Demand for Islamic Finance qualifications increases, says CISI

By Lora Benson | Oct 20, 2015

The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) has announced a significant increase in the number of Islamic Finance qualifications taken in the Arabian Peninsula over the last 12 months. The increase demonstrates an increased interest in seeking professional qualification in the growing Islamic finance industry.

CISI recorded 111 of its Islamic Finance Qualification exams taken between August 2014 and August 2015, compared to 82 taken in the same period in 2013 -2014. The UAE was the country which saw the biggest increase in people undertaking the exams, with a 35% increase from August 2014 to August 2015.

Matthew Cowan, Regional Director Middle East at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment said: “The increased numbers of people taking professional qualification exams indicates the growing desire to continue improving the standard of Islamic finance services offered in the region, which strengthens the industry as a whole. People choosing the Islamic Finance qualification pathway also demonstrates a desire from individuals to expand their knowledge relevant to their individual careers and personal interest, which contributes to the region’s countries moving toward knowledge based economies.”

Cowan added: “The fact that the UAE has seen the largest increase in exams undertaken underlines the fact that the UAE - and Dubai in particular - is forging its reputation as the world’s Islamic finance capital. As Dubai invests in the Islamic finance industry, this will accelerate the sector’s development in the rest of the region.”

The Middle East has continued to show strong growth in the Islamic finance industry, driven by partnerships with regulatory authorities in the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Palestine, and Lebanon. The mix of Arabic and English qualifications is essential as the industry develops, for professionals looking to upskill their knowledge and for those looking to take a first step towards a successful career in Islamic Banking and Finance.

This trend correlates with the recently released findings of the State of Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) report, which forecasts the Islamic finance industry will continue to grow as the value of assets is expected to increase by 80 per cent to reach $3.24 trillion by 2020. Given that Islamic finance is growing in importance and is considered to be the most developed sector within Islamic economy, CISI recently launched the globally recognised Fundamentals of Islamic Banking and Finance qualification.  

This new qualification provides an introduction to the philosophy of Islamic banking and finance and offers an overview of the industry. It was developed in conjunction with the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance and other industry experts and practitioners, and covers the key Islamic banking and finance principles and concepts including Islamic economics and its worldview, infrastructure and history, Islamic business ethics, and Sharia’a and Fiqh principles. It is the first step in CISI’s Islamic Finance qualifications pathway, available in both English and Arabic.

Continued Professional Development (CPD) is essential to support professionals in their current job roles as well helping them progress in the careers. CPD is about maintaining knowledge, skills and competencies to remain proficient in a fast paced working environment.

From a financial industry perspective in the UAE and regionally, CPD is now a common requirement for members of professional bodies. Knowledge gained through qualifications becomes outdated relatively quickly, and if professionals are to remain up to date with the latest trends they must continue to develop and build on their knowledge. CPD is arguably as important as qualifications – particularly if advisers are to continue to meet the future challenges and demands of the investment market.