GIFA 2021 – A SUCCESS STORY AMIDST UNCERTAINTY
The Islamic finance industry, over the years, has emerged as an integral and significant alternative financial system to the conventional global financial landscape. However, the COVID 19 pandemic disrupted the industry and put to test the resilience and sustainability of Islamic finance. The current crisis also put focus on ethical consumerism and Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) factors as UN SDGs are approaching the finish line. Islamic finance, intrinsically, integrates sustainability and accountability, combining all the goals presented by the UN and has therefore appealed to a wider market.
The global Islamic financial services industry had assets under management worth around US$2.941 trillion at the end of 2020 (Global Islamic Finance Report 2021). An industry experiencing a strong performance in 2019 was expected to increase even more, which was actually the case. However, lot of developments expected to take place in the Islamic finance industry slowed down owning to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the grim outlook, this also presented unprecedented opportunities for Islamic finance to mature as an alternative financial system, with assets expected to attain a size between US$3.789 trillion and US$5.115 trillion by 2025.
Most of the contribution to the global Islamic finance assets comes from the Islamic banking sector, which comprise 73.1% of the global Islamic finance industry in 2020, equating to US$2.150 trillion in global assets.
The Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) were founded in 2011 in as an endeavour to celebrate the achievements of governments, institutions and individuals in IBF, with an ultimate objective to promote commitment to Islamic finance, with adherence to Shari’a authenticity and the promotion of social responsibility.
Since its debut, over 550 awards have been presented to exceptional individuals and institutions drawn from more than 60 countries in different continents. These include public sector individuals and organisations, businesses from the financial services, manufacturing, education and technology; and social sector organisations serving different causes in health, education, women empowerment and children welfare.
The recipients of our top award – the Global Islamic Finance Leadership Award – known as GIFA Laureates have included: HE Tun Abdullah Badawi, Former Prime Minister of Malaysia (2011); HRH Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak (2012); HE Shaukat Aziz, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan (2013); HE Nursultan Nazarbayev, First President of Kazakhstan (2014); HH Muhammadu Sanusi II, the then Emir of Kano, Nigeria (2015); HE Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia (2016); HE Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti (2017); HE Bakir Izetbegovic, Former Chairman of Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina (2018); HE Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa (2019); and HE Dr Arif Alvi, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (2020).
The Global Islamic Finance Leadership Award 2021 was this year presented to His Excellency Ma’ruf Amin, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia. HE Ma’ruf Amin was inaugurated as Vice President on October 20, 2019. Following his candidacy, he resigned as Supreme Leader (rais ‘aam syuriah) of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Islamic organisation. He is an Indonesian Islamic scholar, of immense influence and credentials. HE Ma’ruf Amin is also the chairman of the National Committee for Sharia Economy and Finance (KNEKS). Institutionally KNEKS is a representation of the Indonesian government in the mission of developing Islamic economics and finance in the country. In this role, he is playing a critical role for promotion of Islamic economy, banking, and finance, under the dynamic leadership of HE Joko Widodo, the 2016 GIFA Laureate.
Other GIFA winners come from around the world and are selected based on a proprietary methodology, making GIFA the most objectively administered awards in the Islamic financial services industry. This year there were more than 70 awards presented to individuals and institutions for their contribution to the development of Islamic banking and finance.
Professor Humayon Dar, Chairman Global Islamic Finance Awards, remarked in his welcome speech, “This year, we are holding the Awards Ceremony virtually from London for the whole world. This inevitability is obviously due to the COVID-19 that has restricted international movements. I am pleased to share with you that COVID-19 has not affected Islamic banking and finance uniquely. Islamic financial markets have embraced the change efficiently and effectively. The year 2020 was, alhamdo lillah, business as usual as most Islamic banks reported profits, in some cases with very impressive figures if the provisions are taken into account with the net end of the year profits. 2020 ended with a bumper year for sukuk market globally.”
Professor Dar, commended all the winners on their achievements. “This year’s GIFA is celebrating a record number of Islamic financial institutions and individuals. We have winners from the USA, UK, South Africa, the Middle East and Asia. I, on behalf of the Awards Committee, congratulate the winners this year, hoping that they will continue to contribute to the success of their organisations and of the global Islamic financial services industry. It is your hard work, dedication and commitment that the industry stands today at the historic mark of 3 trillion US dollars.”
Individuals and institutions from over 15 countries across 5 continents were honoured for their contributions in promoting sustainable business practices to achieve positive socio-economic development while being environmentally responsible.
Komite Nasional Ekonomi Keuangan Syariah (KNEKS), the National Committee for Sharia Economy and Finance, was established to increase the development of the Shari’a economy and finance ecosystem and make Indonesia a World Halal Centre. KNEKS was the proud winner of the most prestigious award, the Global Islamic Finance Leadership Award (Institution) 2021, for its efforts in the development of the Shari’a economic and financial ecosystem and in making Indonesia a World Halal Centre.
The Islamic Finance Personality of the Year Award 2021 was won by Adam Ismail Ebrahim, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Investment Officer of Oasis Group Holdings (OASIS CRESCENT), a wealth management organisation he established in 1997. With keen entrepreneurial acumen, a passionate and disciplined approach to investments, Ebrahim’s leadership has developed Oasis into a well-diversified and sustainable business in the regulated ethical investment space. Prior to establishing Oasis, Adam cultivated his experience through the time he spent working for Deloitte & Touche in South Africa and in London before assuming positions as an analyst, portfolio manager, director, and partner of a prominent asset management organisation. With over 38 years of experience in the financial services industry Adam’s skill and leadership have ensured that Oasis delivers real value to all its investors. Oasis offers its investors, based in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Mauritius, Singapore, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Malaysia amongst others, access to its highly rated and well-structured products through a personalised service offering. As the Chief Executive Officer, Adam is responsible for the strategic direction and operating agility of the firm, including its financial soundness, the development of new and improved business, the delivery of simple and relevant product solutions, creating and sustaining strategic alliances, leading the Group’s customer service capability, optimising the business processes with technology, and motivating and mentoring a skilled and determined team.
“What an honour to receive the 2021 leadership award for Islamic Finance Personality of the Year. The pioneering work to introduce Islamic finance to South Africa and place this country competitively within the Islamic finance framework has resulted in a stronger and robust operating environment. Islamic finance is virtuous, prudent and rewarding to its investors and what a privilege it was been to witness the transformation and positive impact of introducing socially responsible wealth management to every country in which we operate and distribute our products.”
Irfan Siddiqui, founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Meezan Bank has been named as the Islamic Banker of the Year 2021. He is a visionary pioneer in Pakistan’s financial services industry, and was previously founding CEO of Al Meezan Investment Bank, that was later converted into Meezan Bank. Meezan Bank is now the largest Islamic Commercial Bank in Pakistan. Mr Siddiqui served for almost ten years in large financial institutions in the Gulf, most notable of which are Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). His growing unease with conventional interest-based finance and the lack of any Shari’a-compliant financial institutions in Pakistan led him to explore opportunities to create and develop such institutions.
“I am truly humbled to be receiving the prestigious Award of the Islamic Banker of the Year 2021 by GIFA. All praises are for Allah Almighty who provided this opportunity for me and Meezan Bank to be part of this celebration. I am receiving this award as a proxy for the entire 13000+ staff members of Meezan Bank who have relentlessly worked very hard over the past 19 years to bring this Bank from a single branched bank to over 800 branches across Pakistan.”
The GIFA CEO of the Year 2021 was won by Eqhwan Mokhzanee, Chief Executive Officer at AmBank Islamic Berhad for AmBank Islamic’s role in the Islamic financial services sector. Eqhwan manages and oversees AmBank Islamic and is also responsible to chart its strategic direction, and champions AmBank Group’s Sustainability Agenda. Eqhwan has more than 20 years of corporate and financial services experience. He started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in London before joining the corporate advisory practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Kuala Lumpur. Eqhwan is the 1st Chairman of the industry-level Value-based Intermediation (VBI) Working Group to develop sectoral guides for the palm oil, energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors and activity which were issued on March 31, 2021. Eqhwan was named as the Best Islamic Banking CEO Malaysia by Global Banking & Finance Review for three (3) consecutive years (2019 to 2021) and the Islamic Banker of the Year 2019 by Global Islamic Finance Awards. He was also conferred the Banking CEO of the Year Malaysia 2020 Award by the International Business Magazine.
“I am truly humbled and honoured to be accorded this prestigious award which is a recognition of not only AmBank Islamic’s role in supporting our customers, but also as a catalyst in deepening the depth and breadth of the Islamic finance industry. This award is a tribute conferred through me, to the leadership and colleagues at AmBank Islamic and AmBank Group, and to our customers and other stakeholders for placing their trust in us.”
