The writer completed his MBA (Investment Management) from Concordia
University and is a CFA Level 3 candidate. He was recently awarded the Islamic
Finance Qualification (IFQ) designation. Mobasher has had four articles
published in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Bahrain Center for Studies and
Research. The first three dealt exclusively with Islamic finance topics namely:
reference link), Islamic Hedge Funds (see
reference link) and the impact of the current financial crisis on Islamic
reference link). The last paper dealt with the rise of sovereign
My entry into the research of Islamic finance topics began rather innocuously.
The Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) where I was interning had
received a request from a financial journal based in India seeking information
on Islamic bonds (Sukuk). At the time they were the flavor of the month for
issuers seeking to diversify their sources of funding and serious investors were
somehow intrigued by the risk-adjusted return potential of a new class of
alternative investments. I was asked by my superiors to prepare specific
responses to their queries and as my investigation of sukuk began I unlocked a
mysterious world that had been absent from my MBA classes at Concordia
University in Montreal, Canada and from the CFA curriculum.
It was the first time I had come across terms such as Sukuk-Ijara or Musharakah
not to mention the various other sukuk structures. The names sounded quite
intimidating at first and I decided to print a small booklet of Islamic finance
definitions to keep handy for quick consultations. The challenge was not only in
understanding the product but in addressing the fundamental source of concern
for any investor: risk. The wealth of information available online and within
the agency needed to be collated and aggregated properly so as to provide a
measured response. After an exhaustive period of fact-checking on sukuk issuance
numbers and prospects for market growth I had prepared a decent first draft;
worthy I felt of onward distribution.
This paper included an analysis of the various risks borne by a sukuk investor,
This entire experience forced me to consider expanding my research and provide
readers with a broader and more meaningful understanding of a concept that
remained a mystery to people outside the inner circle of Islamic finance. Prior
to my departure to Canada I was fortunate to be introduced to the Editor of the
Strategic Studies Journal, Bahrain Centre for Studies & Research who was
searching for scholarly work on Islamic finance topics for publication. I
promised him a research piece on Islamic bonds and after receiving the necessary
approval continued to produce Islamic finance articles for the Strategic Studies
Journal whilst completing my graduate studies.
Fortunately the editor had allowed me the freedom to choose my own research
topics from where I delved in to Islamic hedge funds and the impact of the
global financial crisis on Islamic financial institutions. A related paper on
Sovereign Wealth Funds was also prepared given the prevailing interest at the
time in the concept of geo-economics. Indeed all the topics I had researched had
already received considerable coverage by the financial press enabling me to
quickly piece through information and identify the most relevant and critical
factors necessary for my analysis.
Moving forward it is likely I will be paying a great deal of attention to
Islamic Equity Funds. I would like to delve in to performance attribution and
evaluation of the top performing Sharia compliant funds. Indeed I hope to see
myself managing my own Islamic fund one day and understanding the whys and how
of the Islamic investment processes should certainly be another integral step in
reaching that destination.
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