International


  The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) launched its advanced diploma in Islamic finance (CADIF) program July 7 at the Islamic Finance News 2011 Issues & Investors Europe Forum in London.

 

The qualification is the first advanced diploma in Islamic finance launched by a professional chartered accountancy body, according to CIMA. It follows the launch of CIMA’s certificate in Islamic finance four years ago, which, following a recent review, has been upgraded to the CIMA diploma in Islamic finance.

 

According to the CIMA guide An Introduction to Islamic Finance, the term “Islamic finance” reflects financial business that is not contradictory to the principles of Shariah law. Shariah law bans practices such as paying or receiving interest and investing in activities related to the production or sale of pork, tobacco or alcohol products and services such as pornography, gambling and entertainment. Islamic finance is conducted in accordance with these prohibitions, which are intended to promote social justice.

 

“Islamic finance is becoming much more prominent throughout the financial institutions of the world, rapidly growing from a niche industry to a mainstay of finance,” said John Willsdon, leadership and development specialist at CIMA, in a news release. “CIMA’s qualifications in Islamic finance have been developed with this switch in mind, and to help meet a global shortfall of skilled Islamic finance professionals.”

 

Willsdon added that CIMA’s new qualification offers international recognition by the industry “as an alternative to the regional qualifications available in isolated geographies. We see the Islamic finance market as particularly important, with its current global value estimated at more than $1.1 trillion, and our aim is to provide appropriately trained human capital to sustain the industry’s continued growth.”

 

The CADIF program (tinyurl.com/3gfvbqf) is designed to benefit many types of professionals, Willsdon said. “This includes those working in the financial services sector who would like to be part of this dynamic industry, those already working in Islamic finance who want to hone their skills and broaden their knowledge, and those in the accounting profession who advise on Islamic issues.”

 

Founded in 1919, CIMA represents more than 183,000 members and students in 168 countries. CIMA’s curriculum prepares students and professionals in the business, industry, government and nonprofit arenas.

 

In May, the AICPA Governing Council unanimously approved a joint venture between the AICPA and CIMA to create a credential called the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) that will launch in the first quarter of 2012. More details are available at cgma.org.

 

 

  The SEC issued an investor bulletin July 20 (tinyurl.com/3fcswah) highlighting some of the most significant risks that foreign currency exchange (forex) transactions may pose for individual investors.

 

The forex market is a large and generally liquid financial market, according to the bulletin. Banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, as well as large corporations use the forex market to manage the risks associated with fluctuations in currency rates. However, the risk of loss for individual investors who trade forex contracts can be substantial. They include:

 

  • Quoting conventions for currency values are not uniform.
  • Transaction costs can turn profitable trades into losing transactions.
  • Trading systems may not operate as intended.
  • The use of high levels of leverage can produce big losses.

 

“Forex trading can be very risky and is not appropriate for all investors,” said Lori Schock, director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, in a news release. “Individual investors considering forex trading need to fully understand the unique characteristics of this market and consult their financial adviser before making any investment decisions.”

 

On July 13, the SEC issued an interim final temporary rule (tinyurl.com/3q36dyy) to permit registered brokerdealers to continue to engage in retail forex transactions for up to one year under the existing regulatory framework that applies to them when conducting such transactions. Under section 742(c) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, retail forex transactions would have been prohibited as of July 16, 2011, in the absence of SEC action.

 

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