Tuesday, September 7, 2010

HSBC Amanah picks Rafe as chief, awaits BNM nod

By Habhajan Singh

HSBC Amanah Malaysia Bhd is said to have chosen a local Islamic banker to helm its operations while Maybank Islamic Bhd is casting its net wider, including the Middle East, in search for a potential new head for its operations.

Rafe Haneef, a promising local banker in the Islamic finance circle, has been tipped to take charge of the Islamic banking subsidiary of HSBC global banking group.

It is understood HSBC Amanah Malaysia is now awaiting for the green light from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), one of the steps any person must go through before they can be appointed as a chief executive at local banks and insurance companies, both sectors which come under the purview of the central bank.

"His move to Dubai is on hold for now with this new assignment," said one source.

Rafe, who was managing director of Dubai-based Islamic investment company Fajr Capital, had just taken up the position of managing director at HSBC Amanah, responsible for its global markets in Asia-Pacific, which would have required him to move to Dubai.

At Maybank Islamic, sources told The Malaysian Reserve that the largest Islamic banking player in Asia-Pacific asset size is "still on active pursuit" in its search for a potential new chief executive. "Wahid himself has met some candidates," one source said.

Maybank Islamic is the subsidiary of Malayan Banking Bhd headed by Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar.

On Aug 23, this newspaper, quoting sources, reported Maybank Islamic was in the market to head-hunt for a new CEO to replace Ibrahim Hassan who will retire soon.

In the same report, HSBC Amanah Malaysia was also reported to be on the lookout for a new head as its executive director and CEO Musa Abdul Malek had opted for retirement.

A check on Rafe's profile found references of him having played a "leadership role" in developing sukuk and Islamic-structured and project finance since 1999 at HSBC, ABN AMRO and Citigroup. He was previously the head of Islamic banking for Citigroup Asia based in Kuala Lumpur. Then, he was also responsible for developing Malaysia as a regional Islamic finance hub for Citigroup and spread its Islamic business footprint across the region.

Prior to joining Citigroup, he established the Global Islamic Finance Department at ABN AMRO based in Dubai and was in charge of the Islamic wholesale and retail businesses for the group. Before that, he was with HSBC Amanah in London and Dubai focusing on Islamically-structured crossborder transactions and the sukuk market.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on 8 September 2010. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance on Mondays, edited by Habhajan Singh)


imran said...

Very capable man indeed.All the best!

Anonymous said...

Rafe is a person, where everyone wants to work with him.

I am confident, he will provide a new thought leadership for the industry at this juntucre and take it to the next level.