Yusoff, Chief Executive Officer of Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia, were among those that addressed an audience of 30 banking and financial experts and trainers representing some of the leading Islamic think tanks, training institutes, regulatory bodies and financial institutions of the region.

The conference, the first of its kind in Mena, complements the inaugural NIFTI Regional Event- East Asia and Pacific (NRE-EAP) held in April in Kuala Lumpur.

The platform convened at a time when year- on-year growth of Islamic banking assets of about 18 per cent drove the overall CAGR to 16.1 per cent between 2010–2014, according to latest EY’s World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2016. Among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with 36 per cent is the highest contributor in total Islamic banking assets followed by UAE at 16 per cent, the EY report pointed out, adding that the GCC market will provide the added acceleration in the last five years of the current decade (2015-2020).

The trends demonstrate the importance of Middle East and North Africa in actively advancing Islamic finance and banking, and consequently, the critical need for sustained and high-quality training and development to meet the market’s unmet demand.

Jamal Al Jasmi, General Manager of EIBFS, said: “The NIFTI Mena conference represents a unique platform for the Islamic finance and business sector in the UAE, the Gulf and the Mena region, bringing together a select group of finance experts and bankers to communicate and share ideas on ways to develop talent at all levels for the marketplace. We at EIBFS are honoured to host the first Mena conference in our flagship campus of Dubai. With GCC and the larger Mena region playing a crucial role in boosting the growth of Islamic banking and finance amidst the entry of millennials as customers as well as employees, the Fintech revolution, consolidation of banks and the more stringent regulatory frameworks, it is important to have a serious and honest conversation on the capabilities of the workforce and what we as representatives of training institutes are doing to address issues of both quality and volume of Islamic finance professionals. The question of leadership in Islamic banking and insurance sectors is as important and in that regard our constant dialogue with the institutions and their human resources to come up with effective strategies of learning and development cannot be underestimated. Our collective responsibility in the way we develop our programmes will go a long way in achieving our objectives.”

Jamal Al Jasmi added: “The conference is a forum to foster a continued discussion with other international training institutions. Our effort falls within the Institute’s framework to evaluate the prospects and aspirations of Islamic banking and financial sector professionals. This includes, most importantly, the UAE nationals. We also aim to bring forth best practises from the international, regional and local levels toward promoting the elements of global stability, competitiveness and growth in the financial sector.”

Noura Abbas Ahmed, Director of Training at EIBFS opened the event, presenting the training and academic programmes of EIBFS and highlighting the continued collaboration with the HR managers of industry to receive continued feedback on the programmes. The conference covered various topics on the quality of training, alternative teaching methods and benchmarking of industry qualifications and trainers. Khairul Nizam of Finance Accreditation Agency Malaysia spoke on the Value of Independent Quality Assurance & Accreditation of Learning programmes, while Dr Philip Hamil, Head of Academics at EIBFS presented his view on Learning and Development’s Contribution to Building High Performance organisations and Yusry Yusoff highlighted the efficacy of Case Study as Teaching Methodology: Bringing Real Life Corporate Stories into Classroom.

Khairul Nizam, Chief Executive Officer of the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA) Malaysia, said: “The increasing number of Islamic finance education providers calls for greater discussions in safeguarding the interest of various stakeholders including students and their employers or sponsors. As a network of training institutions in Islamic Finance, NIFTI provides a conducive platform to discuss and collaborate on issues such as quality education as well as learning and development trends. FAA was pleased to be part of this year’s event in Dubai, where we shared our work in contributing to the greater cause of developing quality Islamic finance professionals.”