The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) have joined forces with a tri-lingual Islamic finance qualification.

The global professional bodies, which have a combined total of 756,000 members and students, have agreed to work together to promote the CISI Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ).

This comes as CISI, which represents those working in the wealth management, financial planning and capital markets professions, launched the IFQ in 2007.

Since then almost 3,950 exams have been sat globally.

Simon Culhane, chartered FCSI and chief executive at CISI, said: “We are delighted to be working with ACCA on further developing the promotion of the IFQ, which covers finance from both a technical and Sharia perspective.
Since its launch the IFQ has been taken in over 50 countries and we are looking forward to collaborating with ACCA to increase the market for this industry leading qualification which prepares candidates to hold key positions in the Islamic finance and takaful (Islamic insurance) professions.”

The IFQ, which is a Level 3 Certificate, is available worldwide and both the exam and workbook are produced in English, Arabic and French. It is suitable for existing and new employees and those seeking a career in Islamic finance.

This comes as statistics by CityUK found that the UK is the top western centre for Islamic finance and the global market for Islamic financial services increased by 12% in 2014 to $2 trillion. The market is expected to top $3 trillion this year.

Helen Brand, ACCA chief executive, said: “Islamic finance is recognised as a vital and thriving market which will continue to grow on the global stage. This qualification has immense relevance, offers technical and also Sharia law perspectives, and importantly it has been developed by experts.”

The news was welcomed by Alex Reynolds, IFA at London-based Advies Private Clients. He said: “I think that CISI and ACCA working together is a great initiative and will certainly help encourage many to complete the qualification and in turn raise awareness among advisers.

“I have not noticed a rise in clients asking for this but this does not mean the demand is not there and therefore we should welcome the fact that these bodies are trying to be pro-active.”

Aamina Zafar is one of the UK’s leading financial journalists. She has previously worked as a senior reporter at FT’s Financial Adviser. The award-winning journalist writes regularly on the IFA community, mortgages, pensions and financial regulation.

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