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IFSB: Islamic FinTech Finance Bigger in Asia than First Thought

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:01 PM
Rebecca Campbell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:01 PM

Islamic fintech finance in Asia is anticipated to be bigger than originally thought, says the acting secretary-general of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB).

Zahid ur Rehman Khokher, acting secretary-general of the IFSB, was speaking at the organisation’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to the Nikkei Asian Review . During an interview, Khokher discussed the role of the fintech sector and the measures IFSB is taking to apply it within Islamic finance.

At the end of 2016, global Islamic finance including bank assets stood at an estimated $1,893 billion, according to figures from IFSB. However, Khokher believes that Islamic finance has the potential to expand further into the Asian market.

He said:

Some of the key Islamic banking markets in the world are in the Asian region, while Islamic capital markets are also flourishing in many countries, with many others actively exploring opportunities in Islamic finance.

He noted that the IFSB has been ‘closely monitoring’ global developments in fintech. Yet, he feels as though there is a shortage of staff with the appropriate skills necessary to boost development in Islamic finance, adding:

There is a need for developing human resources and appropriate expertise within central banks, Shariah boards, as well as in commercial financial institutions.

The growth of Islamic fintech finance has been increasing in recent months.

In April, an Islamic fintech firm in London became the first in the U.K. to gain regulatory approval from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Such a move further highlights Britain’s mission to remain as the global financial technology hub.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Malaysia was the idea ‘test bed‘ for developing fintech solutions and boosting the Islamic finance market. According to Marzunisham Omar, the assistant governor at the Bank Negara Malaysia, even though Islamic finance is still growing within the country, he thinks now is the time for the sector to embrace the ‘fintech wave.’

Featured image from Shutterstock.