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.”

Trading digital assets in a faster, simpler, and easier way

Digital Assets: CoinMENA

Whether it’s buying digital assets, exchanging fiat classes with cryptos, or trading tokens, the CoinMENA team has been mastering this process to help you buy, sell and hold digital assets in a faster and simpler way.

CoinMENA helps you trade digital assets using local currency through specialized apps and systems. Some functions such as overlay withdrawals, for both fiat and digital currencies, are manually processed for compliance while suspicious activities are halted and flagged to the regulatory body. Today they’ve taken the next step by getting their assets and trading services certified by us in light of Sharia principles. We are thrilled to have studied their systems and trading methodology to help them attain Sharia compliance. For us, the most significant aspect of their platform isn’t just an “expert” system built with hand-crafted rules; instead it uses advance digital techniques to make the brokerage and custodian facility easier for the end-user.

So, whether you’re experimenting, professionally trading, or arbitrating digital tokens, CoinMENA can help make your experience faster, simpler, and easier.

CoinMENA to capture Islamic opportunities in digital assets

CoinMENA to capture Islamic opportunities in digital assets

Bahrain based CoinMENA has announced that it has appointed Shariyah Review Bureau (“SRB”) as an outsourcing facility to manage and supervise the Sharia certification and Sharia audit services for its digital asset platform.

CoinMENA was created to help investors at both the retail and institutional level identify business opportunities for digital assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple that meets the investor’s own standards around long-lasting returns. “Getting certified as Sharia-compliant is another milestone in CoinMENA’s dedication to client excellence and becoming the leading blockchain and digital assets company in the MENA region”, said Dina Sam’an, Co-Founder & COO of CoinMENA.

CoinMENA will provide its clients with an advanced platform that allows them to buy, sell and hold digital assets that are diversified and Sharia-compliant. Dina added, “Seeking the Sharia certification and working with the Shariyah Review Bureau, which has extensive experience working with fintech firms, allows us to increase our focus on the private Islamic investors’ space by offering them a universe of stable Sharia-compliant digital assets with the potential of growth and low volatility.”

Shariyah Review Bureau provides end-to-end Sharia advisory solutions that are centrally-deployed, and offer Sharia supervision, functionality and quick turnaround in product certification. This has become an attractive option for supporting the needs of global Islamic financial establishments and fintech startups. In addition to reducing Sharia scholarly overheads, this approach helps clients of the SRB centralize their firm’s Sharia Board administrative and operational tasks.

Yasser S. Dahlawi, Founder and CEO of SRB, added that “Our experience shows that overall compliance savings resulting from outsourcing Sharia Board and Sharia audit services equate to 33 to 35% compared with the cost of doing the same function in-house. Our services help transform Islamic banking, asset management and fintech sectors, and business life.” Speaking on CoinMENA he added, “We see a whole new league of opportunities arising in the world of Islamic fintech and digital trading.”

Malath to capture greater efficiencies in managing Sharia Compliance

Malath to capture greater efficiencies in managing Sharia Compliance

Malath Insurance, Saudia’s leading insurance company, announced today the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) a leading Sharia Advisory firm focused on Sharia Boards, certification and Sharia audit services, to help maintain and supervise Sharia compliance of its products, operations and investments.

Malath offers comprehensive solutions covering classes of insurances like property, engineering, construction, health and medical for its retail and corporate customers in the Kingdom.  It currently has about 336 employees and 5 offices throughout the country. “Malath continues to grow at a significant pace and we see excellent insurance opportunities in the Kingdom,” said Fawaz A. Al Hijji Managing Director & CEO of Malath. “The influx of cooperative insurance programs we have seen over the past few years has helped double our capacity and strengthen our capabilities required to meet more of our customer’s Sharia compliant insurance needs.”

Speaking on the newly assigned Sharia Advisor, Fawaz added “Bringing Shariyah Review Bureau on board to supervise our Sharia compliance affairs will further strengthen trust in our stakeholders and also give us significant scale with low input costs for certifying and auditing Sharia compliant products and investments.”

Over the years, Shariyah Review Bureau has strongly established itself as one of the leading Sharia Advisory companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Central Bank of Bahrain licensed firm leads with a dedicated team of Sharia Consultants and Sharia auditors  based out of Bahrain and also has 31 scholars covering 19 countries. It currently oversees the Sharia compliance management of 30% of the cooperative Insurance firms listed on Tadawul.

“Leveraging the benefits of outsourced Sharia Board services is no longer limited to large financial institutions struggling with high Sharia maintenance costs,” said Yasser S. Dahlawi, CEO at Shariyah Review Bureau. “Our experience shows that entities of all sizes are using our model to develop and grow their Sharia compliant offerings.” He added, “More and more companies are recognizing the need to partner with Sharia advisory firms to drive value, growth and dexterity.”

Speaking on the new assignment Yasser stated, “This assignment is another acknowledgment of Shariyah Review Bureau’s endeavors to offer Sharia advisory specific solutions that align with the cooperative insurance industry needs and create measurable business value for our clients, today and in the future.”

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