Finance & Capital Market

IIFM to begin standardisation of Syndicated Financing

The Board of Directors of the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) has decided to initiate the standardisation of syndicated Ijarah and syndicated Murabaha financing documentation. 
This has been done based on feedback received from IIFM’s industry assessment exercise. The Board appreciated the financial assistance grant from the Islamic Development Bank Institute in supporting this important project. The standards development will commence early 2024 in consultation with the industry.
To enhance liquidity management products for Islamic banks, the Board also approved the plan to develop a global standardised Shari’ah-compliant Repo documentation that will provide a tool to manage liquidity which in turn will help the market to expand in an orderly manner. IIFM has completed the industry assessment exercise in this area and will soon commence its standards development process in consultation with the industry during early 2024. 
Priority initiatives
Among other priority initiatives, the Directors were briefed on the progress of the joint IIFM and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) initiative on carrying out operational improvements to existing hedging product confirmations; namely the Islamic Profit Rate Swap (IPRS) and the Islamic Cross Currency Swap (ICRCS). 
The purpose is to simplify the transaction process by segregating the annexes from the master terms and conditions. The industry consultation exercise has been completed and the new versions of the IPRS and ICRCS will be available soon. 
Khalid Hamad Al-Hamad, Chairman of IIFM, said: “Standardisation is a key element of the financial services industry and IIFM as well as other Islamic standard-setting bodies are extensively working on creation of transparent, robust and harmonised standards.” He also said: “The number of financial institutions using IIFM documents is progressing in a number of jurisdictions and the banks benefit tremendously from use of these high- level standards by saving on legal documentation related costs and time efficiency in terms of negotiation and execution of transactions. This also promotes uniform practices globally resulting in minimisation of operational risk, creation of legal certainty and facilitation of Shari’ah harmonisation for the sustainable development of the industry.”
Strong standards
Ijlal Ahmed Alvi, Chief Executive Officer of IIFM said: “The most important aspect in developing global standards is the process which starts with market assessment and establishment of industry requirements followed by extensive industry consultation on market practice, operational issues, regulatory & legal requirements and most importantly Shari’ah considerations. This process leads to development of strong standards covering all aspects as well as widely acceptable Shari’ah rulings which are of paramount importance.” 
Hamza Bawazir, EVP, Head of Shari’ah Division, Legal & Counselling Group at the Saudi National Bank and a Director on IIFM Board, said: “It is essential to have a body that sets the standards for documents pertaining to Islamic transactions, especially for standard streamlined commercial banking transactions. It is of utmost importance for Islamic banking to compete and thrive in the banking world by having such standards. It makes it easy for counterparts to enter into bilateral transaction efficiently and effectively. And it becomes feasible for international counterparts to do Islamic banking together. I urge the Islamic banking community to support IIFM to cover more transaction types to enhance the Islamic banking industry.”
The Directors reviewed a new social development initiative spearheaded by Indonesia, for IIFM to carry out an industry wide consultation on this Corporate Social Responsibility concept and its documentation related requirements for other Islamic jurisdictions. 
Training workshops
Some other initiatives discussed at the meeting included increasing the now well recognised practically oriented training workshops on IIFM’s published standards given its value in terms of capacity building. Considering the demand for such trainings, the Directors approved a plan to expand the workshops to be organised in different jurisdictions. 
In terms of value addition, the success of the annual IIFM Sukuk Report which is now globally recognised as one of the main source of information on the Sukuk market, the Directors also suggested IIFM to propose producing another report on a current topic deemed important for the industry’s continued development.
The Directors also deliberated on the proposal to hold an annual flagship conference and decided to continue with the planning process for organising the event in the coming year.--TradeArabia News Service