Governing Islamic financial institutions

The financial services industry is a highly-regulated industry due to the mobilisation of investors, depositors and policyholders, that is, public funds. Significant public trust demands proper supervision and monitoring of financial services and, hence, the promulgation of statutes, statutory provisions, guidelines and circulars with direct supervision from financial authorities. Soundness and stability of the financial system are the universal concern of all financial authorities, as specified by World Bank Financial Soundness Indicators (FSIs). With regards to regulation of Islamic financial institutions and services, various jurisdictions present different forms of regulatory framework. Variations of such framework are attributed to a country’s specific approach to the adoption of Islamic financial institutions, in particular, and embracing of the Islamic financial system, in general. A social choice to regulate significantly depends on the types of government financial systems and their perspectives on financial liberation, as well as either having a banking (such as Germany) or capital market (such as the United States) orientation. In this respect, the regulators’ view on country, institution and market readiness towards desired transparency and market discipline will effectively influence the nature and degree of regulation.