The Most Outstanding Leader in Islamic Finance 2021 was presented to Muhammad Afaq Khan, Head Islamic Banking, HBL for his efforts in extending the outreach of Shari’a compliant Islamic banking products and services. Muhammad Afaq Khan is globally recognised Islamic Banker and has been awarded an ‘Islamic Banker of the Year’ by WIBC, amongst other industry accolades. He joined HBL Islamic Banking in February 2019 to scale up the Islamic franchise and is a part of the Executive Committee of the bank. Mr. Khan is also the Chairman of Al Rajhi Investment and Banking Corporation (Malaysia). He led the first Sovereign Sukuk for the Government of Malaysia, and has served on the Board of Amanah funds and on the investment management committee of the funds. Previously, he served as Group CEO of Islamic Banking, Standard Chartered Bank (Saadiq), where he contributed efforts in winning over 200 industry awards for the institution. Prior to that, he was part of the senior management in HSBC Group to establish the Islamic banking business. He served as Global Head of Asset Finance and Advisory of HSBC Amanah and successfully developed the Islamic strategy for Capital Markets, Corporate Finance for HSBC Group.
“I accept this award on behalf of HBL. This belongs to the hard work done by the team. We are very committed to Islamic finance and very grateful to the Board of Directors, the President and my Colleagues in the Executive Committee, who have provided us this platform to promote Islamic finance in Pakistan.”
The Best Emerging Islamic Fintech Leader 2021 was won by Khalid Parekh, Founder and CEO of Fair, for creating a halal digital banking experience in the US. Originally from India, Mr Parekh quickly established himself as an innovative mind in his new homeland. After making a name for himself worldwide, Mr Parekh’s vision led him to establish AMSYS Group, a multi-million-dollar IT firm which owns 14 companies, including several technology and health care firms. Along the way, he has amassed numerous awards and accolades. Mr Parekh’s vision for Fair is driven by solving problems he experienced as an immigrant striving for the American entrepreneurial dream. From not having access to financial services in his language to complicated fee structures, Mr Parekh overcame these barriers by creating Fair—the first-ever, halal-certified neobank in the U.S. HIs vision is simple—offer membership-based services to eliminate surprise fees that prevent financial freedom and savings opportunities. Fair is his way of paying it forward and is humbled by the opportunity to serve others.
“I came to this country with very little money and limited knowledge of how banking works in America. I made a promise to myself to translate my success into others’ opportunities. Fair is my way of offering a hand to those who want access to opportunities they may have never thought possible. This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication our team has exhibited at Fair. It truly signifies how our efforts are being recognised amongst the FinTech space. I want to especially thank the GIFA Award Committee for seeing the value in what Fair offers. Most importantly, it affirms why we are doing this important work—to provide an ethical, equity-based financial path for everyone, so that they may build wealth—for themselves and for generations to come.”
Dr Adnan Aziz, Director, CEIF, Ajman University was presented with the Islamic Finance Advocacy Award 2021. Dr Aziz is a formally trained Islamic economics, banking and finance professional with a unique blend of in-depth formal academic training and decades-long rich academic/professional industry experience. He has been involved in engineering and structuring of multi-billion dollar worth of Islamic financial transactions globally. He has proven track record of providing strategic direction, motivational leadership & operational oversight to the businesses managed in his professional career. He is also known for being a distinctive placement specialist with track record of having raised multi-million dollars of private investments into Islamic financial products. He is a dedicated pro-poor development activist with hands-on experience of having developed Islamic microfinance and small enterprise development infrastructures. He takes pride in being amongst the pioneering proponents of Islamic social finance supporting commercially viable integration of social responsibility into the mainstream practice of financial industry.
“News of the prestigious ‘Islamic Finance Advocacy Award 2021’ by the highly celebrated GIFA came just when I started to reflect on the humble contributions made to the industry during my professional career thus far. This timely global industry recognition made me feel content that at least I am on the right trajectory, despite there being a lot more still to do. I am very grateful to the GIFA Committee for having chosen me for this auspicious award. I wish to extend my gratitude as well to GIFA for being a flagship provider of industry recognition.’’
The award for the Most Outstanding Islamic Bank 2021 is won by Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL), a tribute to the outstanding services rendered to the community. IBBL is the first-generation private commercial bank of the country, was established with the mission of introducing a welfare-oriented banking system. The Bank started its operation in 1983 with 10% share of the Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh with considerable amount of foreign and local shares. In the journey of 38 years, IBBL has materialised its commitment to all stakeholders as well as has become highly professional, most compliant and strongest bank in Bangladesh. IBBL handles highest foreign trade of Bangladesh economy i.e., import US$3330 million, export US$1579 million and remittance US$3153 million with market share 9%, 8% and 27% respectively up to August 2021. IBBL is the highest remittance collecting bank in Bangladesh. IBBL has been conducting its banking business having consistency with national development policies prioritising industrialisation, trade and manufacturing industries as well as service sector. Bangladesh Bank recognised IBBL as Sustainable Bank in the country. IBBL is amongst world’s top 1000 banks for last 9 consecutive years rated by UK based financial magazine `The Banker’ in consideration of strength, size, performance, soundness and return on assets.
“Being the largest private commercial bank in Bangladesh, we lead the banking sector in all business and financial parameters. We are working for inclusive growth, poverty alleviation and women empowerment through SME and micro finance programs as well as for industrialization. As Shari’a compliant bank, we are committed to ensure distributive justice, balanced growth and welfare maximization for the society.’’
The Best Islamic Bank 2021 goes to the Alinma Bank for providing a comprehensive range of Shari’a-compliant retail and corporate banking and investment services. Alinma Bank was established in Saudi Arabia under Royal Decree on March 28, 2006. The bank is fully Shari’a-compliant, and strives to deliver forward thinking, innovative, exemplary products and services that meet customer needs and expectations. Alinma today owns one of the most advanced banking infrastructures with regard to technological capabilities, branch network, remote channels, and product and service innovation. This focus, along with a commitment to treat its customers as “partners”, has resulted in noteworthy, sustainable growth. Alinma’s products and services are designed to meet the real and pressing needs of a growing and changing market. With full commitment to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative, Alinma understands the importance of continually transforming and refining its business in order to be of true value to its partners, the community, and the kingdom as a whole. Alinma Bank has four wholly owned subsidiaries: Saudi Financial Technology Company, Alinma Investment Company, Al-Tanweer Real Estate Company, and Alinma Cooperative Insurance Agency. The Bank also holds a stake in and is a founder of Alinma Tokio Marine Company, which provides Shari’a-compliant, cooperative insurance products and services, ERSAL Financial Remittance Company, and Bayan Credit Bureau Company.
“This has been a year filled with both challenges and opportunities, and we are pleased to have maintained and improved on our level of performance. Thanks to our commitment to customer-centricity, and to the digitisation of our customer experience, we have been able to provide seamless, exemplary customer service that has engendered trust and confidence among our valued customers in all categories and at all levels of service. I would like to thank GIFA for honouring Alinma with this award; and it is my sincere hope that we will all continue to grow and thrive within the Islamic banking industry.’’
Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), the central bank of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, won the Best Central Bank of the Year 2021. King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman ordered the issuance of the first Saudi Monetary Law. Later in 1952, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) was established. During that period, SAMA was acting as the Saudi Government’s banker with primary functions pertaining to issuing and supporting currency (the Saudi Riyal), consolidating its value, carrying out the work of the government bank and supervising banks and money exchangers. Thereafter, SAMA began to set up and manage the monetary policy, issue financial regulations and rules, supervise financial institutions and continue issuing the currency throughout its historical stages. The Kingdom moved into a new era towards the future and development through an ambitious and limitless aspiration (Kingdom Vision 2030), in which SAMA played a pivotal role. The Saudi Central Bank continues to be financially and administratively independent, as well as pursuing its duties such as handling the banking affairs of the government, minting and printing the national currency (the Saudi Riyal), strengthening the Saudi currency and stabilising its external and internal value.
“Indeed, we are continuously growing and developing our Islamic finance market, seizing on the opportunities of technology and digitalisation. This award is a testimony of the Kingdom’s achievements as a result of the Financial Sector Development Program, under Vision 2030, which aims at ensuring the formation of advanced financial markets, and establishing a financial sector that can serve as an enabler, driver and catalyst for a more diversified national economy based on private sector-led growth.’’
