IRTI appoints Humayon as DG
Dr Humayon Dar

The Islamic banker founded Edbiz Consulting to provide Islamic financial intelligence to the players in Islamic banking and nance

By HABHAJAN SINGH / Pic By TMR

Islamic banker and consultant Dr Humayon Dar (picture) has taken over the helm of Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), the training arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, effective May 2018.

He takes on the role of DG which fell vacant when Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Azmi Omar left to join Malaysian-based International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance as its president/CEO.

Humayon, who holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from University of Cambridge, is the executive chairman of Edbiz Consulting Ltd, a company he founded in 2009 to provide Islamic financial intelligence to the players in Islamic banking and finance.

“We at IRTI would like to explore how we can bring an emphasis on science and technology and innovation to the forefront of the development agenda in the member countries of IDB,” he said in a recent social media update via LinkedIn.

He noted that science and technology, innovation and technology transfer were main determinants of economic growth, and that they were already on the main agenda of IDB.

“A food for thought for those who have been advocating for Islamic finance as a contributor to economic growth. Have we been ignoring an important missing link?” he added.

At the point of leaving IRTI, Mohamed Azmi had led the team to produce the IRTI’s Islamic Social Finance Report 2017.

The report found that the Islamic social finance sector comprising zakat, awqaf and Islamic non-profit microfinance was fast becoming a major component of mainstream Islamic finance.

Background

Humayon and his firm was recently in the news when it got dragged inadvertently to the controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica Ltd, the political consulting firm accused of improperly obtaining the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users.

Due to the issue, the UK-based Cambridge IF Analytica, a member of HD-Edbiz Group, decided to change its name to Cambridge International Financial Advisory Ltd (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,” Humayon told The Malaysian Reserve in a previous interview in April 2018.

Edbiz Consulting — which has offices in London, the British Virgin Islands, Istanbul 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 Cambridge syndicate.

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

Before venturing into his own enterprises, from 2004 to 2007, Humayon was the CEO/MD of Dar Al Istithmar Ltd, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank AG London, badged as the first-ever attempt by a Western investment bank to set up a think tank for the Islamic financial industry.

The idea was to combine academic rigour with professional competence in a most efficient manner to produce “third generation Islamic financial products”, he noted in his LinkedIn profile.

He added that Dar Al Istithmar’s most notable methodology for product development was a Wa’d-based strategy that served as a basis for the development of Islamic-structured products, now offered by most major investment banks.

In 2007, Humayon then founded BMB Islamic UK Ltd as part of the BMB Group.

Since its inception in 2009, Edbiz Consulting has organised a number of Islamic financial intelligence events under its flagship programme called Islamic Finance Access Programme.

Since mid-2011, the firm began focusing on Shariah advisory and structuring, Islamic financial intelligence and advisory, training and education, publishing and Islamic finance advocacy, according to information at Humayon’s LinkedIn profile.

He has also served as an honorary senior visiting fellow at Cass Business School at the City University of London.