Islamic finance firm in Cambridge Analytica crossfire

Cambridge IF Analytica has now changed its name to Cambridge IFA


A London-Based Islamic finance consulting firm was forced to change its name after the intense focus on Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm accused of improperly obtaining the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users.

The firm’s only connection to Cambridge Analytica was its almost similar sounding name.

Cambridge IF Analytica, a member of HD-Edbiz Group of Cos, is now known as Cambridge International Financial Advisory (Cambridge IFA).

“After the Cambridge Analytica controversy erupted, we started receiving calls from various parties.

“We had to write to about 20 clients to state that there was no connection between the two — shareholding or business wise,” Edbiz Consulting Ltd president Prof Humayon Dar told The Malaysian Reserve.

Edbiz — which has offices in London, the British Virgin Islands, Istan- bul and Islamabad, among others — runs the Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Programme, the last held in August 2017 at Clare College, a member of the University of Cam- bridge syndicate.

Humayon said he even received a call from BBC’s Channel 4 which had done an undercover expose of Cambridge Analytica’s modus operandi.

“We had explained to them that there is no connection whatsoever. When the programme was aired, we were not mentioned,” he said.

In its undercover investigation, Channel 4 News had revealed how Cambridge Analytica claimed it ran

key parts of the presidential campaign for US president Donald Trump.

The British data company was secretly filmed discussing coordination between Trump’s campaign and outside groups — an activity which the broadcaster suggested may be potentially illegal.

Cambridge IFA describes itself as a UK-based think tank specialising in offering strategic advice in the field of financial services.

The main activity of the firm is to conduct academically rigorous yet professionally relevant research for financial institutions, multilateral bodies and governments, according to information at its website.

The company CEO is Dr Sofiza Azmi. Prior to joining Cambridge IFA, she was the Labuan Financial Services Authority DG’s office head and a research fellow at the Malaysia-based Islamic finance university, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance.

Cambridge Analytica, on the other hand, provides data-driven cam- paigning and marketing services.

The company offers data analytics, targeted marketing and market research services. It combines predictive data analytics, behavioural sciences and advertising technology with strategic communication for the electoral process.

Cambridge Analytica has been in the spotlight since it was reported in March that the firm used Facebook data gathered by a researcher who created a survey app. The app pulled in personal information not just from those who participated in the surveys, but their Facebook friends if their privacy settings allowed it, reported Bloomberg.

The controversy led to Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg appearing for two days before congressional committees to provide testimony.

By the way, how did they coin the name?

“I came across the name Oxford Analytica, and I liked it. We wanted to register Cambridge Analytica, but it was taken. So, we went for Cambridge IF Analytica,” Humayon said.

Cambridge IFA recently held the Woman-i, an event where they recognised and felicitated women involved in the Islamic finance sector.