Islamic finance in South Africa has been evolving steadily over recent years in the establishment and development of its institutions, products and events but very seldom have we seen the development of human capital in this space that addresses the glaring gap in the market – shariah-based skills and tools that will enable wider Islamic finance market knowledge and awareness, writes SHAIKH ZIYAAT ISAACS.
ON Saturday, September 3, 2022, Al-Himayah, in conjunction with The Old Mutual Black Distributors Trust and iConsult Africa, launched a first-of-its-kind training course in Cape Town – the Certified Shari’ah Advisor and Auditor (CSAA) training programme. The training programme aims to empower 15 South African financial planners by familiarising them with roles and functions in Islamic financial institutions, and preparing them for certification against the global Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) standards.
The programme will equip attendees with an understanding of the guidelines which ensure shariah compliance in accordance with shariah scholars’ rulings, and mastery of the technical aspects used to determine shariah compliance. The 15 individuals will gain advanced knowledge, bring expertise to the broader South African shariah market and service the needs of the conscious investor.
The collaboration of these efforts was cemented earlier this year at the Cape Town International Islamic Finance Conference, where both Al-Himayah and iConsult Africa confirmed their commitment to enable the further reach of Islamic finance knowledge and awareness to the South African public. Al-Himayah then further engaged a key stakeholder in the form of the Old Mutual Black Distributors Trust (OMBDT) to support this initiative as it is also aligned with the trust’s mandate – to utilise its income (including assets or proceeds as the trust may from time to time receive or realise) to promote the establishment, development and sustainability of financial services providers and representatives (defined below) who are black companies or black people, by providing such financial or other support as the trustees may deem appropriate, as envisaged in the revised trust deed.
The collaboration bears testament to what can be achieved in a short period with maximum return when vested parties come together serving common goals – preservation of knowledge and wealth in this instance, which are of the foremost higher objectives of the shariah.
OMBDT is keen to assist deserving and qualifying businesses and individuals, and is proud of its achievements to date. Proposals and initiatives are underway to rejuvenate and reposition the trust to ensure that it stays a meaningful and influential part of the development of the insurance industry – in this instance making provision for the development of Islamic insurance (takaful) through the education of its principles in the training programme.
The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), based in Bahrain, is a standard setting body for the Islamic finance industry and its shariah board(s) consists of prominent shariah scholars who are experts in the field of Islamic economics and finance.
These scholars, after much deliberation, have come up with numerous shariah standards on the most pertinent and pressing shariah issues facing the Islamic finance industry. There are a number of standards which have been published by AAOIFI, and these are being constantly revised. Furthermore, new standards are always in the pipeline.
The shariah standards issued by AAOIFI are meant to act as a recommended guide for Islamic financial institutions; hence, they are essential reading for all stakeholders. In fact, in some countries, the AAOIFI shariah standards are now binding on Islamic financial institutions.
The Old Mutual Black Distributors Trust (OMBDT) is an entity setup from the 2005 Old Mutual ten-year Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment transaction (‘BEE Transaction’) designed to empower and benefit Old Mutual’s South African empowerment partners, staff and communities.
This was achieved with the allocation of Old Mutual plc shares to the value of 13 per cent of the equity value of Old Mutual’s South African operations at the time, being issued to their BEE participants. The objective of the trust is to expand the industry and does not include the promotion or intensifying of sales of Old Mutual products.
Al-Himayah is proudly associated with Fairbairn Consult, a member of the Old Mutual Group and licenced financial services provider. We provide focused expertise in Islamic and shariah financial products assisting and guiding clients in their religious and ethical endeavours.
Al-Himayah offers a wide variety of financial solutions with all major insurance and investment firms, ensuring a high degree of coherence and adaptability. We forge long-term mutually beneficial relationships with our customers in support of providing them advice in achieving their financial well-being. This allows them to live their best lives and protect what is most important to them.
- Shaikh Ziyaat Isaacs [MSc Islamic finance (INCEIF)] is a certified shariah advisor and auditor (AAOIFI). He is the founder and managing director of iConsult Africa and a qualified Islamic finance expert. He is also the Head of Finance for the ARP Group and a lecturer in Islamic Banking and Finance at the International Peace College South Africa (IPSA), in Cape Town.
iConsult Africa is a bespoke Islamic finance and business advisory firm focused on alternative financial solutions based on Islamic principles. Their primary focus is to explore financial solutions with broader social economic impact and inclusiveness.
This article was first published in the September 23, 2020 print edition of Muslim Views.