The proud winner of the Islamic Finance Advocacy Award 2021 is the Central Shari’ah Board for Islamic Banks, the national non-profitable corporate body of Islamic banks and Islamic banking windows operating in Bangladesh. The main objective of CSBIB is to provide all-out cooperation and assistance to its member institutions in tracking the right path to Islamic banking and finance while ensuring Shari’a compliance. Currently, the member institutions of CSBIB include 9 fully-fledged Islamic banks, 14 banks offering branch/window-based Islamic banking services and 1 non-bank Islamic financial institution. CSBIB has been playing a pioneering role since its inception in promoting the best practices of Islamic banking and finance in Bangladesh. It has supported the Bangladesh Bank in various projects, including the drafting of the Islamic Banking Act and Guidelines on Islamic Banking. It has also designed around 20 Shari’a Manuals and currently working on ‘Unified Shari’a Manual on Islamic Banking’. In addition, CSBIB has provided about 100 Fatwas to the Bangladesh Bank and member institutions. CSBIB regularly undertakes various solo and collaborative initiatives in capacity building. So far it has arranged 31 training courses and 28 workshops involving more than 3,000 trainees. Its regular programs include ‘Certificate Course on Islamic Banking & Finance’ and training for AAOIFI’s both qualifications, namely CSAA and CIPA.
“This is an invaluable recognition of the collective contribution of our mentors and colleagues. With the recognition and with continuous support from our stakeholders in Bangladesh and globally, we are committed to making a great impact in the development of the Islamic banking and finance industry. May Allah SWT accept all our good deeds and give us Taufic to contribute more.’’
The Best Islamic Banking Brand 2021 is won by BankIslami Pakistan, one of the Pakistan’s leading Islamic banks for its efforts in building financially inclusive communities. Being the first Bank to receive the Islamic Banking license under the State Bank of Pakistan’s Islamic Banking policy of 2003, the Bank has grown, achieving one milestone after another to over 340 branches in 114 cities of Pakistan. The mission of BankIslami is to create value for its stakeholders by offering authentic, Shari’a compliant and technologically advanced products and services, differentiating itself through: authenticity, innovation, understanding the client’s needs, commitment to excellence, fast, efficient and seamless delivery of solution. BankIslami recently achieved yet another milestone by having a case study on its ‘One Touch Banking’ being featured in one of the latest editions of Philip Kotler’s marketing book ‘Essentials of Modern Marketing,” – a service that allows customers to perform banking transactions with just a thumb impression, and go cheque-less and card-less at any given time.
As we strive to innovate in terms of our products and service portfolio, we aim in creating a robust infrastructure for a sustainable economy. We are honoured to be awarded with this coveted ‘Best Islamic Banking Brand’ accolade. It is a prestigious achievement for us and it inspires us to work with greater zeal towards personifying our goal of making Shari’a-compliant banking services to a larger segment of the population”.
meem Digital Banking by Gulf International Bank, is the first digital Shari’a compliant bank in the world, launched in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2014 and began operations in the Kingdom of Bahrain in March 2018. Meem was awarded the Best Islamic Digital Bank 2021. meem’s aim is to simplify the Retail Banking segment with an easy, modern and fully digital retail banking proposition that is Shari’a compliant and believes in providing customers with safe and easy banking on-the-go products and services that cater to modern lifestyle needs. meem follows a customer-centric approach, providing customers with a quick, dynamic, and unique customer experience that is personalised and appeals to targeted customer segments including but not limited to, upper mass, mass affluent and affluent customers. As part of the retail strategy, meem collaborates with local partners to promote FinTech in the region in addition to identifying opportunities to cross-collaborate with desired service providers that will enhance its digital banking proposition that are innovative.
“This award is a clear indication that we have demonstrated that meem Digital Banking by Gulf International Bank is and continues to deliver and pioneer on its digital proposition and promise to customers that they can bank safely and easily on-the-go while living the moments that matter.’’
Gatehouse Bank won the Best Islamic Bank for Property & Real Estate Finance 2021 for its outstanding performance and leadership in the regional real estate and housing sector. Gatehouse Bank plc is a pioneering, Shari’a-compliant bank headquartered in London, with regional offices in Milton Keynes and Wilmslow. Founded in 2007, the bank specialises in a range of award-winning ethical savings products, residential and commercial property finance and investment, as well as real estate investment advice. A cornerstone of the Bank’s strategy is to offer bespoke buy-to-let home finance, available both directly from the Bank and through intermediaries, offering flexible terms and competitive pricing. The Bank is also able to finance both single and property portfolio acquisitions and refinancing. The bank is a pioneer of the UK build-to-rent (BTR) market, launching its first fund in 2014. Gatehouse successfully completed Thistle, its initial £100m Private Rented Sector (PRS) scheme between November 2014 and February 20217 in partnership with Sigma Capital.
This accolade is testimony to the hard work and level of excellence produced by the team here at the Bank. I’d like to thank my Gatehouse colleagues for their commitment and efforts over the past year and the Global Islamic Finance Awards Committee for this welcome recognition.’’
A leading Pakistani Islamic and commercial bank, Faysal Bank won the Best Islamic Bank for Transformation and Innovation 2021 for its efforts for in transforming its conventional operations into a fully-fledged Islamic bank. The Bank is engaged in Retail, Corporate and Commercial banking activities and over the past few years has become one of the fastest growing Islamic banks in the country due to its significant growth from a size and scale perspective. The Bank is currently in the process of converting into a full-fledged Islamic Bank – the largest such conversion of any conventional bank into an Islamic bank ever to have been initiated anywhere in the world. This is driven by the belief of the Shareholders and Management in the fundamental superiority of
Islamic banking as a business proposition given the wide range of products and services already available as well as the overall preference of customers for Shari’a compliant banking solutions.
“We are glad to see that our conversion model is being recognised for its comprehensiveness based on our success. Impossibly one of the largest conversions of a conventional bank to an Islamic bank on a global basis. Our transformation and execution strategy, that is encompass of all assets of the Bank has been a journey of beliefs, planning, commitment and dedication. Supported all the way by our sponsors, board of directors, State Bank of Pakistan, our employees and above all our customers. This is indeed of proud moment for us as our efforts are now being recognised globally by top industry experts.”
Ambank Islamic Berhad, the Islamic banking arm of AmBank Group specialising in providing a comprehensive range of Shari’a compliant retail and non-retail banking won the Best Islamic Wholesale Banking Solutions Award 2021. Its primary role as a credit intermediary is anchored by the value-based intermediation (VBI) aspiration. This is an integral strategy to catalyse towards becoming a purpose-based organisation, considering the environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts of their business and conduct to ensure that they contribute to the greater good of their stakeholders, whilst being mindful of financial returns to shareholders.
“We are deeply honoured to be accorded the Best Islamic Wholesale Banking Solutions Award. It is symbolic of our continuous achievements in building from our heritage to deliver sustainable and customer-centric Islamic banking and financial solutions. This award also represents a testimony of the significant progress that we have made in the execution of our strategic and transformation plans.’’
Jaiz Bank, a non-interest bank in Nigeria operating under Islamic banking principles deservedly won the Most Improved Islamic Bank 2021 for yet another time. The Bank’s core values are built on 7 principles with the acronym RESPECT; Responsibility, Entrepreneurship, Simplicity, Partnership, Excellence, Customer Focus and Trust. These core values drive the Bank towards achieving its vision to be the clear leader in ethical Banking in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Winning the Most Improved Islamic Bank award for the second time in a row from the Global Islamic Finance Award (GIFA) is a revalidation of our efforts towards continuous process improvement in serving our customers. We truly appreciate the Committee for seeing us worthy of the award. This re-energizes us to even do more, knowing that the world watches and appreciates our modest contributions to the development of Islamic Finance. As always, we are dedicating this award to our Creator, in whose Grace all things are perfected. We appreciate the contributions of our loyal customers, dedicated staff, committed shareholders and caring regulators.’’
FNB Islamic Banking, the Islamic window of one of the oldest banks in South Africa, First National Bank stood out as the winner of the Best Islamic Banking Window 2021. FNB was named the world’s most innovative bank of the year, at the 2012 BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards. FNB’s innovative culture extends deep. FNB Islamic Banking fosters that spirit of continued innovation and it, as a business unit, featured in the June 2014 finals of the FNB Innovation competition, with its entry “An Integrated Islamic Ring Fenced Treasury Model”. In order to keep pace with the industry, FNB Islamic Banking is continually innovating its product and services to remain competitive and to manage customer expectation. FNB Islamic banking’s expansion into the rest of Africa is a key priority for the Group. A large majority of the countries that FNB currently operates in have large Muslim populations and are well poised to offer Islamic financial services.
This award further enhances FNB’s leadership status in a country that has emerged as a gateway to African Islamic finance and a leader in the Southern Hemisphere as a predominant Islamic financial services provider. FNB Islamic Banking prides itself in the technical appreciation of a dynamic business environment, which, has once again resulted in FNB being recognised on the global platform at GIFA as the Best Islamic Window for 2021.”
