CIIF expands its flagship programme globally
Azura Othman

Collaboration with banking institutions to seek competent bankers is expected to be completed next year

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH

THE Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF) is expanding its flagship professional programme, the Chartered Professional in Islamic Finance (CPIF), to foreign bankers.

CIIF CEO Dr Azura Othman (picture) said the qualification body is expanding and strengthening its programme worldwide within two years.

“For the next one to two years, the CIIF will be focusing on developing and strengthening the CPIF and marketing the programme globally,” she noted in an email.

Azura added that CIIF has been setting its footprint in the domestic market through several partnerships with local financial bodies of Islamic banking.

In Malaysia, the plan for institutionalisation of the qualification has already begun with the signing of joint declarations with the members of the Association of Islamic Banking Institutions Malaysia, Malaysian Takaful Association and the Association of Development Finance Institutions of Malaysia in 2018.

“These joint declarations represent industry-wide commitments to professionalise the Malaysian’s Islamic finance industry,” she added.

The partnership with financial bodies is also aimed at identifying the potential high-value employees in the Islamic banking sector.

“One of the commitments within the joint declarations is the commitment to encourage the relevant senior personnel in their respective members’ institutions to attain the CPIF professional qualification. Another commitment is to identify and sponsor highly potential employees to go through the CPIF programme,” she said.

In line with strengthening CIIF’s flagship programme, Azura said a collaboration with banking institutions to seek competent bankers is expected to be completed next year.

The CIIF is conducting a pilot initiative with Bank Rakyat in conjunction with its “The Islamic Banker” management trainee programme.

“Since the beginning of 2018, CIIF has had the privilege to pilot the CPIF modules with two batches of Bank Rakyat’s management trainees. The pilot project is expected to be completed in early 2020, following which, we will welcome the first-ever graduates of the CPIF programme,” she said.

Azura added that empowering Islamic finance practitioners who are practising in the conventional finance space has been one of the challenges faced in building a culture of professionalism and ethics in Islamic finance.

“In some situations, the principles are compromised in meeting cost efficiency. What is required is to focus on managing the business in applying management tools that keep to the pillars of Shariah and its objectives,” she said.

She added that awareness and promotional activities on Islamic finance have to be done to widen the sector’s exposure and its values.

The public needs to be educated on the differences between the conventional and Islamic finance. Even after more than three decades of implementation in Malaysia, quite a few people are still unable to appreciate the value of Islamic finance apart from it being interest-free financing.

“Much of the confusion to a certain extent comes from the failure of the people within the industry to espouse and articulate its values and differentiation,” she said.