CIMA launches Islamic finance
qualification in the UK

The Chartered Institute of
Management Accountants (CIMA) launched its global qualification in
Islamic finance this month in response to an increase in demand for
Islamic banking in the UK.

CIMA will become the first accountancy body in the UK to train
its members in Islamic financial law, which accounts for 1 percent
to 2 percent of the financial global services industry and is worth
up to £250 billion ($500 billion) worldwide, according to the UK
Financial Services Authority. This figure is predicted to grow at a
rate of 15 percent to 20 percent.

CIMA director of education Robert Jelly said the institute
developed the qualification in recognition of demand from the
global business community. He added: “The CIMA Islamic Finance
qualification will assist employers in the City of London and other
major financial centres throughout the world in equipping their
employees to develop financial products.”

CIMA’s qualification is available at certificate level and
comprises four modules: Islamic commercial law; Islamic banking and
takaful (insurance); Islamic capital markets and
instruments; and accounting and analysis of Islamic financial
institutions. It is estimated that a student can complete these
modules in two to six months, depending on their experience.

Islamic finance is an ethical mode of financial services derived
principally from Sharia (Islamic law) and the teachings of the
Koran. Its most distinctive element is the prohibition of interest,
whether nominal or excessive. Other elements include the emphasis
on equitable contracts, the linking of finance to productivity, the
desirability of profit sharing and the prohibition of gambling and
certain types of uncertainty.

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CIMA’s qualification has been developed alongside these principles,
with detailed input from the International Institute of Islamic
Finance chief executive Mohd Daud Bakar, a renowned Sharia scholar.
He said Islamic finance is “based on principles of equitable risk
and returns and remove interest from being the focus of financial
transactions”. Bakar added: “This promotes direct investments in
the real economy and provides opportunities and mechanisms for
participation from both institutional as well as the retail
sectors. Islamic finance endorses industries that maintain the
well-being of society at large while staying clear of industries
such as gambling and weaponry.”

Previously, Islamic banking was restricted to specialist Islamic
banks in the UK and some British Muslims found it difficult to find
banking practices that would not conflict with their religion.
However, in the past five years there has been a rapid rise in the
provision of these services. Large firms, such as Deloitte UK, have
also appointed Sharia scholars to improve their Islamic Finance