Best Islamic Banking Window for Global Expansion Award 2021 has been bagged by HabibMetro Sirat for contributing to the global growth of the Islamic banking landscape. The brand represents a commitment to the basic values of Trust, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Commitment and Teamwork, is a re-action of the Group’s core values and vision. Through this commitment, SIRAT forties its relationships with stakeholders by providing them with high quality, innovative Shari’a-compliant products and services to cater to their financial needs.
“Islamic Banking is growing exponentially not just in Pakistan, but globally as well; in some countries, this growth is outpacing that of conventional banking. Through strategic focus and concentrated efforts, we at HABIBMETRO SIRAT aim to increase the contribution of our Islamic Banking brand to HABIBMETRO Bank in Pakistan and strengthen the positioning of SIRAT Islamic Banking in the other countries where Habib Bank AG Zurich enjoys a footprint.’’
When it comes to Shari’a authenticity, there is no name more visible than Meezan Bank. The Shari’a Authenticity Award 2021 and the Shari’a Auditor of the Year Award is therefore once again rightly won by Meezan Bank, Pakistan’s first and largest Islamic bank offering a wide range of Shari’a-compliant products and services. The Bank provides a comprehensive range of Islamic banking products and services through a retail banking network of over 830 branches in over 240 cities across Pakistan. Backed by a state-of-the art T-24 core banking system, the branch network is supported by 24/7 banking services that include 800+ biometric and cardless services enabled ATMs, VISA and Mastercard Debit cards, a Call Centre, Internet Banking, Mobile Application and SMS Banking facility. Meezan Bank operates strictly under the principles of Islamic Shari’a and is well-recognised for its product development capability and Islamic banking research and advisory services.
“Shari’a complaint, integrity and service excellence are the core values that we truly believe in. And with this trust, let me assure you, for full commitment towards the cause of Riba Free banking and Finance and making Islamic banking the banking of first choice.’’
The Company for Cooperative Insurance (Tawuniya), the first licensed national insurance company in Saudi Arabia, was awarded the Best Takaful Company 2021. Tawuniya has a track record of excellence that underpins its business management and customer assurance. It has earned top international ratings, awards, and recognitions. With over 35 years of experience, the company has acquired a large insurance diversified portfolio. Tawuniya provides the best products and services to meet the needs of all customer segments including individuals, small- and mid-sized enterprises, and major corporates.
“Established 35 years ago, Tawuniya has been a pioneer of the Saudi insurance sector with leading market share exceeding 24% and a diversified insurance portfolio amounted to SR 9.2 billion in 2020. The award also acknowledges the hard work and dedication shown by our employees who strive to achieve the highest standards every day, putting our customers at the centre of our attention. Receiving this recognition from GIFA will inspire us to continue to work tirelessly for our clients and renew our commitment to raising overall industry standards.”
The award for the Best Family Takaful Company 2021 was rightly won by PT Capital Life Syariah. PT Capital Life Syariah continues to develop business and improve service quality and technology through Shari’a Life Insurance based on Mobile Apps on the Android and IOS platforms. Its vision is “To be the best and most trusted Shari’a life insurance company, as well as contributing to improving the Shari’a life insurance industry”.
“It isn’t easy for us to reach our current position, especially during the current pandemic. However, we can still maintain the Company Business, and this can be reflected in the position of achievement contribution in 2020. Hopefully Capital Life Syariah can be more advanced and developed, as well as for the Insurance Shari’a Industry. Like our tagline “The Future Full of Blessing’’.
International Turnkey Systems (ITS), has remained at the forefront of information technology, providing cutting edge business solutions. ITS won the Best Islamic Finance Technology Provider 2021. ITS is an award-winning integrated information technology solutions provider and preferred digital transformation partner to the Financial Services, Retail, Education, Energy, Communication and Government sectors. ITS services include the development, design and delivery of cutting-edge software and services solutions including strategic outsourcing and managed and professional services to support customers’ critical business services.
“The Global Islamic Finance Awards are one of the most prestigious awards in Islamic banking and finance and this year marks the 5th consecutive year that International Turnkey Systems has been recognised for our contribution towards the development and expansion of the Islamic banking and finance industry and with the launch of our latest flagship product ETHIX NG, our new digital core banking platform. We are delighted to be acknowledged on the global stage and pleased to partner with GIFA in the worldwide advocacy of Islamic banking as we work together to elevate the Islamic banking and finance industry to the Digital Age.’’
The Best Islamic Rating Agency 2021 is won by Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (MARC). MARC’s key capabilities are in infrastructure, project and structured finance. MARC’s rating universe also encompasses sovereigns, financial institutions, state governments and investment managers. MARC publishes independent research on the domestic bond and sukuk markets, industry trends and economic issues. MARC recently ventured into new business segments, providing the market with up-to-date data analytic offerings, as well as risk framework solutions and advisory.
“This award is a fitting tribute to MARC’s team for their perseverance and commitment to excellence. It is particularly rewarding to have our efforts internationally recognised as we navigate the current challenging times, underscoring our lasting and positive impact on the advancement of the Islamic capital market.”
Eiger Trading Advisors Ltd, a UK-based FinTech company, specialising in commodity facilitation services for Islamic financial products deservedly won the Best Shari’a Compliant Commodity Broker 2021. Eiger Trading Advisors Ltd (“Eiger”) is a UK-based financial technology firm providing commodity trade facilitation and execution services to the Islamic financial marketplace through an award-winning online commodity trading platform called the Eiger Trading Platform. The Eiger Trading Platform provides real-time support to the Shari’a-compliant banking products of Islamic financial institutions. Over the past decade, the platform has evolved and continues to be the most technologically advanced and flexible Shari’a-compliant commodity Murabaha trading platform on the market.
“As a FinTech provider, we firmly believe in encouraging the technological innovation and evolution of the Islamic Finance industry, and we are proud to be recognized for our continued commitment to being first in our peer group for trade facilitation and execution services to the Islamic financial marketplace.”
The Best Islamic Finance Training Provider 2021 is rightly won by TAIF Digital Institute for Islamic Finance, a UAE based company committed to delivering a world-class learning experience. TAIF Digital Institute is a forward-thinking digital learning platform with a believe that Islamic finance is the equitable, commercially viable alternative that the world needs to solve its current economic woes. Taif aim to support this cause by increasing the awareness of Islamic finance and by bridging the human capital gap in the Islamic finance industry. The company aims to provide the most comprehensive bouquet of digital learning solutions and support the organisations that share the common goal.
“We drive our inspirations from the incident of TAIF, i.e., to ignore the early failures (whatever big they may appear), to have faith in Allah SWT, be consistent, target globally, and think out of the box. We may be weak and small. But one whom we trust is the strongest. In sha Allah, our sincere efforts to support the cause of Islamic Finance will continue.”
Pakistan Stock Exchange, a reliable, orderly, liquid and efficient digitised market place and a first-time winner of the Best Islamic Stock Exchange 2021. PSX has a distinguished and long history, and is amongst the oldest exchanges in Asia. Pakistan Stock Exchange has made significant progress throughout its history. From a small presence of 5 listed companies initially with a total paid-up capital of PKR 37 million, the Exchange has grown to 531 listed companies, representing all major sectors of Pakistan’s economy. Pakistan Stock Exchange has 179 Shari’a compliant listed companies, 4 ETFs, and 11 indices.
This award is a recognition not just of Pakistan Stock Exchange’s standing in the world of Islamic finance but of Pakistan as well. Both PSX and Pakistan have been working for many years to introduce Islamic modes of financing, in both the banking and capital markets. Today, Islamic financial products are the fastest growing in Pakistan. With the full support and guidance of the apex regulator, SECP, Pakistan Stock Exchange has been striving and making great progress in providing both companies and investors with Shari’a compliant financial products.
IDX has won the Best Islamic Capital Market Award 2021 for strengthen the Indonesian capital market and attracting people to invest in Indonesia. Throughout 2020 IDX successfully managed to ensure the implementation of trading activities run smoothly and was able to increase various achievements from the previous year, ranging from increasing the number and participation of investors, increasing the quantity and quality of Listed Companies with the highest number of new company listings in ASEAN, the increase of the highest trading frequency in ASEAN, as well as increasing the capacity of Exchange Members and the expansion of Participants.
“This has been a year filled with both challenges and opportunities, and we are pleased to have maintained our level of performance during these pandemic times. This accolade emphasises our role as a leader in Islamic Capital Market and will spur us to further strengthen our commitment towards developing an innovative Shari’a compliant products and services to make Islamic Capital Market keep growing and more inclusive for everyone.”
