العدد الحالي: ايلول/ سبتمبر 2018       اختر عدد :
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كلمة المجلس العام

Abdelilah BELATIK

Secretary General of CIBAFI

Welcome to the 49th edition of the Global Islamic Economics Magazine (GIEM). We wish Ramadan Kareem to all our readers and hope this month revives the spirit of piety and goodness both in our professional and personal lives. As always, it is our pleasure to keep you updated with the recent developments, current challenges and opportunities in the global Islamic finance industry. The GIEM also serves as the platform for CIBAFI to keep its stakeholders updated about its activities and key initiatives, and inform about important areas of development in the Islamic banking and finance industry.

CIBAFI held its 29th Board of Directors meeting, its 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM), and Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 13th June in Hilton Hotel Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The meetings, which were chaired by H.E. Sheikh Saleh A. Kamel witnessed the approval of the concept note of the CIBAFI Award, which aims to recognize and showcase institutions that contribute to and achieve outstanding accomplishments in the Islamic finance industry, based on carefully crafted criteria. The governing body of CIBAFI was presented with the audited financial statements for year 2015 which were duly approved. The AGM summarized 2015 activities of CIBAFI, and very positive developments were well received and appreciated. The meeting also approved and admitted seven new members into the CIBAFI membership from Australia, Kuwait, Mauritania, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

Responding to the megatrend in sustainability and pursuing the core values of Islamic finance, CIBAFI kick-started the 2016 Edition of the Global Islamic Bankers’ Survey (GIBS 2016) with the theme “Responsible Business Practices” as its core topic. This second survey focuses on demonstrating the true value of Islamic finance.

On the other side, playing the role of Islamic finance industry’s advocate, CIBAFI recognizes that technology risks are emerging concerns not only for the conventional banks, but also for Islamic banks around the globe. As the GIBS 2015 report revealed, Islamic banks may often need dedicated IT requirements which often may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The high exposure to IT risks is related to cybercrime, including security breaches and data losses, which requires Islamic banks to develop a strong and robust IT infrastructure to mitigate those risks.

Within the IT risk in the global financial industry, cybercrime continues to evolve as criminals adopt more efficient and profitable attack tactics, with majority of them undermining the international borders. As smartphone penetration reaches record levels globally, cybercrimes continue to rise, and now focus on standalone attacks on mobile devices which provide a larger attack base. Users, both individual and at bank level should  be aware of threats such as ‘email spearfishing’ where criminals study the lives and working habits of their targets and then send them a link or an attachment which, when opened, gives criminals control of their computer without their knowledge. This is critical, as many types of attack are fundamentally simple and low cost, and vital information such as credit cards details can be stolen. Banking Trojans, used with SMS sniffers on mobiles, have seen increased adoption over the past few of years.

On a larger scale, cybercrime professionals can stealthily deploy malwares into the banks’ systems, which then will have the ability to clone legitimate transactions and carry out fake money transfer orders out of the banks’ systems.

In a recent case in the UK a virus, believed to have been developed by a technically-skilled team to steal money from individuals and businesses around the globe, targeted financial institutions and a variety of payment systems, with losses estimated to be £20 million. More recently cyber criminals targeted almost US$1billion in one of the south Asian countries’ bank that prompted the governor of its Central Bank to resign. The bank had been the victim of one of the most successful bank robberies in history, in which cyber thieves stole US$81 million after executing a series of transactions via the New York Federal Reserve to accounts in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

While with secured large and sub-systems IT risks may emerge, large scale banks have sophisticated algorithms scrutinizing the transactions, that trigger an alarm when suspicious transaction/s takes place. Seasoned professionals, detailed risk analysis of transaction modes, and risk mitigation may prevent their occurrences. In an increasingly technologically advanced financial world, cyber threats and crimes are real and important risk considerations and should be provisioned for in the strategy and policy making.

For Islamic banks, these threats may not only have financial repercussions, but could also lead to reputational loss for the industry. The CIBAFI Survey showed that technology risks are indeed widely perceived as a major and growing category of risk. Islamic banks must safeguard themselves and be in sync with the technology change, and lagging behind can prove costly.

CIBAFI will continue to focus on its role as an important link between the various stakeholders of the Islamic financial industry in achieving its strategic goals, and bring to you the latest updates on the most crucial things that matter to the Islamic financial industry, both from inside and outside the industry. Stay tuned!