Corporate Governance and Stakeholders' Financial Interests in Institutions Offering Islamic Financial Services

World Bank Publications

This paper focuses on the corporate governance arrangements of institutions offering Islamic financial services (IIFS) aimed at protecting stakeholders' financial interests. Many IIFS corporate governance issues are common with those of their conventional counterparts. Others are distinctive. In particular they offer unrestricted investment accounts that share risks with shareholders but without a voting right. This paper first reviews internal and external arrangements put in place by IIFS to protect stakeholders' financial interests. It discusses shortcomings notably in terms of potential conflict of interest between shareholders and holders of unrestricted investment accounts. It then suggests a corporate governance framework that combines internal and external arrangements to provide safeguards to unrestricted investment account holders without overburdening IIFS' financial performance. The paper uses a review of 13 IIFS and regulatory information from countries where IIFS have developed the most.
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Publisher
World Bank Publications
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Published on
Dec 31, 2006
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Pages
30
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Language
English
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Abstract: The structures and processes established within an institution offering Islamic financial Services (IIFS) for monitoring and evaluating Shariah compliance rely essentially on arrangements internal to the firm. By being incorporated in the institutional structure, a Shariah supervisory board (SSB) has the advantage of being close to the market. Competent, independent, and empowered to approve new Shariah-conforming instruments, an SSB can enable innovation likely to emerge within the institution. The paper reviews the issues and options facing current arrangements for ensuring Shariah compliance by IIFS. It suggests a framework that draws on internal and external arrangements to the firm and emphasizes market discipline. In issuing its fatwas, an SSB could be guided by standardized contracts and practices that could be harmonized by a self-regulatory professionals' association. A framework with the suggested internal and external features could ensure adequate consistency of interpretation and enhance the enforceability of contracts before civil courts. The review of transactions would mainly be entrusted to internal review units, which would collaborate with external auditors responsible for issuing an annual opinion on whether the institution's activities has met its Shariah requirements. This process would be sustained by reputable entities such as rating agencies, stock markets, financial media, and researchers who would channel signals to market players. This framework would enhance public understanding of the requirements of Shariah and lead to more effective options available to stakeholders to achieve improvements in Islamic financial services.
A comprehensive guide to mitigating risk and fostering growth in the Islamic financial sector

Islamic finance, like conventional finance is a business of financial intermediation. Its distinctive features relate to the requirement that it abides by Shari'a rules that promote fairness of contracts and prevention of exploitation, sharing of risks and rewards, prohibition of interests, and tangible economic purpose. Islamic finance should not fund activities considered “haram” or sinful. In Islamic Finance and Economic Development: Risk, Regulation, and Corporate Governance, authors Amr Mohamed El Tiby and Wafik M. Grais expound how these distinctive features bear on the opportunities and challenges facing the Islamic finance industry’s development, risk management, regulation and corporate governance.

An experienced banker with various Middle East banking institutions, notably as former Vice President at UAE Union National Bank and Mashreq bank, Dr. El Tiby offers an informed perspective on corporate finance from within the Islamic finance industry. With a long experience in international development and finance, notably as former Director at the World Bank and Founder and Chairman of a Cairo-based Financial Advisors company, Dr. Grais brings global financial experience on the topics of financial systems assessments, corporate governance, Islamic finance, and public policy.

Covers the history and basics of Islamic finance, and provides insight into current conditions and future landscape Explores regulatory framework, including opportunities and challenges for the industry’s development and mainstreaming Presents an approach to developing a systemic Shari'a governance framework to govern operations in the Islamic finance industry
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