A company offering services relating to asset management and financial advice, the Oasis Crescent (UK) Limited has been named as the Best Islamic Fund Manager 2021 by the GIFA awards committee. Through its sub-funds, Oasis offers broad diversification in terms of the asset class, currency, geographic location, sector, and instruments to its investors. Each product is tailored to ensure that it meets specific risk profiles so that investors benefit from the value generated over time. Since inception, the focus on protecting and growing the wealth of investors in an effective, efficient and client-centric administration environment, has led Oasis towards consistently delivering on its longstanding track record of excellence.
“This is the fourth year that Oasis has received this accolade which reflects our focus on delivering investment excellence to our investors. Throughout our history, our approach has been underpinned by a simple yet powerful investment philosophy that is based on growing and protecting our clients’ wealth over time and through all market conditions. This award is a tribute to my partners, family and the entire team at Oasis for their unwavering commitment to deliver value to our investors and to our clients for the trust they place in Oasis as their wealth manager.’’
Riyad Saudi Equity Sharia Fund won the Best Islamic Equity Fund 2021 for its efforts to provide long term capital growth while adhering to Shari’a laws. The Fund manager employs research tools and focuses on companies that enjoy strong fundamental factors and promises long-term growth.
“Riyadh Capital is pleased to receive the Global Islamic Finance Award as The Best Islamic Equity Fund 2021. This is despite the fact that global equity market was restrained by the current (pandemic) situation. We commend GIFA Awards Committee for successfully holding the Awards Ceremony in the wake of COVID-19. This award encourages us to further excel in Islamic equity fund management to lead the market locally and globally.’’
The Islamic Development Bank Institute won the Best Islamic Research & Development Award 2021 for leading development of innovative knowledge-based solutions to support the sustainable economic advancement of the 57 IsDB Member Countries and various Muslim communities worldwide. The institute works to transform critical components of IsDB Member Countries’ economy using Fintech innovations and technologies to bring about value-based, inclusive, and sustainable growth in line with principles of Islamic economics and finance.
“We are grateful first and foremost to the Almighty (s.w.t) for giving us the ability and the energy to weather the COVID-19 storm and to achieve our objectives. We are blessed with a remarkable team of creative, skilled, and dedicated leaders and professionals who enabled the Institute to stand out among our excellent peers. Together, the team was able to develop, within the framework of Islamic economics and finance, pioneering knowledge-based solutions to address some of the challenges facing our societies.”
ITFC won the Best Islamic Trade Finance Institution 2021. The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group was established with the primary objective of advancing trade among OIC Member Countries, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world. With a mission to become a catalyst for trade development for OIC Member Countries and beyond, the Corporation helps entities in Member Countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity building tools, which would enable them to successfully compete in the global market.
A private joint stock company based in Abu Dhabi and regulated by the UAE Central Bank, Siraj Finance won the Best Non-Bank Islamic Finance Institution 2021 for offering the finest and innovative Shari’a compliant solutions. Siraj Finance specialises in helping individuals, small and medium enterprises with the objective of encouraging healthy growth through the provision of a myriad of effective Islamic finance solutions and superlative diversified investment plans.
“Give me great pride and delight to announce that Siraj Finance has once again bagged the Best Non-Bank Islamic Finance Institution at the Global Islamic Finance Awards 2021. And we didn’t stop there. We brought home the Most Innovative Islamic Financial Product for Bid Bonds! This only goes on to testify our dedication and commitment to the future of Islamic Finance and to the clients we serve. Let’s take Islamic finance all over the globe!”
ETHOS AFP™, the real-time trade and post trade services platform by DDCAP GroupTM emerged as the winner once again in the category of the Best Islamic Finance Technology Product 2021. ETHOS AFP™ provides continuous coverage and enables DDCAP clients worldwide to purchase from a responsible, diverse asset inventory via a secure, web-based portal for onward sale to their own clients and counterparties. The open market platform with full STP functionality delivers an array of benefits and efficiencies whilst mitigating trade and operational risks. ETHOSTerminal™ was launched in 2021 and brings additional integration functionality to DDCAP clients via an open market environment that enables users full discretion in choosing trade counterparts. This upgraded functionality has been developed in response to user demand and Shari’a preferences.
“DDCAP Group™ has been developing ETHOS AFP™ for nearly twenty years. Our priorities continue to include delivery of robust and efficient automated services via leading edge technology that embodies our own sustainable and responsible values, a key influence in developing the recently released ETHOSTerminal™. We have also created partnerships with leading names including Murex, Refinitiv and Instimatch.”
IBF Net Group a FinTech platform is presented with the Best Emerging Islamic Fintech Platform 2021, leveraging research & technology for a halal ecosystem. The Islamic Business and Finance Network is the maiden online community for exchange of views, and designed and offered the maiden suite of certifications in Islamic finance in online mode. The Network now seeks to develop and host multiple platforms and use cases in line with the trichotomy of an Islamic economy into philanthropy, not-for-profit and for-profit segments. It aims to develop smart contracts using Algorand protocol that are replicable and customisable for various Islamic financial contracts.
“Your IBF Net is on a journey to leverage research and technology for creating a halal ecosystem. I express my sincere thanks to the GIFA selection committee for recognising our potential in building a miniature Islamic economy using blockchain technology. I also thank our technology partner Algorand USA for their consistent support to this initiative. I thank our Founder Dr Mohammed Obaidullah for showing us the path into the future and every member of IBF Net family for their hard work, persistence and perseverance.”
The Best Emerging Islamic Liquidity Management Product 2021 is awarded to a Shari’a complaint cash management product, IMMC by Al Waseelah PLC, a world-leading sukuk issuance platform for companies. Al Waseelah IMMC™ has been built through insight, innovation and integrity; and focuses on three key pillars of ‘Fixed Rate, Fixed Date, Stable Returns’. This liquidity management sukuk has several in-built features making it unique in its composition with the approach to control duration risk and enhancing credit protection. To enhance transparency and security for both investors and insurers, the data of the certificates is kept and monitored in a dashboard built with proprietary technology.
“It is a significant achievement as it is the first and only Islamic short-term liquidity product, which offers a full range of tenors. Al Waseelah IMMC enables investors to take an active cash management approach in a duration-controlled manner.”
MANUlife Shariah Global REIT Fund, a fund that aims to provide regular income and capital appreciation by investing in Islamic real estate investment trusts, won the Best Emerging Islamic REIT Fund 2021. The Fund will invest in different Islamic REITs sectors, including but not limited to commercial, industrial and residential. The Fund is the world’s first global Shari’a REIT fund that invests in REIT only and is made available to retail investors.
“This is a testament to Manulife Investment Management’s (MIM) capability to develop innovative, first-of-its-kind global Shari’a product and our global investment capabilities; driven by deep market insights and understanding, in navigating volatile and uncertain markets, which is today, further compounded by the ongoing global pandemic. At MIM, we constantly strive to create value by offering new differentiated solutions and deliver consistent performance to meet clients’ investment objectives.”
RIZQ is UK’s first alternative Islamic digital banking app. The Best Emerging Islamic FinTech Institution Award 2021 was awarded to RIZQ for providing a personal and seamless digital Islamic banking experience, which fully appreciates a Muslim’s core beliefs and value system. The roadmap for the future is vast, as Rizq steps away from the proof-of-concept stage, and turns towards the development of extra features, growth, and monetisation. Ultimately, Rizq is aiming to become the go-to provider of banking and lifestyle features for Muslims in the UK and beyond.
“On a personal note, it is astonishing to think that a mere 18 months ago Rizq was just an idea – and now we are processing thousands of payments for our customers, are working with many incredible partners ranging from charities to high-street retailers, and on top of this we are now a recipient of this amazing award. We are truly humbled by the whole experience, and whilst a lot has been achieved, I know that we still have an exciting yet challenging journey ahead of us.”
Master of Islamic Banking & Finance (MIBF), Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School, Universiti Teknologi Mara Shah Alam supports the current initiative to champion Malaysia as an Islamic finance hub and was presented with the Outstanding Islamic Finance Qualification 2021 award. MIBF is not only accredited by Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), but also recognised by Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM), a lifelong talent development institution that specialises in developing market ready talents for the Islamic financial industry.
“We attribute this success to our commitment, dedication, and dynamic working relationship in making MIBF relevant, referred, and respected. We take pride in ensuring our students are equipped with academic and professional qualification upon their graduation. Congratulations MIBF team and AAGBS!’’
Emirates NBD Capital, the global investment bank for Emirates NBD Group, won the Sukuk Lead Manager of the Year 2021 for the second year in recognition of its efforts to promote and provide Shari’a-compliant financing solutions. Emirates NBD PJSC (“ENBD”), is a leading banking group in the Middle East and the second largest bank in the UAE by total assets and branch network. EMCAP is also CMA licensed for providing the full suite of IB services in Saudi Arabia via EMCAP KSA. Emirates NBD Capital is a leading regional Investment Bank offering customized advisory and capital financing solutions.
