KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has a niche to develop talent in Islamic finance compared with other Islamic nations amid shortage of such talent as a whole, according to Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM).
Its chief executive officer (CEO), Datuk Dr Adnan Alias, said the country’s closest competitor at the moment was United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Unlike UAE, which only has one private body governing talent development in Islamic finance, Malaysia has the right landscape and regulatory framework to further spur the development of talent in Islamic finance,” he told StarBiz.
He said the contribution of Islamic financial sector to nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was expected to be in the region of 10% to 12% in 2020 compared with the latest figure of 8.6% in 2010.
In terms of workforce in the Islamic financial sector, he added it was expected to rise from 144,000 currently to 200,000 in the next seven to eight years.
Adnan said total employment in Islamic finance as against total financial sector was 11% or 16,000 and he expected it to rise moving forward. In the takaful sector alone, he said there were now more than 131,000 agents.
According to Adnan, there are four components that Malaysia has that has facilitated in making talent development complete.
They are the availability of training providers (like IBFIM, among others), industry qualifications and industry accreditation, and the upcoming establishment of a professional body for Islamic finance.
The completeness of talent development in Islamic finance could also be gauged by the sub-sectors it covered – banking, takaful, capital markets and wealth management, he noted.
For Islamic wealth management, which was an area of focus in the financial sector blueprint (2011-2020), he said there was growing demand for this service.
“The number of high net-worth individuals is expected to rise to 68,000 in 2015 from the present 32,000.
“There are now 50 firms offering the service and we expect higher demand for the service in 2015 due to the surge of this group of people,’’ he added.
Adnan said one of the ways to attract talent in Islamic finance was through shared resources within the operating sphere of financial institutions, among others.
As for developing, attracting and retaining talent, Malaysia was ranked 36 and this figure is expected to slide to 39 among 60 countries in 2015 based on the Global Talent Index.
He felt the idea for Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) to look into the development and operationalisation of an Asia Financial Services Talent Index could spur talent development further in Islamic finance.
IBFIM is one of AIF’s four affiliate institutions.
The others include Institute of Bankers Malaysia, The Malaysian Insurance Institute and Securities Industries Development Corp.