But a regional consultant has warned that education providers in the UAE need to produce more graduates in Islamic finance if the country is to fulfill the ambition of UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to attract a larger share of such business in the next three years.
Tahseen Consulting, a specialised advisor on strategic and organisational issues in the Arab world, is forecasting that $87 million to $124 million could potentially enter the UAE Islamic banking system by 2015, creating 7,800 new jobs at Islamic banks. By the same year, the firm says, the number of people employed in the Islamic financial services sector in the UAE will double from about 10,000 currently to 20,000.
The firm’s research was yesterday released in the run-up to the Global Islamic Economy Summit, a two-day event that opens in Dubai on Monday and is being organised by Dubai Chamber and Thomson Reuters.
And Dr Sayd Farook, global head of Islamic capital markets for Thomson Reuters, told 7DAYS yesterday: “The criticism we always get is that most of Islamic finance right now is being managed by conventional bankers. They have no appreciation and nor do they care about the ethos of their business.”
His comments followed a roundtable organised by Dubai International Academic City. A survey by Thomson Reuters found that 50 per cent of Islamic banks polled said they find it hard to hire graduates for entry-level positions.
Farook said the current calibre of graduates is still not up to standard.
“I’ve had an opportunity to hire about 30 Islamic finance professionals over the past three years from across the world. What was lacking in most of these people is that while a lot of these people did have diplomas and qualifications in Islamic finance, I realised that I had more success in hiring non-Islamic finance graduated people,” he explained.
But Sameer Hasan, business director at Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance, called on “banks in the UAE” to “embrace graduates who specialised in Islamic finance over the conventional banker who does not know and does not appreciate the ethos of the Islamic finance industry”.
He also noted that most of the people who are currently studying Islamic finance education at Ethica are actually non-Muslims. The Global Islamic Economy Summit is being held at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.