Islamic finance relies on too few of its scholars
The Islamic finance industry is not short of qualified sharia scholars to meet growing demand, but it relies too heavily on a handful of them, limiting growth potential and raising regulatory concerns, experts say.
Islamic finance experts have previously said the nearly $1 trillion industry is struggling to find scholars with the business acumen, technology and language skills necessary to help the sector evolve.
(Photo: A trader at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh, March 18, 2008/Fahad Shadeed)
But consultancy Funds@Work found that more than 300 scholars sit on the sharia boards of Islamic institutions. However, it said that just 20 of these scholars appear on 54 percent of such boards.
Volker Nienhaus, consultant to the Malaysia-based regulatory body Islamic Financial Services Board, said “There are problems with conflict of interest, there may be confidentiality problems, and the top scholars are overburdened so lack of time is a problem…Islamic finance standards right now are not up to the standard of European regulators.”