Islamic Fintech 2022 - Logomark

2nd Annual

Islamic Fintech Leaders Summit

< Islamic Fintech Beyond Borders >

21 & 22 September 2022

Interviews with industry experts on The Islamic FinTech Leaders Summit 2022

Following last month’s important meeting, the 2nd Annual Islamic Leaders Summit held on 21st & 22nd September 2022 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which gathered more than 200 in-person representatives of Islamic Financial Institutes and Fintech players from Malaysia, Indonesia, UK, Turkey, Bahrain, UAE, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uganda, Gambia and many more online .  During the event, we spoke to some of those experts for in-depth interviews and insightful comments from Alif Bank, KAF Investment BankParticipation Banks Association of Türkiye (TKBB), Sedania As Salam, Fintech Association of Japan and Mesinkira.

Want to learn more about 2nd Islamic Fintech Leaders Summit?  Read our interviews with Emnes Event’s Marketing Executive Zhansaya Kalidoldina, as she spoke with expert speakers. You can find the episode here.

Digital Banks Focus

Zhansaya: Islamic Fintech framework in Central Asia is not as advanced as in Malaysia or other countries. Can you please share your experience and challenges that you faced opening a Digital Bank in Tajikistan?

Abdullo Kurbanov: I think in terms of challenges the first challenge that we had in Tajikistan is mostly about breaking stereotypes, building a culture that was kind of unique in bringing together a lot of amazing people that we have a privilege to work with. And those were the challenges due to being a smaller market, The civil war in the 90s that put us few years backward. Being able to do those things was slightly difficult. For example, bringing a culture of meritocracy. In Central Asia you would expect a lot of phone calls people asking you to have some of their relatives to work for you. Maintaining a culture of meritocracy was one of the challenges. So, the first challenge is building the right culture and bringing the best people.

Secondly, it is about scale of the market. For us doing business in Tajikistan is something that is very close to our heart and we feel that if the same amount of effort that you put in a smaller market if you had put in a larger market probably would have gained more in terms of revenue and so force. But for us the number one thing is that we really enjoy doing something that makes a difference and we see it in the eyes of our clients, and that is what we love the most. The challenge is that the market is smaller, but we are not doing this only for the profit.

The third thing for us was the technology part that I mentioned in the session as well, the challenge for us was to write our own technology, to build the technology in house and to build it in a way that today it is not only compatible with global technology providers but also in some ways even slightly more up to date.

Abdullo Kurbanov

Co-Founder & CEO | Alif Bank Tajikistan

Rafiza Ghazali

Director Digital Banking | KAF Investment Bank

Answering the question about establishing a Digital Bank in Malaysia, experience challenges and inspiration Rafiza Ghazali, Director Digital Banking, KAF Investment Bank noted that it was great hearing about other counties Digital Banks models. So far there is no one fit model for Digital Banking that works and the interesting part is that being in a green field and the kind of person you need to be who is comfortable with experiments. Because this is something new and there are a lot of things being done that have been almost impossible for the existing traditional banks to do.
A different mindset, combination of banking experience and an attitude of curiosity to explore new opportunities.

There is a lot of research being done on international experience. However, their context and environment need to be taken into account. The major finding is that in order to be successful, having a big wide customer base and fitting the products towards their needs and expectations as well as ability to capture data in order to determine which products are in demand and to make decisions quickly, taking actions based on the insights – that is the right business model that she is looking for.

Türkiye FinTech Experience - A Perspective on Malaysia

Zhansaya: What is your vision on Islamic Fintech? And what are your observations on Malaysia and global framework?

Fatma Çinar: I am a frequent flyer to Malaysia because it is one of the most important ecosystem members of Islamic Finance industry. Today I am very impressed by the discussions about the establishment process of digital banks because they are significant for the financial inclusion of the industry, for the society and needs emerged due to Covid period. Digital banks are not just a preference, it is a requirement to satisfy the needs and expectations of people. To serve the customers we are in need of fintech solutions and they should be deeply studied in laboratories with long discussions, testing and AI capabilities. Which means that globally all the institutions at the same time are emergent to go for this initiative. What happened in Malaysia and some other countries is that they took their agenda for this need and worked for it with academicians, central banks and all key players. Considering this agile responsiveness of Malaysia for such needs we see that there is an important capacity in term of fintech, social finance solutions for the balance of economy which was disrupted during the Covid period.

When talking about fintech I am going to some Islamic Finance values, they are interrelated. We need to interact with each other and share experience. This is quite a dynamic sector; we do not have time to make paper work. We need to learn from experience and customize this with the needs of our own countries and try to contribute to the development of the sector.

Innovation in Financial Institution from Sedania As-Salam CEO,
Distinguished Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Khairul Nisa Ismail

Zhansaya: How banks and insurers are driving innovation in the age of fintechs and is there more competition to find the next big innovation?

Khairul Nisa Ismail: 10 years ago, fintech tended to be more of a disrupter because of all the innovations being done. I think the more we evolve, especially the banks in terms of digitalization, in fact, pandemic helped a lot in accelerating the journey. It is more of a collaborative effort right now. However, being an Islamic fintech driver, we need to have a bit of disruptive DNA in ourselves so we can keep innovating ourselves. That is where we come in to complement banks as well as SFI. We evolved to provide end-to-end commodity trading platform which enables digital banking to do real time trading anytime, anywhere using digital commodities.

Currently we are using airtime. It eases the life of digital landing agencies such as Grab, GCL Credit to do real time approvals and disburse anytime. This creates a good solution to digital banking customers. We are looking at ways to get more digital commodities out there so that we also can cater for the bigger transactions such as Sukuk as airtime is not enough by kilowatt hours to come in. This is the reality after 4 years of research. We are constantly looking at the right technology partners that are willing to evolve and able to do modularization and to provide open APIs, because our platform is API enabled.

Mesinkira Start-Up Founder Interview: From Start-Up to a Bank?

Zhansaya: How to expand a start-up internationally? What is your experience, opportunities and challenges you facing?

Syed Omar Almohdzar: We started Mesinkira not so long ago, first we had an intention of uplifting the micro SME and the B40 segments. The big issue that known for these segments is with the access to capital and financing, there is no bank that will serve them because of the lack of track record and creditworthiness. We wanted to breach that gap and by doing it, we can establish a better understanding how they stand in terms of credit scoring and later on we have the aspiration to become the credit centre for this segment for the banks to refer to and furthermore provide financing internally ourselves so we can, hopefully, become a bank in the next few years.

Syed Omar Almohdzar

Founder & CEO | Mesinkira

Collaboration in FinTech Ecosystem – the Japan Perspective

Takeshi Kito

Zhansaya: Digitization trend in Japan: how do start-ups collaborate with each other? What are the initiatives that Fintech Association of Japan doing to spur innovation?

Takeshi Kito:

Our Association is kind of Fintech hub and we are facilitating the collaborations between fintech start-ups as well as financial institutions. We are very proactive to have innovations in Japanese Fintech Ecosystem. To achieve this vision we host meet ups, conferences and networking opportunities between our members and stakeholders.   

In conclusion we would like to highlight the necessity of evolving of solutions in Fintech by adapting to the environment and committing towards excellence, most importantly not forgetting about Islamic values. It is crucial to exchange knowledge and create a strong global network. We also would like to thank all the industry experts for coming and sharing their experience and opinions. We hope that the summit was a useful and inspiring experience for all participants, and that together we can go on to develop even more innovation in this industry.

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