Oman Daily Observer

The first Omani CEO of full-fledged Islamic bank

The Board of Directors of Alizz Islamic Bank has announced the appointment of Salaam Said al Shaksy as the Chief Executive Officer of the bank. Al Shaksy comes with over 22 years’ experience in retail as well as wholesale banking. He previously held the position of CEO in several local and international banks and financial institutions such as National Bank of Oman, Dubai Bank and Dubai Islamic Investment Group. Currently, Al Shaksy is Chairman of Oman’s Investment Stabilization Fund. He is also a member of the Board of Directors; member of the Board of Executive Committee and Chairman of the Tender Committee of Al Rafd Fund (Oman’s Government funded SME fund); and a Board Member of the College of Banking and Financial Studies set up and supervised by the Central Bank of Oman.

Sultanate’s first full-fledged Islamic insurance launched

Shaikh Abdulmalik bin Abdullah al Khalili, Minister of Justice, has officially launched the first full-fledged Islamic insurance in the country called Takaful Oman, in the presence of Sayyida Rawan Ahmed al Said, Managing Director and CEO of Takaful Oman Insurance Company, Ahmed Ali al Mamari, Acting General Manager, Directorate of Insurance Supervision, CMA, and a number of dignitaries and senior executives from various sectors at the InterContinental Muscat. Al Madina, which has a customer base of 37,000 policy holders, expects the market to grow between RO60 million to RO70 million in worst case scenario and RO150 million to RO180 million in best case scenario in the next three to five years.

Islamic banking: Challenges and solutions

In principle, Islamic banks act as financial brokers between the investors (depositors) and companies or individuals seeking finance solutions that are sharia compliant; sharing the profit/loss. One of the most important principles of Islamic banking is to play an active role in achieving social development. Islamic banks should be able to provide financing solutions for the different investment and commercial projects in a way different from the traditional commercial banks. However, Islamic banking institutions in the world in general and GCC in particular face many challenges on the foremost of which is the inability to attract leaders and manpower specialised in Islamic banking. They are therefore required to provide high quality and intensive training for their staff.

Ministry holds seminar for Waqaf agents

The Omani Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs held a seminar for Waqaf agents, in cooperation with Meethaq for Islamic banking at the Institute of Sharia Sciences. The seminar aims to recall the importance of Waqaf in contemporary life, the call to revive the Waqaf Sunnah in modern methods and strengthening the spirit of cooperation and partnership between the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Waqaf agents and other entities. Many working papers were presented in the seminar. The first paper which was presented highlighted the efforts of the ministry to organise Waqaf work, types and importance of Waqaf, the memorandum of understanding with Meethaq for Islamic banking and the management techniques to develop the Waqaf fund, among others.

Oman ahead in regulating Islamic finance, but vibrant capital market missing

Experts at the seminar of ‘Developing a sustainable Islamic banking industry in Oman’ have said that the demographic changes in the country and the rising employment level will bring a ‘huge potential’ for growth in the financial sector. Islamic banks will need to play an effective role in order to have their share of the cash. When it comes to the regulation of Islamic finance, particularly in liquidity and treasury management, Oman is one of the most advanced countries. However, the lack of a global Islamic capital market, particularly an Islamic interbank market, and the shortage of short-term, long-term, or highly tradable investments which will bring the capital risk, are the main issues concerning the development of Islamic banking.

Islamic banks need comprehensive marketing approach

Omani Islamic banks are expected to follow a comprehensive marketing approach to promote themselves as an alternative for traditional Banks. In other words, Islamic banks need to apply Sharia-compliant recent banking applications. At the meantime, they should consider the risks of financing goods and assets according to Murabaha and Musharakah basics. Islamic banks in Oman will only succeed in introducing and marketing their services/products by satisfying clients’ requirements through saving and financing means. Thus, they should start to conduct studies as well as R&D for Islamic products. Moreover, flexibility is an effective factor to successful banking processes.

Meethaq Sharia Board inducts 2 more members

The Sharia Supervisory Board of Meethaq conducted its first meeting of 2013 under the chairmanship of Shaikh Dr Ali Qaradaghi. The board inducted two new members — Abdulqader Thomas and Dr Saeed al Muharrami. The two experts in the field of Islamic banking will serve as non-Shari’a members and assist the Shari’a voting members, providing insights on various Islamic banking issues. The board reviewed Meethaq activities during 2012 and discussed the strategy for the coming period.

Promoting SMEs in a big way need of the hour

Sharakah is Oman’s fund that supports prospective entrepreneurs in the establishment and running of their own businesses in the Sultanate. It provides capital and assistance in order to develop the SME sector and generate job opportunities. So far, Sharakah has supported more than 50 businesses in 13 years. It also regularly takes part in exhibitions, among which the annual Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Exhibition and Conference aiming to help it reach out to budding entrepreneurs.

Islamic finance to be demand-driven: KPMG

KPMG organised a seminar on Islamic Finance-Lessons Learnt from abroad & Challenges faced in Oman. The seminar was the latest in a series of Breakfast Seminars held by KPMG. At the seminar, a comparative analysis of Islamic Finance models which are implemented in different countries was made and pros and cons of the different approaches were discussed at length. A methodical approach for the development of Islamic Finance industry infrastructure was pointed out to be an optimal approach for best results in Oman.

KPMG to hold Islamic Finance Breakfast Seminar on Oct 15

KPMG's next seminar on "Islamic Finance — Lessons Learnt from other countries and challenges in Oman" will take place on October 15th. Its goal is to gather people involved with both the regulatory and operational aspects of Islamic Finance in Oman. The experience and approaches of other countries in implementing Islamic finance shall be discussed. Furthermore, challenges in this field in Oman shall be pointed out. As a whole, key objectives of KPMG Islamic Finance Advisory Services in Oman are to increase awareness about Islamic Finance, its issues, challenges and solutions.

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