Driving the future of employees income management

Fintech: FlexxPay

The future of employee engagement may well lie in managing the financial wellness of employees. The ability to integrate technology with smart income concepts that gives employees a degree of flexibility in receiving their earned salaries and commissions whenever needed will help companies increase productivity, boost retention, and remove workload from human resources teams.

That’s why today, we’re unveiling our latest Sharia advisory engagement—one that gives voice to the pay frequency problem and offers access to income that has already been earned, anytime, instantly. It’s called FlexxPay. With an instant and dynamic income payment platform, this cloud-based solution models around assisting your company’s biggest asset … your employees! To help them attain Sharia compliance we started our review process with the entry point of the SaaS terms and facilities management for both companies and employees. Other factors for certification included banking facility image, advance payment terms, re-imbursement policies, and transfer fees. With an entrepreneurial spirit we now look forward to auditing FlexxPay to ensure the financial security at the heart of this technology remains Sharia compliant.

We hope our engagement with FlexxPay helps capture new income programs focused on uplifting the future of employees!

Flexxpay Secures Sharia Certification

Flexxpay Secures Sharia Certification

FlexxPay, a cloud-based technology solution enabling employees to access their ‘earned income’ whenever needed, receives a Sharia Compliance certification for its platform from Shariyah Review Bureau. The platform has the convenience to be accessed through a mobile app, or web.

Employers benefit from no integration hassle and no changes to the payroll cycle or any risk of impacting the company’s cash-flow cycle. For employees, the benefits include the ability to access a portion of their earned salary and commission instantly, whenever required. There are no credit checks necessary with automatic eligibility for all employees once the employer is enrolled; no interest charge, only a nominal transaction fee. Employees with commission-based salaries also stand to benefit instead of traditionally waiting several months to collect.

Speaking on the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau, Michael Truschler, CEO of FlexxPay stated: “We wanted to add value to our Clients and their employees for using FlexxPay. And since Shariah Review Bureau is a reputable name in the region for providing Sharia compliance assurance, we decided to engage and benefit from their diverse experience with Fintech platforms.”

Shariyah Review Bureau provides Sharia advisory and Sharia audit services to businesses worldwide. Their services add valuable expertise and help banking and non-banking institutions including fintech firms efficiently formulate products in light of Sharia compliance that assures the faith requirements of their customers. “From a humble beginning of providing Sharia audit to banks 15 years ago, our firm has come a long way” said Yasser S. Dahlawi Founder and CEO of Shariyah Review Bureau. “Today, tech-based platforms with a diverse set of offering increasingly rely upon our Sharia certification, Sharia Board and Sharia audit services.” “As we continue to expand, across markets, we remain passionate towards serving technological innovators, offer solutions using Sharia principles”

Commenting on the news engagement Yasser added, “We are delighted to have certified a cloud-based platform, which facilitates investment in its client’s most important asset i.e. its employees” “We look forward to supervising and auditing FlexxPay platform in light of Sharia guidelines, as it continues to support and benefit employees in the region”

Remote Sharia Audit

Remote Sharia Audit

Your Sharia Audit. Done Remotely, Anytime. Anywhere.

Trusted by financial institutions and investors worldwide, our Sharia advisory and Sharia audit services removes geographical boundaries and minimizes disruption to your business.

Managing Your Sharia Audit Remotely

Our digitally managed Sharia audits are designed to work remotely in a safe, secure and efficient way.

From collecting information to reviewing documentation to auditing transactions and issuing reports, our Sharia audit is underpinned with easy to use delivery model so as to provide you with a fast, accurate, safe and secure remote assessment.

Our audits comply with the requirements of relevant accreditation bodies, and we can provide remote Sharia audits against the following standards:

How does it work? 

Like physical Sharia audit, the remote Sharia audit centres around the scope selected for the underlying business, ensuring that the right Sharia audit evidence is procured, reviewed and tested in light of Sharia guidelines. Using desktop based reviews and applications our Sharia audit will consist of everything that is typically included in an onsite Sharia audit. Our Sharia auditors will guide you through the requirements and auditing process while live-streaming discussion with head of functions within your organization.

Details of your specific Sharia audit may vary, but the overall process will likely go as follows:

  • Remote Sharia audit planning
  • Communication with you on requirements and documentation details
  • Receiving relevant documents from you
  • Execute desktop-based assessment
  • Share observations on assessments
  • Hold video calls and correct any nonconformities
  • Issue draft report and collect feedback
  • Issue final Sharia audit report.

How it can benefit you?

