State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) was voted as the best Central Bank for promoting Islamic Finance by a poll conducted by International Finance News, an arm of REDmoney Group, Malaysia. The votes were received from various institutions, practitioners and academicians from all over the world.
After the announcement, Deputy Governor, SBP Mr. Saeed Ahmad stated “SBP remains committed in promoting Islamic banking and finance and will continue to play a proactive and facilitative role domestically as well as globally. It is heartening to learn about recognition at the international level of efforts of SBP for developing Islamic Banking Industry on a sound and sustainable basis.”
Under the dynamic leadership of Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics, & Privatization and patronage of the Governor, SBP, Mr. Ashraf Mahmood Wathra a number of initiatives have been taken to support the growth of Islamic finance.
It may be mentioned here that Pakistan re-entered the international Sukuk market after nine years by issuing a sovereign Ijara Sukuk that was oversubscribed. A high level Steering Committee for Promotion of Islamic Banking has been constituted by the government that has played an instrumental role in synergizing efforts of all stakeholders and creating an enabling environment for the growth of Islamic banking and finance in the country.
Being cognizant of the challenges faced by Islamic banking industry SBP has provided liquidity management solutions for providing much desired Shariah-compliant investment avenues to the industry. The revised Shariah governance framework has laid down the necessary framework for ensuring Shariah compliance in Islamic banking institutions. Minimum capital requirement to establish Islamic banking subsidiary has been rationalized to attract new investment to this sector.
Recognizing the need for trained human resource, Mr. Saeed Ahmad said that SBP has played a key role in establishing three centers of excellence in Islamic finance education which are at IBA Karachi, LUMS Lahore and Institute of Management Sciences (IMS) in Peshawar. “These centers are expected to contribute effectively in supplying skilled human resource to Islamic banking industry,” he added.
In the meantime a meeting of three Centers of Excellence was held at SBP under the Chairmanship of Mr. Saeed Ahmad with the focus to increase the coordination among them. The meeting was attended by Chairman Centre of Excellence IBA Karachi Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Dean Business School LUMS Lahore Dr. Junaid Ashraf and Head Centre of Excellence IMS Peshawar Dr. Karimullah. It was unanimously agreed upon in the meeting that these centers will jointly arrange a high level international conference annually on Islamic Finance by inviting renowned Shariah scholars, academicians and practitioners. Further, it was also decided that a coordination committee comprising of representatives of each centre and SBP will proactively oversight their activities.
Islamic Finance News appreciated the roadmap developed by the SBP for Islamic banking industry by linking it to its impressive growth and stated “SBP is clearly doing something right.
Reckoning for Meezan bank
Meezan Bank has also been recognized as the global winner of ‘Best Islamic Retail Bank’ for 2015 by Islamic Finance News of REDmoney Group, Malaysia. In addition to this global award, Meezan Bank has also won the ‘Best Islamic Bank in Pakistan’, an award which has been conferred upon the Bank for the 10th time owing to its contributions to the Islamic finance industry.
Furthermore, Meezan Bank is also the runner-up for the award of ‘Best Overall Islamic Bank’ amongst all Islamic Banks of the world, winning 3rd position in this category for its strong performance and dedicated commitment towards the contribution of the Islamic banking industry.
The Bank has also been awarded ‘Pakistan Deal of the Year’ award for providing advisory services to K-Electric Limited — US$215 million — Retail Sukuk.
The Islamic Finance News (IFN) Awards honors the best in the Islamic financial industry across the world and are among the most prestigious and recognized awards in the global Islamic financial markets. IFN conducts ‘Best Banks Poll’ every year to determine the Best Islamic Finance Institutions from around the world.
Meezan Bank, Pakistan’s largest and premier Islamic bank, and EFU General Insurance Limited, one of country’s leading insurance companies, offering Window Takaful Operations, have joined hands for Takaful Coverage of Car Ijarah vehicles. As per the agreement, EFU Takaful will provide coverage to the vehicles leased by Meezan Bank through its Shariah-compliant car financing service – Car Ijarah.
The MoU was signed by Mr. Ariful Islam, Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank and Mr. Hasan Ali Abdullah, Managing Director, EFU General Insurance Limited Window Takaful Operations, at Meezan Bank’s Head Office, Karachi. Mr. Irfan Siddiqui, President & CEO of Meezan Bank was also present at the occasion.
Irfan Siddiqui said, “We are very happy that EFU’s name will now be included in the companies providing Takaful coverage for Car Ijarah. The powerful synergy created by Meezan Bank’s premium product Car Ijarah and EFU’s superior service standards will give Meezan Bank’s customers the best possible combination of convenience and security available in the country’s Auto Finance industry.”
Hasan Ali Abdullah said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Meezan Bank, which has the largest Islamic Banking branch network in the country and is one of the leaders in the Auto Financing sector in Pakistan. The agreement offers a great platform for the development of Takaful products, increasing coverage in the country, creating potential demand for Islamic financing products and offering a superior alternative to conventional insurance. We believe that this agreement will offer more to the society and is synchronized with the main aim of Takaful, namely mutual help for the common good.”
Meezan Bank, which is the 8th largest bank in Pakistan and the leading Islamic bank of the country is currently providing a comprehensive range of Islamic banking products and services through a retail banking network of more than 530 branches supported by a countrywide network of over 450 ATMs, Visa and MasterCard Debit cards, a 24/7 Call Center, Internet Banking and Mobile Banking facility.
Meezan Bank has consistently been recognized as the Best Islamic Bank in Pakistan by numerous local and international institutions, which is a testimony of the Bank’s commitment to excellence. These institutions include Islamic Finance News — Malaysia, Global Finance magazine – New York, Asset AAA — Hong Kong, Asiamoney – Hong Kong, The Banker – United Kingdom and CFA Association-Pakistan.
The JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited, an affiliate of Japan Credit Rating Agency, Japan has reaffirmed the Bank’s long-term entity rating of AA (Double A) and short-term rating at A1+ (A One Plus) with stable outlook. The rating indicates sound performance indicators of the Bank.
Meezan Bank is the only Islamic bank with AA credit rating in the Islamic banking industry in Pakistan.