Chistie Moinuddin, senior manager of finance at HSBC Amanah, manages the finance function of HSBC Group's Islamic finance business and therefore helps drive Shari'ah compliant business for HSBC globally. To assist his burgeoning career, he recently completed the CIMA Diploma in Islamic finance.
In this interview, he explains why he undertook the diploma, the attractions of working in Islamic finance, and how the diploma in Islamic finance has helped overcome the challenges that he has faced in his employment in this rapidly growing sector.
Watch the video
(Please note: Chistie refers to the previous Certificate in Islamic finance as the video was taken before the restructure).
Read the full interview
What is your role?
I have been employed by HSBC for over 12 years, and am currently working as senior manager of finance for HSBC Amanah. I primarily manage the finance function of the Islamic finance business of HSBC Group. The function is part of the central management team responsible to drive the Shari’ah compliant business for HSBC globally.
Why did you decide to enrol in the CIMA Diploma in Islamic finance?
I moved into Islamic banking in 2008 and was keen to gain an internationally reputed academic qualification in the field of Islamic finance to further my personal and professional growth. Having already completed other accounting qualifications in finance (CPA, CMA and ICWAI) I was keen to pursue a qualification in Islamic finance, and I then heard about the CIMA diploma in Islamic finance. I am extremely glad to have successfully completed the course.
What attracted you to working in the Islamic finance sector?
I was always interested in moving into Islamic finance, an ambition driven both by personal desire and the career opportunities available in this fast growing industry.
“I was interested in moving into Islamic finance for the career opportunities available”
The opportunity was a win-win situation for me, as having worked at HSBC for over ten years in finance, the move to the Islamic banking division was natural and helped my career progression.
What challenges did you face in your work before you studied Islamic finance?
Obviously when I moved in the role, Islamic finance was completely new and I had to start afresh. However with the help of my colleagues and internal training programmes I slowly started to understand the concepts, focusing primarily on accounting and reporting.
The main challenge I faced was understanding Shari’ah concepts and terminology, Islamic product structures and Islamic accounting standards.
How has the diploma helped overcome these difficulties?
The structured syllabus and the varied contents covered in the four certificates of the diploma have really helped me in improving my overall understanding and knowledge of Islamic banking in my day to day work, which includes dealing with all aspects of Islamic banking (i.e. law, accounting, capital markets, and products and structures).
“The diploma has really improved my understanding and knowledge of Islamic banking”
I am now much more comfortable with Shari’ah principles, Shari’ah products, underlying product structures and most importantly Islamic accounting policies and standards (AAOIFI).
How does the diploma assist you in your career?
The diploma will definitely help in improving my credentials and therefore career prospects. It also gives me the extra confidence to take on more senior and challenging roles.
Why is it important to HSBC Amanah that you have this qualification?
I have been formally congratulated by my senior management and HR for obtaining this qualification. I believe this gives my employer the confidence to assign me more challenging roles.
Did your employer encourage you to study Islamic finance further?
Definitely. At HSBC learning and development is a continuous process, and we are always encouraged to pursue and develop our knowledge and skills set, for the betterment of both the employee and the organisation.
What most impressed you about the CIMA Diploma in Islamic finance?
Three areas in particular were very pleasing. Firstly, the content and the subjects covered in the programme were impressive. Secondly, the simple examination model is easy to understand and succeed. Last but not least, there is continuous feedback on changes and developments in the contents of the syllabus.
What are the greatest benefits of having an Islamic finance qualification?
The diploma will greatly enhance my personal profile and career prospects. It provides a better understanding of the principles and concepts of Islamic finance, which allows students and graduates of the programme to add value in their job and gain knowledge.
“The diploma will definitely improve my credentials and career prospects”
Additionally, as an internationally renowned institute, CIMA is respected for its integrity and is very well recognised around the globe.
How did you find studying the diploma?
The course delivery was excellent. The diploma in Islamic finance is a well structured course, which is easy to understand and study.
The diploma took me two months of hard preparation to complete. Having completed much tougher exams like CPA, CMA, ICWA this was comparatively less stressful but much more interesting.