Our remote Sharia audits can have multiple benefits in terms of efficiency, competence and access to scholarly expertise. Few of the benefits include:

Save time and money:
  • We reduce the cost of travel which also helps cut down on audit fee and waiting-times.
  • Availability of Sharia audit team(s) with required competence, connecting and including them in the Sharia audit where needed.
  • Enabling more transactions in sampling, thus increasing your insight and Sharia control on compliance.
Remove geographical boundaries: 
  • We serve clients in over 20 countries and our remote Sharia audit service means that our assessments can easily be delivered directly to you, no matter where you are in the world.
Global access to scholarly competence:
  • Additional competence or Sharia scholars can be added to any Sharia audit team in cost-efficient ways.
Mitigating business continuity risks:
  • Maintain business continuity under severe conditions, epidemics and pandemics.

 Why choose us?

Deep technical and Islamic financial Industry knowledge:

In the past 15 years we’ve audited banks, insurance firms, asset managers and fin-tech companies. We’ve certified their investments and offerings and applied Sharia auditing procedures pragmatically in ways which guarantee Sharia compliance today and in the long-term.

Independence:

We are a licensed Sharia advisory and Sharia audit firm by the Central Bank of Bahrain and also apply International Standards of Quality Control (ISQC 1). We are committed to maintaining our independency as per AAOIFI’s GSIFI No. 1 standard, giving you confidence in our decisions every time.

Dedication to international assurance:

Our heritage is independent Sharia compliance expertise. We are also committed (under the external Sharia compliance audit service) to delivering assurance built on International Standard on Assurance Engagements 3000 (ISAE-3000). In maintaining our independency, we leave no questions unanswered so as to draw accurate conclusions.

What can we audit remotely for you?

As one of the world’s leading Sharia audit firms, we’ve continue to audit thousands of transactions for a wide variety of products, from banking to insurance, asset management to fin-tech industry. Few examples include,

  • Real-estate business
  • Automotive financing
  • Private equity deals
  • Corporate banking services
  • Investment banking products
  • Insurance services
  • Real Estate Income Trust (REIT)
  • Peer to peer lending
  • Leasing projects
  • Retail banking products
  • Payment solutions

Our Capabilities

We offer an expertise-led Sharia audit model to deliver differentiated values that truly supports our clients. Examples include:

Multiple Industries Insights:

Serving multiples industries from banking to insurance, asset management, agri-business, fintech, our remote audit can provide you objective insights that your business need to sustain Sharia compliance – including transaction reviews, private equity screening, research, learning and development and Sharia standards management. Recommendations are based on proven benchmarks and proindustry practices of Sharia compliance.

Sharia Non-Compliance Risk-Based Scoping:

Even though the audit is done remotely yet our approach to Sharia audit scoping maps the non-compliance risk factors with Sharia audit ratings, cyclical Sharia Board reviews, internal Sharia control workflow and regulatory directives on Sharia governance. Our Sharia non-compliance risk-based scoping can also be adapted to your institutions specific methodology.

Listed Equities Assessment:

As part of our audit capabilities we conduct Sharia screening on listed equities that unites the ease of software with the muscle of data and industry equity practices. The global equity screening is jointly conducted with our partners Ideal Ratings and provide you an instant view of the equity from multiple rulebooks, such as AAOIFI, MSCI, and your Sharia Board. For you, this means clearer, faster Sharia compliance results and decision making for trading priorities.

Worldwide Scholarly  Network:

We’ve more than 31 scholarly resources from +16 countries. This helps draws on the strength and scale of advisory network to assist clients in getting deeper insights during the audit of their products, funds and transactions assessing them in light of different schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Initially launched in Saudi Arabia in 2004, our scholar network has expanded to the UK, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Middle East, and Africa.

Quality Control:

We apply International Standard on Quality Control 1 (ISQC1) to maintain a system of quality control on our external Sharia audits. ISQC 1 is an internationally recognized quality control transformation approach founded on fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behavior.

Sharia Assurance (ISAE 3000)

Sharia Assurance (ISAE 3000)

Our Sharia assurance practice is conducted in light of the most widely recognized international standard, ISAE 3000. Under this service, the scope of work is sized to your specific Sharia governance, controls and investment needs and the level of assurance designed accordingly.

Our assurance not only helps to strengthen your credibility with regulators and external audiences, but also provides confidence internally by assuring your executives, and board of directors that processes and controls are in conformance to the laid down Sharia directives.

