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The AIFC is continuing its work on Islamic finance development: the first detailed handbooks were presented

On November 22 in Astana, with the support of Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the official presentation of the first information handbooks in the Islamic finance industry in Kazakhstan – “Guidelines on Islamic Banking
and Financial Products” and “Guidelines on Islamic securities (Sukuk)” was held.

The project, initiated by the AIFC Islamic Finance and Business Hub, was implemented within the grant of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) called “Islamic Finance for Inclusive Growth – Capacity Building”, aimed at increasing literacy and awareness about Islamic finance and evolving the potential of Islamic finance in Kazakhstan.

The handbooks were developed by one of the key players in the international Islamic financial industry – the Islamic Finance Advisory & Assurance Services (IFAAS) company, providing advisory services to international organizations in more than 50 countries.

The Islamic financial system is developing at an astonishingly high rate in both advanced and emerging economics. Today the total assets of Islamic financial institutions worldwide have exceeded $ 250 billion and are increasing by about 15% every year, reports the International Monetary Fund.

However, despite the raising interest towards the Islamic finance market, Kazakhstan has been experiencing a shortage of well-balanced and professional information about this sector for several years, which negatively affects the development of the market. Therefore, it is expected that the handbooks will become a useful resource for a better understanding of Islamic finance products not only for financial institutions, such as banks, insurance, and consulting companies but also for potential consumers of services, who desire to increase the capital in accordance with their ethical principles.

The first handbook about Islamic Banking and Financial Products consists of 60 pages and includes three solid sections: introduction to Islamic Finance, Islamic Liabilities and Investment products, Islamic Assets and Financial products. The handbook examines in detail the fundamental principles of Sharia, the most common Islamic financial products, and products of the Islamic capital market, including primary structures, basic conditions and features, a list of legal agreements, etc. For instance, the manual will allow people to understand the process of obtaining Sharia-compliant car financing or mortgages.

 The second handbook on Islamic securities (Sukuk is the equivalent of bonds) includes a general overview of the market and the variety of Islamic securities. It also provides a detailed analysis of the structures for issuing Islamic securities, as well as the main conditions and features of this process. It is expected that developed materials will fill in the information gaps, both for issuers and investors of Islamic securities.

 The product structures listed in the handbooks have been developed in compliance with the Sharia standards of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

“Islamic Banking and Financial Products” Handbook can be downloaded here