London, October 26, 2016 - The International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic finance (ISRA) and the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC) jointly held an international thematic workshop at K&L Gates, One New Change, London, UK. The event attracted more than a hundred participants from various organisations and jurisdictions to extensively deliberate on the issue of Shari’ah governance of Islamic financial institutions. The speakers panel included leading international scholars as well as the Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan and representative from the Bank of England. The seminal External Shari’ah Audit Report was also presented at the event. The report, underpinned by the insights shared by more than 35 exclusive in-depth interviews with regulators, auditors and financial institutions in Bahrain, Oman, Malaysia and Pakistan, reviews the development of international regulations and early implementation challenges for external Shari’ah audit.



Details of the programme for this one-day workshop are as follows:

10:00-10:15    Welcome Address

  • Jonathan Lawrence, Partner, K&L Gates LLP
  • Omar Shaikh, Advisory Board Member, IFC
  • Prof. Dr. Mohamad Akram Laldin, Executive Director, ISRA


10:15-12:00    Scholars Session

Discussion Points

  • Do remuneration package and commercial incentives present a conflict of interest for the Shari’ah scholars?
  • Should Shari’ah scholars/the IFIs be making fee disclosures for the assurance related activities? If yes, what should be the level of disclosures and how that should be done?
  • What are the gaps in existing Shari’ah governance practices?
  • Is internal Shari’ah audit sufficient to ensure Shari’ah compliance?
  • Are there any factors that may compromise independence, integrity and objectivity of internal Shari’ah auditors?
  • Are Shari’ah scholars auditing their own Fatwas?
  • What is the view of the scholars on current trends in Fatwa shopping?
  • What can we learn from conventional auditors that can be applied to the Shari’ah assurance/compliance process?


Session Chair

  • Umer Suleman, Senior Regulatory & Operational Risk Project Manager, ‎HSBC / Islamic Finance Council UK


Panel Speakers

  • Prof. Dr. Mohamad Akram Laldin, Executive Director, ISRA
  • Dr. Bashir Aliyu Umar, Director, Centre for Islamic Civilization and Interfaith Dialogue, Bayero University, Kano
  • Bilal Khan, Dome Advisory
  • Sheikh Haytham Tamim, Founder, Shariah Solutions
  • Dr. Marjan Muhammad, Director of Research, ISRA



12:00-12:30    External Shari’ah Audit Report Presentation

  • Mezbah Uddin Ahmed, Associate Researcher, ISRA
  • Nadeem Haq, Executive Manager, IFC


12:30-01:30    Lunch Break

01.30-02:15    Regulators Session

Discussion Points

  • Who would be a regulator?
  • Post banking crisis world - is enough being done by regulators to address the systemic challenges and what can IF add to the discussion?
  • Bank of England’s current views on Islamic finance and challenges in regulating the Shari’ah governance process as a secular regulator.
  • State Bank of Pakistan’s current views on Islamic finance, recent experience with external Shari’ah audit and challenges in regulating the Shari’ah governance process.


Session Chair

  • Stella Cox, Managing Director, DDCAP Group


Panel Speakers

  • Saeed Ahmad, Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan
  • Arshadur Rahman, Manager - Shari’ah Compliant Facilities Project, Bank of England

02.15-03:40    Individual Ethics Session

Discussion Points

  • With the recent public dismay towards bankers’ bonuses, rate fixing and miss-selling scandals in conventional banking markets are Islamic bankers super human and immune towards such?
  • Is it all about the fatwa? To what level are Islamic bankers individually, personally responsible?
  • How are we addressing moral behaviour and personal ethics in banking? Does Islamic banking have a different approach to addressing such?


Session Chair

  • Jonathan Lawrence, K&L Gates LLP


Panel Speakers

  • Sultan Choudhury, Chief Executive Officer, Al Rayan Bank Plc, UK
  • Mohamad Noranuar Bin Sajari, Head - Sharia Structuring, Bank Nizwa, Oman
  • Iqbal Asaria CBE, Associate, Afkar Consulting Ltd
  • Umer Suleman, ‎Senior Regulatory & Operational Risk Project Manager, HSBC