“Last year was phenomenal for us as the Debt Capital Markets team successfully completed 60 transactions across various geographies. In the first half of 2021, we have successfully led 14 sukuk issuances including several landmark trades such as the largest ever sukuk issuance by the Republic of Turkey. While maintaining our leadership position in the Middle East, we will continue to broaden our geographical reach and diversify into other emerging and international markets with bespoke and cutting-edge financing solutions.’’
The only winner in this category, Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment & Export Credit (ICIEC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, won the Global Islamic Export Credit and Political Risk Insurance Award 2021 once again. Established 27 years ago in 1994 as a multilateral institution and member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, ICIEC was tasked to promote cross-border trade and foreign direct investments (FDI) in its Member Countries. ICIEC’s mission is to make trade and investment between Member Countries and the world more secure through the Shari’a-compliant risk mitigation tool. Its vision is to be recognized as the preferred enabler of trade and investment for sustainable economic development in Member Countries.
“As the global leader for Shari’a-compliant credit and political risk insurance, we strive to promote export development and investment in ICIEC’s 48 member countries by providing innovative risk mitigation solutions. This Award recognizes our commitment to helping our member countries build back better in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring the flow of essential commodities, medical equipment, and procurement of Vaccines. It is also a recognition of the resilience and creativity of the Corporation, its management and staff!”
PT Bank Syariah Indonesia Tbk (BSI), the largest Islamic bank in Indonesia, was awarded the GIFA Market Leadership Award (Islamic Banking) 2021 for its efforts to boost Indonesia’s Islamic finance industry and develop the Shari’a economy. BSI is a modern Shari’a bank, with strong digital technology capabilities, supported by vast net-work of more than 1.300 branch offices throughout the nation, 2.400 ATM networks and 17.000 experienced employees.
As the largest Islamic bank in Indonesia, Bank Syariah Indonesia is committed to being a financial, social and spiritual partner to give the solution to manage financial needs according to Shari’a principles through the top notch various products and services: Hajj and Umroh, ZISWAF, Education, International Remittance, as well as other financial services and solutions such as, home ownership financing, payroll based financing, Gold-Based Fiduciary Products, Gold Ownership Installment, MSME financing and financing card all within Shari’a compliant principles, equipped with BSI’s mobile digital service, so customers can transact easily anytime and anywhere.
DDCAP Group™ deservedly won the GIFA Market Leadership Award (Facilitation & Support) 2021 for a third time in a row for its strategic intention to support and elevate awareness of the business and ethical drivers of responsible financial practice. Working with conventional and Islamic banks and financial institutions, DDCAP offers award-winning asset facilitation services and technology to over 300 Islamic financial sector clients across a diverse range of responsible and sustainable Shari’a-compliant products, asset classes and instruments in both the primary and secondary markets.
“DDCAP Group™ is honoured to have been awarded the 2021 GIFA Market Leadership Award (Facilitation & Support) at the Global Islamic Finance Awards 2021. Our priorities continue to include delivery of robust and efficient automated services via leading edge technology that embodies our own sustainable and responsible values.”
The GIFA Market Leadership Award (Islamic Asset Management) 2021 was presented to SEDCO Capital, a global asset management firm offering attractive investment opportunities across global markets. The firm provides clients with responsible investment solutions through a dynamic asset allocation process across diversified asset classes that deliver strong risk-adjusted returns. By adopting a global view to investing while looking through the lens of Prudent Ethical Investment (PEI) approach, an integration of Shari’a-compliant and Responsible Investment principles, it provides clients with unparalleled global access to investments across developed and emerging markets, including Saudi Arabia, in alignment with their investment objectives.
“We are honoured to receive the prestigious Global Islamic Finance Award (GIFA) for Market Leadership in Islamic Asset Management for the third year. This continuous recognition reflects SEDCO Capital’s strong track record of innovation and performance and is underpinned by the dedication of our highly seasoned team of professionals. Every day we strive to provide our clients with superior risk-adjusted returns while generating a positive impact on society.”
No doubt a champion, the Moody’s Investors Service won the GIFA Market Leadership Award (Islamic Financial Intelligence & Ratings) 2021 for a second time in a row for its commitment and expertise contributing to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody’s Investors Service (MIS) is a leading global provider of credit ratings, research, and risk analysis. A rating from Moody’s enables issuers to create timely, go-to-market debt strategies with the ability to capture wider investor focus and provides investors with a comprehensive view of global debt markets through credit ratings and research. Since John Moody devised the first bond ratings more than a century ago, Moody’s rating systems have evolved in response to the increasing depth and breadth of the global capital markets.
“It is particularly appreciated after such a difficult year and we appreciate the efforts of both our colleagues and counterparts outside of Moody’s, who have helped us maintain a high-quality output despite the difficulties arising from the pandemic. Islamic finance has seen strong growth over the past 10 years, and had a strong year in 2020 despite the impact of the pandemic. Moody’s continues to see significant potential for long-term growth, in both established and emerging Islamic finance markets, also drawing on developing trends such as ESG, which has considerable overlap with Shari’a principles.
Established in 2007 as the first national Islamic university in Brunei, UNISSA, Brunei Darussalam won the GIFA Market Leadership Award (Education in Islamic Banking & Finance) 2021. Faculty of Islamic Economics and Finance (FIEF)’s vision is to become a leading centre of academic excellence in the field of Islamic Economics, Finance, Banking, and Entrepreneurship. The faculty offers both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes (by research only) focusing on Islamic banking, finance, and economics. It aims to provide students with broad extensive learning opportunities in hoping to produce skilled and versatile graduates through interdisciplinary programmes and most importantly to enhance graduates’ marketability value.
“I am truly honoured and overjoyed that the Faculty of Islamic Economics and Finance (FIEF), UNISSA, has won the GIFA Market Leadership Award (Education in Islamic Banking and Finance) 2021 for three consecutive years. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the members of the faculty for their unwavering support and effort in ensuring the faculty continues to excel especially during this challenging pandemic era. I believe this recognition is a proof that the education system being used – at FIEF – is able to develop and empower our students to be more dynamic and ready to face the challenges in the financial industry.’’
BNP Paribas Asset Management Malaysia won the GIFA Market Leadership Award (Shari’a ESG Investments) 2021 for achieving long-term sustainable investment returns for a third time in a row. BNP Paribas Asset Management (‘BNPP AM’) is the investment arm of BNP Paribas, a leading banking group in Europe with international reach. BNPP AM aims to generate long-term sustainable investment returns for its clients, based on a unique Sustainability-Driven philosophy. BNPP AM’s investment capabilities are focused around five key strategies: High Conviction Strategies, Private Debt & Real Assets, Multi-Asset, Quantitative & Solutions (MAQS), Emerging markets and Liquidity Solutions, with investment processes incorporating quantitative and fundamental analysis.
“This distinguished accolade is a huge achievement for the firm; and is a collective effort of both the global and local teams as we continue to reinforce our global leadership position in sustainable investing. Ultimately, BNP Paribas Asset Management has been a major global player in sustainable investment since 2002. Encouraged by this recognition of our global measures and implementations, we will certainly strive further to provide impactful ESG Shari’a investment solutions to our investors.”
As the Mortgage Corporation of Malaysia, Cagamas Berhad promotes the broader spread of home ownership and growth of the secondary mortgage market. Cagamas bagged the GIFA Market Leadership Award (Islamic Securitization) 2021 for its strategic role in the domestic financial system. It contributes towards the growth of the capital markets, Islamic finance and other priority sectors through issuance of innovative instruments. The provision of liquidity to financial institutions at a reasonable cost to the primary lenders of housing loans World Bank as the most successful secondary mortgage liquidity facility. Cagamas is the largest issuer of debt instruments in the Malaysian capital market.
“This award is a testament to the dynamic synergy within the organisation which strives to deliver the best solutions and value to our stakeholders. Cagamas will continue to innovate in the Islamic finance space to cater to the expanding needs of increasingly sophisticated global investors, which include the rising demand for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investments.”
The GIFA Market Leadership Award (Shari’a Advisory and Assurance) 2021 is rightly won by Amanie Advisors, a leading Shari’a advisory firm specialising in Islamic finance solutions in Malaysia. Specialising in Islamic finance solutions and services, Amanie Advisors provides a full suite of Shari’a services including Shari’a advisory and consultancy, Islamic finance training and module development, and capital market product structuring and endorsement. Guided by its Shari’a Supervisory Board, Amanie Advisors provides end-to-end solutions to the client via its multiple offices around the globe. Amanie’s vision is to be considered by the Islamic Finance industry as the premier global Shari’a consultancy firm constantly on the leading edge of global industrial knowledge offering time-efficient and cost-effective services to its clients the world over.
