Sunday, November 9, 2008

Msia: New appointments at Islamic banks

By Habhajan Singh
Three Islamic banks last week announced the appointments of their heads, after getting the clearance from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) which regulates the sector.
On Nov 3, Musa Abdul Malek was named as CEO of HSBC Amanah Malaysia Bhd while Ismail Ibrahim was named the CEO of Public Islamic Bank Bhd (PIBB). On Nov 5, Azrulnizam Abdul Aziz was appointed as the CEO and executive director of Standard Chartered Saadiq Bhd.
The last major appointment in the local Islamic finance scene was on Aug 20, when Datuk Mohamed Azahari Kamil took the position of CEO of Asian Finance Bhd (AFB), becoming the first Malaysian to helm a foreign Islamic bank in Malaysia.
Musa, HSBC Amanah Malaysia's deputy CEO, who has been acting CEO since the departure of Yakub Bobat, becomes the second Malaysian to head a foreign Islamic bank in Malaysia.
The latest series of announcements began on Nov 3, when Public Bank Bhd announced the setting-up of PIBB, its wholly-owned subsidiary to carry out Islamic banking business with effect from Nov 1. Henceforth, Public Bank's Islamic banking business via the window concept was transferred to PIBB. It added that the subsidiary will continue to share its parent bank's infrastructure, IT platform and branch network including the use of Public Bank's ATMs, 242 branches and 26 hire purchase centres. Public Bank, led by local banker Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow, began its interest-free banking services in 1993 with the implementation of a dual banking system where the interest-free banking system operates side-by-side the conventional banking system. Its Islamic banking business has registered an average annual growth rate of 25% over the last five years, contributing significantly to Public Bank's profitability, it said. As at Sept 30, 2008, its Islamic banking assets stood at RM14.6 billion, or 7.7%, of the total assets of the group. Islamic financing stood at RM12.4 billion, or 10.5%, of the total loans and advances of the group while customers' deposits stood at RM11.9 billion, or 7.6%, of the total customers' deposits of the group.
Meanwhile, on the same day, HSBC Amanah Malaysia, a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd, said Musa will be responsible for the development of the subsidiary, the first Islamic subsidiary of a locally incorporated foreign bank to commence operations in August 2008. Musa replaces Yakub Bobat following his recent departure to an Islamic bank in the Middle East.
On Nov 5, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd announced the appointment of Azrulnizam Abdul Aziz as chief executive officer and executive director of Standard Chartered Saadiq Bhd, its wholly-owned Islamic banking subsidiary. He had earlier headed the bank's Islamic banking division. Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia CEO and managing director Julian Wynter described the 38-year-old banker as a force behind the rejuvenation of the division.
He said the establishment of Standard Chartered Saadiq is part of the bank's business strategy to become a leading Islamic financial services provider not only in Malaysia but also the region. Standard Chartered Malaysia was among the first banks in the country to offer Islamic banking products as an alternative banking option in its network of 37 branches. (By Habhajan Singh, The Malaysian Reserve, Nov 11, 2008. The Malaysian Reserve is a Kuala Lumpur based daily newspaper, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance)

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