Elevate stakeholder confidence with ISAE 3000

As external Sharia assurance becomes integrated with wider corporate reporting, organizations are seeking Sharia governance, products and controls assurance to support reliability of their reported performance. In some countries like Bahrain, Oman and Pakistan external Sharia assurance has already become mandatory on Islamic banking licensees operating in the country. But unlike financial accounting, the measurement and collection of Sharia compliance controls and reporting continues to evolve, so normal processes, checks and measures may not be in place. It is here our service, in light of ISAE 3000 report, provides assurance that the processes and controls included in your reporting are actually in place and operating effectively at your institution. Apart from greater credibility, key benefits of Sharia assurance with ISAE 3000 reporting includes:

  • Attestation that information provided in your Sharia compliance reporting is reliable and presents a fair picture
  • A trusted report with relevant and focused information on Sharia governance, products and controls to communicate internally and externally
  • Confidence in actions taken by management to reduce exposure to Sharia non-compliance
  • Feedback on effectiveness of controls and processes
  • Guidance on quality of internal Sharia audit and product implementation reporting.

How we can support you

With the changing landscape of regulatory requirements both internal and external stakeholders are demanding trust and transparency in Sharia compliance controls and reporting. Towards this end, we conduct an independent external Sharia audit of your current Sharia compliance reporting structure, assessing how effective it is and how it measures up to criteria laid down by Sharia directives. Additionally, our service will be in accord to ISAE 3000 which is an international attestation practice which allows you to receive a report based upon a recognized, international standard. Examples for illustration are provided below.

Example 1

An Islamic bank provides a suite of Sharia compliant products and investments. The central bank  requires the Islamic bank to report on the effective operation of Sharia governance and operations. The control report provided by the Islamic bank will be audited by us in accordance with the ISAE 3000 standard. After completing an in-depth assessment (and subject to satisfactory audit completion) we issue an assurance report which reflects the existence and effectiveness of Sharia governance.

Example 2

A large financial institution reports on Sharia compliance to their Central Sharia Supervisory Board (CSSB). The criteria for reporting is provided by CSSB. As your external Sharia auditor we will provide Sharia assurance on the reporting; considering the criteria provided by CSSB. This Sharia Assurance will be provided in accordance with the ISAE 3000 standard. The CSSB and other users of our Sharia Assurance report will receive attestation that information being provided is accurate and is based on international assurance practice. They also know that the information provided is in compliance with the relevant Sharia criteria.

What are the requirements for ISAE 3000?

The ISAE 3000 requirements are included on the IFAC website which can be downloaded here. The standard includes the following components: Ethical Requirements (under the IESBA code), Quality Control procedures (ISQC 1 requirements), Planning and Audit procedures, Reporting requirements, and Professional Skepticism. The five key components of the assurance engagement under this standard are:

  • A three-party relationship involving: the external Sharia auditor, a responsible party and intended users.
  • Appropriate subject matter.
  • Suitable criteria.
  • Sufficient, appropriate evidence to support the conclusion.
  • A conclusion contained within a written report.

Why would ISAE 3000 Sharia Assurance report benefit you?

Our ISAE 3000 guided Sharia audit report allows you to demonstrate and foster a strong Sharia control environment. This report can be used by your management and SSB to assess the overall health of your internal Sharia control environment. Also depending on the type of Sharia assurance report, the public can gain assurance over key areas such as management of Sharia non-compliance affairs, effectives in controls, existence of governance, availability of systems, integrity of internal Sharia reporting arrangements, independency and processes.

What’s the difference between Sharia Assurance under ISAE 3000 and SSB certification?

  • The completion of ISAE 3000-Sharia Assurance is accompanied with a formal attestation, and not just a certificate of Sharia compliance
  • SSB certification reflects a point in time, but an ISAE 3000-Sharia Assurance can cover a period, therefore providing a greater level of Sharia compliance assurance
  • SSB certification only focuses on the product contracts and to an extent the respective policies while ISAE 3000-Sharia Assurance is more flexible. Extended principles, controls and systems can be scoped in as desired – covering the principles that are relevant to you and your stakeholders

Your benefits under can also include:

  • Reputation and Commercial edge – a method to differentiate your Islamic financial institution or product from its competitors.
  • International assurance – provides reasonable assurance on Sharia governance and controls to a broad range of clients with a single international reporting standard under ISAE 3000.
  • Regulatory requirements – demonstrates to regulatory bodies that Sharia controls are in place and operating effectively.
  • Improve controls – generates awareness on the importance of Sharia controls and embeds a strong control culture within the organization.

