Fresh Advisory Board for ‘Islamic’ KiwiSaver

A Correspondent

Amanah Ethical has restructured its Islamic Advisory Board (IAB) as part of its ongoing development as a locally owned Islamic Financial Institution.

The Company is the only organisation in New Zealand to provide Sharia compliant KiwiSaver Scheme (Indian Newslink, January 15, 2015).

Managing Director Brian Henry said Sheikh Mohammad Amir and Dr Ahmad Rufai have been appointed to the Advisory Board, bringing ‘solid credibility.’

“Both are highly respected senior Islamic scholars,” he said.

The role of the IAB is to ensure that the investment mandate and corporations, which make up the investment portfolio, comply with the tenets of Sharia.

Non-Executive Director Associate Professor Dr Faruk Balli, a member of the Advisory board said, “From the outset I have worked hard to ensure that Amanah is strictly Sharia compliant. The high calibre of Islamic scholarship the appointments bring to Amanah will ensure that all investments are subjected to the rigorous scrutiny required.”

Sheikh Mohammad Amir

Brian Henry with Sheikh Mohammad Amir
Brian Henry with Sheikh Mohammad Amir

Sheikh Mohammad Amir has been on the Ulama Committee and the Board of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ). He is a religious advisor to the Muslim World League and a member on the Sharia Advisory Committee of the World Halal Food Council.

A graduate of the Faculty of Quran and Higher Islamic Studies (Distinction) of the Islamic University Al Madinah (Saudi Arabia), Sheikh Mohammed also graduated with a BA (Islamic Studies) (First Division) from the Islamic Institute, Darul Uloom Deoband, India.

Sheikh Mohammad is a Justice of the Peace (JP) and currently holds several positions within the Islamic community in New Zealand.

Varied roles

Among them are Imam (Religious Leader), Wellington Islamic Centre (International Muslim Association of New Zealand Inc), responsible for coordinating religious, educational and other dawah and community activities; Chairman, Religious Advisory Board of FIANZ and Chairman, Halal Committee of New Zealand; Vice President and Spokesperson of Ulama Council of New Zealand; Religious Advisor for Islamic Education and Dawah Trust Auckland; and Delegate of Rabita (Muslim World League), Saudi Arabia in New Zealand.

He is also Religious Advisor to the Halal Committee set up in New Zealand by The Muslim World League to safeguard the religious suitability and Halal integrity for the meat exported to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Member, Sharia Advisory Committee of the World Halal Food Council.

Halal Qualification

In addition to these, he has assisted the New Zealand Islamic Development Board (NZIDB) to develop various Unit Standards and frame work for a Halal Qualification in conjunction with the New Zealand Industry Training Organisation (NZITO). The primary purpose of this qualification is to improve the credibility of the Halal certification systems in New Zealand and to show competency at all stages of the process.

Dr Ahmad Rufai

Dr Ahmad Rufai is currently the Head of Sharia at the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) based in Bahrain.

He was previously Sharia Advisor to Crescent Financing Company in Hamilton (New Zealand), where he was responsible for ensuring Sharia compliance of the company’s transactions and products.

His previous responsibilities include Special Sharia Advisor to the Waikato Muslim Association and the community in Hamilton; Islamic Jurisprudence lecturer at the Saudi Arabia International School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Impressive studies

He completed his PhD in Islamic Law of transactions and Islamic Insurance at University of Malaya, Malaysia in 2006. He obtained his Bachelor degree in Islamic Law at the Islamic University of Al Madinah in Saudi Arabia.  Earlier, he studied Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic history at Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.

Dr Rufai has played a significant and key role in the dissemination of key standard master agreements for the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) as well as in the dissemination of its Sukuk reports (first, second and third editions).

He has written, and had published, numerous papers relating to the field of Islamic Finance.

Faruk Balli

Dr Faruk Balli
Dr Faruk Balli

Associate Professor Faruk Balli received his PhD from University of Houston in 2007.

Prior to joining Massey University, he worked as a research Economist in Central Bank of Qatar, in Dubai University as Assistant Professor and in University of Houston as a Teaching Fellow. His interests include international macroeconomics and international finance, while his research areas mainly cover (but not limited to) macroeconomic aspects of international finance, international portfolio allocation, income and consumption smoothing, and modelling the volatility in asset prices.

Popular Scholar

Professor Balli has contributed articles to a number of publications, including Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of International Money and Finance, Tourism Management, Journal of Travel Research, Canadian Journal of Economics, Economics of Transition, Tourism Economics, World Economy and Economic Letters.

He has acted as a referee for more than 15 journals and currently serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Bonds and Currency Derivatives.

Some of his selected works have been presented at the European Finance Association, FMA Annual Meetings, and American Economic Association Meetings.

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