KUALA LUMPUR: The central bank will be forming a steering committee made up of representatives from both industry and academia to undertake an in-depth review of the strategic positioning of important organisations as part of its efforts to re-energise and reinvent the Islamic finance talent development landscape. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said over the years, the central bank had established specialised institutions to enrich the talent ecosystem. These institutions, namely the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, International Shari’ah Research Academy (ISRA), Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM), the Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals and the Association of Shariah Advisors in Islamic Finance Malaysia have collectively contributed towards sustainable development of professionals and expertise in the industry. “The industry has significantly benefited from the contribution of these institutions,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Educator’s Manual (EM) on Syariah Standards and Operational Requirements: Murabahah here yesterday. “The future growth of Islamic finance, especially cross border, is dependent on the harmonisation and mutual recognition of syariah views and rulings across the globe. In the context of syariah standards, the dynamic process of its development involves the act of harmonising the differences and embracing diversity.” He said strategising talent deployment is one of two additional areas that if pursued, could further enhance stakeholder gains from the EM. The other area is the reconfiguration of academic programme to nurture talent with enhanced employability. The EM, which is jointly developed by BNM in collaboration with ISRA and IBFIM, is an inaugural initiative by the central bank to publish its syariah standards and practical operational standards as teaching materials for students, which include practical case studies from the Islamic finance industry. The EM summarises the principles, pillars and components of murabahah (cost plus mark-up sale). Murabahah is the first series of EM launched, out of 14 syariah standards that are being developed by BNM. The EM for other contracts will be developed gradually. “Translating the syariah standard and operational requirements into a user-friendly format for adoption in the academic syllabus of our local universities will go a long way in enhancing the Islamic finance syllabus by educational establishment,” Muhammad said. Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia and Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia are the pilot strategic partners to adopt the EM. “The adoption of the standards by learning institutions will pave the way for greater understanding and acceptance of these standards as a global starting point of reference for the Islamic finance community,” added Muhammad. He said Islamic finance in the country has become a key segment in the financial system, with now 27 players offering over 100 financial products beyond the basic financial offerings. Islamic banking assets now stand at 27% of the total banking system, while there is greater acceptance of takaful with its increased penetration rate to 14.8% of the population.