Syed Alwi is Agrobank’s new CEO

Agrobank has appointed Syed Alwi Mohamed Sultan as its new president and CEO. The appointment has received approval from Bank Negara Malaysia and the Ministry of Finance. Previously, he had held several senior management positions with various banks such as Bank Muamalat Malaysia, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered Saadiq, The Islamic Bank of Asia and HL Bank Singapore. Syed Alwi has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a first-class master of business administration in Islamic finance from the International Islamic University of Malaysia. Agrobank became a full-fledged Islamic bank in 2015. It provides Shariah-compliant banking products and funding to cater for the halal food industry and agriculture-related activities.

Ten-Year Conversion by Malaysian Bank Shows Islamic Hub Hurdles

It took a Malaysian lender more than 10 years to complete its conversion to a fully-fledged Islamic bank, highlighting the challenge for countries such as Indonesia in their bid to become Shariah funding hubs. Agrobank would have given up its ambition to be Shariah-compliant had there been no commitment from employees and directors, said Chief Executive Officer Wan Mohd Fadzmi Wan Othman. The process was “grueling,” involving numerous meetings with staff and customers, and redoing all documentation, he said. The plan was first announced in 2004, derailed and then revived in 2012. Agrobank’s experience with complex approvals and legal hurdles brings to focus the uphill task for nations seeking to become financial centers for the $2 trillion industry.

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