“It fills us with great pride to be recognized for our efforts and to see them bear fruit. Amanie continuously strives to be the best and we hope to be able to maintain the highest of standards for years to come.”
S&P Global Ratings, an American credit rating agency and a division of S&P Global that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks, bonds, and commodities, was awarded the GIFA Championship Award (Islamic Financial Ratings) 2021. S&P Global Ratings is the world’s leading provider of independent credit ratings. The ratings are essential to driving growth, providing transparency and helping educate market participants so they can make decisions with confidence. S&P Global Ratings have more than 1 million credit ratings outstanding on government, corporate, financial sector and structured finance entities and securities.
“We are humbled to accept this award for Best Islamic Finance Ratings Agency for the fourth year in a row. Our ratings are used by investors in their everyday investment decisions. Whether it is in the core Islamic finance markets, or the growing interest in the industry around the globe, S&P Global Ratings help investors understand this asset class by providing them with independent and objective credit opinions on the credit quality of both issuers and issues. We also help investors understand challenges and opportunities of the industry as well as recognise trends that are expected to shape its future through our commentary and research.’’
A Bahrain based FinTech company that solves business problems for banks through digital transformation, Aion Digital won the GIFA Championship Award (Islamic Digital Solutions) 2021. Aion Digital is the developer of intelligent digital banking platform that are deployed by banks and challenger institutions across emerging markets. Aion delivers affordable, quick to market digital launch working seamlessly with new and legacy technologies. Aion specializes in four primary banking solutions under its platform, Aion Rubix. including Digital Onboarding, Retail Digital Bank, Corporate Digital Bank, and Artificial Intelligence. Aion has built a team of leading digital experts and has partnered with the world’s best technology innovators for platform design, deployment, and management.
“As we Build Digital Banks, we remain true to our core motivation, and that is to “Bring purpose back to banking.” This prestigious distinction reflects that we are succeeding in our ambitions to impact the FinTech Echo-system with Islamic finance as our priority. From a FinTech startup with only 5 employees, today we are market leaders driving digitalization of Islamic banks across GCC, all in less than four years. This is a great recognition for our client partners and the 125 share holder team members that define Aion.”
Arabesque, a global asset management firm that uses self-learning quant models and big data to assess the performance and sustainability of companies, won the GIFA Championship Award (ESG & Sustainability) 2021. Established in 2013, Arabesque’s story is one of partnership between leaders in finance, mathematics, AI, and sustainability working together to deliver a new approach to capital markets. Arabesque believes economic value creation can and should be combined with environmental stewardship, social inclusion and sound governance.
“As we near COP26 later this year, the need for smarter climate solutions continues to grow. We are proud to contribute to more accessibility and transparency in ESG data which supports companies and investors in their sustainability goals. Finance is entering one of the most profound decades of change in its history, with sustainability and technology driving transformation of the global marketplace. We look forward to driving Arabesque forward as a pioneer in sustainability in finance.’’
Takaful Oman is the first fully-fledged Islamic insurance (Takaful) provider in Oman with an aim to be one of the leading Takaful companies in Oman. Takaful Oman rightly won the GIFA Championship Award (Takaful) 2021. Takaful Oman operates in accordance with Islamic Shari’a principles and its Shari’a supervisory board ensures its adherence to Shari’a rules and principles. Takaful Oman is listed on the Muscat Exchange. Takaful Oman is one of two takaful companies operating in Oman.
“We all know that the whole world has passed through an unfavourable situation during 2020 and for us in Takaful Oman this award comes to us as an assurance that we did it right under the toughest circumstances. I would like to thank GIFA for their valuable support and for considering our company for this year’s award, and would also like to take this opportunity to thank our esteemed directors and fellow management’s employees for the hard working and honest efforts they have paid for the success of our company.’’
Bank Nizwa is Oman’s first dedicated Islamic bank, with fully Shari’a compliant products and services and is the proud winner of the GIFA Championship Award (Islamic Banking) 2021. Over the past four years, the bank has witnessed steady growth in its customer-base as more people seek an alternative solution to conventional banking. With the concept of Islamic banking gaining momentum in Oman, Bank Nizwa continues to offer reliable competitive propositions for customers looking to lead financially-secure lifestyles. “This Prestigious Award is not only a compliment to the Bank’s role but also a testimony of the untiring hard work and passion that goes into making Bank Nizwa the Premier and now a Champion Islamic Bank. Indeed, the award further encourages us and adds more to our zeal and responsibility to keep contributing bigger and better.”
Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC), an independent body in Malaysia, that ensures the public is served with the highest quality of financial planning services won the GIFA Championship Award (Islamic Finance Qualifications) 2021. MFPC provides an evolving set of Best Practice Standards and Code of Ethics that must be adhered to by Registered Financial Planner (RFP) and Shari’a RFP designees. This requirement is aimed at ensuring that the public will be served with the highest quality of financial planning services.
“It is an honour to win the GIFA advocacy award again for Shari’a education as our Shari’a RFP programme continues to gain traction in Malaysia and around the region. This award is an achievement to the various teaching and support personnel of the Council as well as corporate entities that have engaged the Council to ensure that financial advice that is provided to members of the public are from professionally qualified individuals.”
Tazkia Islamic University College combines economic and Shari’a disciplines, oriented towards scientific integrity and noble morality has been presented with the GIFA Championship Award (Education in Islamic Banking & Finance) 2021. Tazkia Islamic University College is a university established in the conditions of the economic crisis in 1997 – 1998. The economic downturn and the collapse of the national banking industry on the one hand and the survival of Islamic banks on the other became the milestones in the development of Islamic economics as a ‘system of choice’. for the welfare of society. Tazkia seeks to educate and produce generations of Muslims who have the competence and commitment to do business, teaching, uphold the law, da’wah and broadcasting.
“As an educational institution with its expertise in Islamic Economics and Finance, Tazkia has significant role to prepare human resources that will indirectly support the vision of Indonesian President. The vision is to position Indonesia as a Global hub in Islamic Economics and Finance by 2024. Without credible human resources, the vision will not be feasible. Therefore, we will continuously strive to offer the best educational platform for everyone. To ensure Indonesia as global hub in Islamic Economics and Finance, Tazkia university programs concentrate on Islamic Economics and Business, law, education and communication coupled with digital technology approach. With 21 years’ experience, we believe we can prove that we are the best Islamic Finance Education provider.”
The GIFA Excellence Award (Corporate/Business Credit Cards) 2021 is won by a leading bank providing innovative and Shari’a compliant banking services in Qatar, QIIB. QIIB is well-placed to provide a full array of retail and corporate banking services to its growing customer base. QIIB is listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange and provides comprehensive banking services to its customers through a network of branches encompassing various regions of Qatar. QIIB is rapidly growing as one of the prominent Islamic banks in the Middle East region and beyond. QIIB continues to explore new markets for strategic alliances. QIIB is a highly rated bank and enjoys a prominent financial position. International rating agencies had affirmed QIIB’s strong position as it acquired distinguished credit ratings with an ‘A2’ from Moody’s and an ‘A’ from Fitch with a stable outlook from both.
The GIFA Excellence Award (Premier Islamic Banking Services) 2021 were won by Shariah Banking, Standard Bank for its commitment to Islamic principles and Shari’a compliant assets. Ethical business is becoming increasingly important to a growing number of individuals and organisations across Africa. In the eyes of Standard Bank, the strong ethical base of Shari’a banking has relevance and meaning for anyone seeking the assurance that their funds will not be used for unethical industries. Standard Bank is the largest bank by assets in Africa, with on-the-ground operations in 20 countries in Africa and other key markets, and cross-border capabilities within and beyond the African continent.
“We pride ourselves in keeping our customers and their financial needs a key priority. Five years into the journey, the team have shown real commitment to ensure that innovative banking solutions are delivered to Shari’a Banking clients. As a team, we strive to be the best with excellence intrinsic to everything that we do and we will continue to persevere in fulfilling our group’s purpose of driving Africa’s growth.’’
HBL Islamic Banking, which has positioned itself as one of the largest and leading Islamic banking players in the country deservedly won the GIFA Excellence Award (Roshan Digital Account Experience) 2021. HBL was the first commercial bank to be established in Pakistan in 1947. Over the years, HBL has grown its branch network and maintained its position as the largest private sector bank in Pakistan with over 1,650 branches, 2,100+ ATMs, 54,000 Konnect by HBL agents (branchless banking platform) serving over 23 million customers worldwide. It is currently the largest Domestic Multinational Bank with a global presence in 14 countries.