Experience the new era of robo-advisory

Robo-advisory: Wahed Invest

Since the dawn of robo-advisory, only a few thousand people have experienced Sharia compliant low-cost equity investments firsthand. But there have been moments that captured the investor’s imagination and challenged the high fee-bound perspective. Of the many endeavors that made headlines, one of the most prolific firms has been Wahed Invest, with its Head Quarters in New York.

Wahed has been successful in creating a reliable, transparent, and most importantly, accessible retail instrument of all time. The data they collect has deepened understanding of Sharia compliant investment universe—from the edge of Brazil to the border of Australia—and the accessibility provided has brought the startling experience of low-cost equities to Islamic retail investors around the world. Today, on the 5th anniversary of Wahed’s launch, they’ve teamed up with us to manage their Sharia compliance like never before. We’ve been assigned to supervise their client investment agreements, equity universe, ETF’s, Islamic index funds, and virtual advisory terms.

As we enter a new era of low-cost Halal investments —we hope Wahed’s efforts and our Sharia supervisory role demonstrates the remarkable progress robo-advisory is making toward unlocking opportunities for retail investors, and how much farther we can go together.

Now that you’re better informed on how Wahed can help unlock new opportunities, get out there and experience the new dawn of low-cost investments yourself!

Wahed Invest strengthens Sharia compliance management with Shariyah Review Bureau

Wahed Invest strengthens Sharia compliance management with Shariyah Review Bureau

Wahed Invest, a global provider of Halal investments, today announced the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau to manage its Sharia compliance affairs from client agreements to investment universe, including Islamic ETFs and virtual advisory terms.  The announcement was made after a series of strategic positioning that Wahed has made to tap Islamic investors globally.

Wahed is seeking to expand geographically from its historical focus on clients in the US and now has offices strategically located in USA, UK, India, Dubai, Kazakhstan and Malaysia.  “We expect the majority of growth to come from the Middle East and Asia – which, in 2019, cumulatively accounted for a significant value of our total growth,” said Owais Gore,Head of Global Operations at Wahed. “We have also made good headway in diversifying services with the addition of Islamic ETFs and fixed income investments (sukuk). With new offices set-up in key financial hubs around the world we are focused on exporting a demonstrated track record that reduces management fees, brokerage requirements, and transactional costs,” he added.

Speaking on the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) Aris Pervaz (Head of Wahed North America & UK) said: “Wahed’s assignment underlines our commitment to delivering the very best outcomes in Sharia compliance for our customers around the world. Through their supervisory reviews and Sharia audits they will further strengthen our Sharia controls, which blends top Sharia compliant indices to facilitate market efficiencies and pricing opportunities.” He added, “SRB’s dedicated team of in-house scholars and Sharia auditors are well positioned to monitor, review and engage our business affairs in UK, US, GCC, Malaysia and beyond.”

Currently, Wahed serves thousands of clients from over 100 countries and with its geographical expansion and service diversification is expected to enhance its market share. “We firmly believe in the transformative potential of robo-advisory technology in the new sectors we are tapping in the Middle Eastern and South East Asian region. Our platform has successfully established its ability to promote inclusion in listed investments by serving more customers, even in regions where many don’t even have a basic bank account, let alone the ability to invest in such opportunities. Our services eliminate the high costs associated with traditional fund-based solutions, outlays that often create a significant market barrier for many people.”

Islamic financial institutions are facing high Sharia Board costs, increased Sharia compliance scrutiny, and advanced expectations in Sharia audit reporting. All these factors are driving new opportunities for Sharia Board efficiency and Sharia audit management. Shariyah Review Bureau provides comprehensive Sharia advisory solutions from setting-up Sharia Boards to providing product consulting to Sharia review implementation and Sharia audit planning. As a pioneer in the Sharia advisory and Sharia audit industry, SRB’s services has a first-mover advantage and has amassed a significant base of technical Sharia expertise and direct experience working on some of the leading profile institutions globally. “We are more than a Sharia advisory company – we’re a partner that helps institutions manage Sharia Board and Sharia audit functions and help build this capacity as they grow and expand to new markets,” said Yasser S. Dahlawi, CEO at Shariyah Review Bureau. “Our appointment by Wahed is intended to become a meaningful resource for Sharia supervision on their global equity exposure over time, with the goal of driving Sharia audit performance and reducing Sharia compliance management costs.” He added, “we are excited to partner with one of the world’s leading robo-advisory investment firm because it shares our vision for making Sharia compliance opportunities transparent and accessible to communities around the world.”

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