[(from left to right) Professor Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2016 recipient; Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Ranjit Ajit Singh, Chairman, Securities Commission Malaysia; Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Sultan of Perak; Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Al-Haj Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah; Muhammad Ibrahim, Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia; Johari Abdul Ghani, Malaysia Minister of Finance II; Tun Musa Hitam, Jury Chairman, Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2016.]
Kuala Lumpur: Professor Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, PhD, was on Monday conferred the Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2016 (The Royal Award) by the King of Malaysia Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
This biennial Royal Award initiative, spearheaded by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia recognises individuals who have excelled in advancing Islamic finance globally through their outstanding contributions and achievements.
Professor Rifaat’s significant contributions to the development of the Islamic financial services industry include his instrumental roles in the establishment of two international standards setting bodies – the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB).
He is the first Secretary-General of the IFSB, a post he held since the IFSB started to operate in 2003 until 2011. Under his stewardship, the membership of the IFSB expanded from nine founding members in 2003 to almost 200 members in 2010, from 40 countries.
In 2012, Professor Rifaat assumed the position of CEO of International Islamic Liquidity Management, an international institution established by central banks, monetary authorities and multilateral organisations with the primary objective of issuing short-term Shariah-compliant tradable financial instruments denominated in major reserve currencies to facilitate cross-border liquidity management amongst Islamic banks.
He successfully garnered support and commitment from participating central banks and regulatory authorities for the issuance and trading of US-dollar denominated sukuk with tenure of less than one-year in 2013. These sukuk are one of the major breakthroughs and represent a new class of assets in the Islamic financial services industry.
Professor Rifaat is a Visiting Professor at the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading, United Kingdom, and was a Member of the Governing Council of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), Malaysia.
He is a prolific writer and has authored a number of academic and professional papers in key areas including accounting, finance, governance, Shariah and regulatory issues to further contribute to the development of Islamic finance.
“Professor Rifaat’s vision and passion for Islamic finance, and his in-depth understanding of both conventional and Islamic finance, has enabled him to pioneer on many frontiers and set standards which are instrumental to the exponential growth of Islamic finance globally,” said Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of an eight-member independent international jury for the Royal Award.
On receiving The Royal Award, Professor Rifaat said, "The Royal Award is a great honour because it demonstrates recognition for the work that has been done over the years. It also provides me with more opportunities to give back to the community by sharing all that I have learnt.”
The recipients of the Royal Award serve as a role model to inspire others to contribute to the advancement of the industry.
The three previous recipients were Dr Abdul Halim Ismail, founding member of Malaysia’s first Islamic bank (2014), Iqbal Khan, CEO of Fajr Capital (2012) and Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, founder of the Dallah al Baraka Group, one of the Middle East's largest conglomerates (2010).