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Saturday, 8 September 2007

Islamic finance industry players divided on consultants from abroad

PETALING JAYA: The move to give income tax exemptions to non-resident consultants with expertise in Islamic finance has received mixed views from industry players. CIMB Islamic Bank executive director and CEO Badlisyah Abdul Ghani said the incentives were good but “would not carry that much added value to the industry.” He said the experts in Islamic banking and finance were in Malaysia and that most financial centres were now chasing Malaysians for Islamic banking and finance in their markets because they lack the expertise.” “I like this incentive but it falls short of expectation. Protecting and retaining local talent in Malaysia is more important. Malaysian banks are losing talented and experienced Islamic bankers practically every day to Singapore, Dubai, Riyadh, London and Bahrain.” RHB Islamic Bank CEO Jamelah Jamaluddin said the proposal was good as Islamic banks could now afford to hire more experts from abroad to assist in the research and development of products and services for the industry. Badlisyah said the RM7bil allocation by EPF to be invested via Islamic fund management companies was most welcome. This would also encourage fund managers to manage more Islamic funds, which would have an indirect benefit on Islamic banking and capital market sector via increasing demand for Islamic investment instruments. Jamelah added that the RM7bil fund would enhance returns/dividends by EPF to its contributors as Islamic fund management centred around returns on investment in tangible assets. “It will also create a more vibrant Islamic capital market as most of these assets or projects will require funding,” she said. - (TS, 8 Sep 07)
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