“The Roshan Digital Initiative of the Government of Pakistan is one of the highlights and a key initiative from the government and a tremendous opportunity for the non-resident Pakistani who contributes to the growth and prosperity of their homeland. This account provides rich benefits, such as owning an investment return basis; which is a good investment and has added benefits of contributing to society. We continuously add new features to the program. You must have heard about a roshan apni car, where expatriate can finance cars at very preferential rates at preferred delivery time for their family. Recently, the government also introduced Roshan Apna Ghar that is a unique proposition for the expatriate Pakistanis to can invest in Pakistan for their family.”
The next award GIFA Excellence Award (Islamic Finance Training & Education) 2021 go to a first-time winner of the Global Islamic Finance Awards, Brunei Institute of Leadership & Islamic Finance (BILIF). BILIF plays a fundamental role in Pillar 5 of Brunei Darussalam Financial Sector Blueprint 2016-2025 in raising financial industry standards especially in the areas of Islamic finance. BILIF has forged strategic partnerships with local and international organisations over the past 11 years, which has allowed it to bring professional programmes, expertise and opportunities to shape future leaders, experts and innovators in the areas of Islamic finance and leadership.
“On behalf of BILIF, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Brunei Darussalam Central Bank (BDCB) for their leadership and auspices that contributed to this success as well as our stakeholders and clients for their trust and support throughout this journey. I would also like to thank the GIFA committee for this accolade and for recognising our efforts towards human capital development for the Islamic finance industry. May Allah continue to bless all our efforts toward the global development of Islamic finance.”
Fitch Ratings, a leading provider of credit ratings, commentary and research for global capital markets won the GIFA Excellence Award (Islamic Financial Ratings) 2021. Dedicated to providing value beyond the rating through independent and prospective credit opinions, Fitch Ratings offers global perspectives shaped by strong local market experience and credit market expertise. Fitch Group is a global leader in financial information services with operations in more than 30 countries.
“This prestigious recognition is an important market testimony of the high-quality work and analytical excellence that we strive to achieve in the Islamic finance group. We take pride in this recognition and view these awards as a reflection of our commitment to supporting Islamic capital market participants through ratings, research, and leadership that helped shape the Islamic finance industry for over a decade. Having progressed rapidly in the past decades Islamic finance is facing numerous opportunities and challenges in its coming phase, this includes standardisation, FinTech and ESG, thus our core principles of objectivity, independency, integrity and transparency is more central than ever to the industry and its stakeholders. “
Prudential BSN Takaful, the country’s leading takaful operator, won the GIFA Excellence Award (Takaful) 2021 for providing financial security to families and communities across Malaysia. Premised on the concept of ta`awun (co-operation and mutual assistance), PruBSN provides a range of Shari’a-compliant family takaful protection solutions. Today, PruBSN has over 17,000 takaful agents who serves the evolving health and protection needs of more than 1 million Malaysians and their families by listening, understanding and most importantly, delivering.
“Alhamdulillah, it is a huge honour to receive this award on behalf of PBSN, and I would like to thank the Global Islamic Finance Award Committee for recognizing our achievement, especially throughout this very challenging period. This recognition is particularly meaningful to us as we celebrate our 15 years anniversary, before coming month, to provide takaful for all, for life and to help people get most out of life, we will continue to do better. With that, a thank you.’’
Albilad Capital has won the GIFA Excellence Award (Islamic Asset Management) 2021 in recognition of the initiatives and innovations undertaken to provide financial services and products to meet the ambitions of stakeholders, clients, employees and shareholders. Albilad Capital seeks to meet the needs of individual and institutional investors by providing innovative and Shari’a-compliant investment products and services, including Investment Banking advisory, Corporate Finance, Custody and Brokerage services, in addition to Asset Management services through Investment Funds and Discretionary Portfolio Management (DPM).
“We’ve cooperated to develop a platform that blends cutting-edge technology with the best Shari’a-compliant financial solutions and investment products. With continual innovation and effort, we shall continue to grow and succeed. I would like to extend our thanks to the GIFA Committee on behalf of the Albilad Capital team for their efforts in recognizing exceptional practices in the global Islamic finance industry.’’
BaitulMaal Muamalat (BMM), an Indonesian zakat management institution has this year won the GIFA Excellence Award (Islamic Social Responsibility) 2021. BMM has the main task of collecting and distributing Zakat, Alms, Sadaqa and other religious social funds. In addition, BMM is also the official Waqf Management which manages and develops economic productive waqf. BMM has reached more than 1 million beneficiaries all over Indonesia supported by professional human resources with high work ethic and the existence of BMM branch offices in several provinces in Indonesia.
“Alhamdulillah, it is an honour for us, Baitulmaal Muamalat (BMM), to receive this award for the very first time in 21 years of its establishment at the Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA). In the middle of this COVID-19 Pandemic, which of course has a significant impact on philanthropic institutions like BMM, but thanks to the trust of the Muzaki or Donors all over Indonesia that continuously help us innovate and provide widely impactful benefits to ummah. Hopefully by achieving this GIFA Award, it can galvanize BMM to better manage zakat, alms, sadaqa and waqf in Indonesia and keep striving to help those who are experiencing difficulties and crisis.’’
CaizCoin, one of the many cryptocurrencies developed in Germany but with a unique working model has been awarded the GIFA Excellence Award (Islamic Blockchain) 2021. It aims to connect the Islamic financial laws with the global market to enable every investor for a pious mode of investing and transaction. The currency is Fatwa certified, and its Blockchain is built on the Shari’a laws of Islam. Caizcoin’s ecosystem constitutes the Caizcoin tokens, wallets, API, and digital banking partners. This ecosystem extends an innovative financial solution for the Islamic population and the people who want a platform that offers a secure and justified financial service.
“It is very important to be part of this organization and to win this award. I would like to sincerely thank the GIFA Foundation for the recognition and award on behalf of Caizcoin. This award shows that an Islamic product is future-oriented and ground-breaking. I would like to thank GIFA again on behalf of my team for this award.”
The GIFA Power Award (Islamic Asset Management) 2021 is awarded to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saturna Capital specialising in Islamic-compliant investment advisory services, Saturna Sdn Bhd. Saturna Sdn Bhd holds an Islamic Fund Management Licence (“IFML”) with the Malaysian Securities Commission and is an adviser to the ASEAN Equity Fund, the ICD Global Sustainable Fund, and is a technical adviser to the SAM Global Equity Dollar Fund in Indonesia. In collaboration with the global investment team, Saturna Sdn Bhd manages several successful Shari’a-compliant strategies that incorporate Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) criteria. Saturna champions the cause of responsible investments. The group has been engaging with the United Nations under the UN PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) and is also a signatory with this organisation to promote responsible investments globally.
Moving forward, we continue to focus on serving our clients and community well by putting our investors’ interests first, and by offering innovative, sustainable investment products. At the same time, Saturna has been and will continue engaging with the regulators and investment bodies in the region and around the world to promote sustainable investments as we believe that this ESG focus will be the epitome of the future of investments.’’
RAM Ratings, the leading and largest credit rating agency in Malaysia and South-East Asia has won the GIFA Power Award (Islamic Ratings) 2021. Congratulations to RAM Ratings. Renowned for its independent and insightful views, RAM’s credit ratings and assessments serve as defining benchmarks for investors and market participants to make sound decisions. RAM is the world’s leading rating agency for securities issued under Islamic principles, or sukuk. Its vast experience and contributions in the rapidly expanding sukuk market have won the agency numerous awards.
“This award is a great endorsement of the trust placed in RAM by our stakeholders and recognition of our role as a leader in the Islamic rating space. The award speaks of the strength and experience of our rating team and further reinforces our commitment to nurture a vibrant and sustainable Islamic capital market. We will continue to do this through dynamic market engagement and active communication of our analysis and market opinions.’’
Virtual award ceremonies are becoming a norm due to the ongoing pandemic situation and is likely to continue post-COVID. Hosting an award ceremony virtually allows for a global mass audience that is nearly impossible to achieve in a physical ceremony. The pandemic has forced the world to look for new avenues and new ways of conducting business. As they say, the show must go on. However potentially lucrative online award ceremonies have proven to be, we all hope to one day return to physical ceremonies with a chance of networking. The current ongoing situation has made us realise that it is even more important that we continue to celebrate and recognise achievements of people, companies and institutions across industries and continents. This is a powerful way of moving forward when everything else seems to be at a standstill.
The statistics of the global viewership have been represented in the tables below.
Table 1 shows the number of views on the video from each country or region. The highest number of viewers came from Europe, Bangladesh and Africa.