The Shariah Adviser

General Information of the Shariah Adviser

ZICO Shariah Advisory Services Sdn. Bhd (ZICO Shariah) is a member of ZICO Holdings and is registered with the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) to advise on sukuk issuances, Islamic funds as well as other Islamic capital market products and instruments. It is also approved by the Central Bank of Malaysia to provide Shariah advice, Shariah review and Shariah audit services to Islamic financial institutions. ZICO Shariah has more than 9 years of Shariah advisory experience. As at 31 Dec 2019, there are 77 funds which ZICO Shariah acts as Shariah Adviser.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Shariah Adviser

As Shariah Adviser, ZICO Shariah will ensure the operations and investments of the Funds are in compliance with Shariah requirements. ZICO Shariah will review the Fund’s investments on a monthly basis to ensure adherence with Shariah requirements at all times.

In line with the SC Guidelines, the roles of ZICO Shariah as the Shariah Adviser are:

  1. Ensuring that the operations and investments of the Funds are in compliance with Shariah principles/ requirements;
  2. Providing expertise and guidance for the Funds in all matters relating to Shariah principles, including on the Funds’ deed and prospectus/offering documents, its structure and investment process, and other operational and administrative matters;
  3. Consulting the SC who may consult the Shariah Advisory Council of the SC (SACSC) where there is any ambiguity or uncertainty as to an investment, instrument, system, procedure and/or process;
  4. Scrutinising the Funds’ compliance report as provided by the compliance officer, transaction report provided by or duly approved by the Trustee and any other report deemed necessary for the purpose of ensuring that the Funds’ investments are in line with the Shariah principles;
  5. Preparing a report to be included in the Funds’ interim and annual report certifying whether the Funds have been managed and administered in accordance with the Shariah principles;
  6. Ensuring that the Funds comply, with any guideline, ruling or decision issued by the SC, with regard to Shariah matters;
  7. Vetting and advising on the promotional materials of the fund; and
  8. Assisting and attending to any ad-hoc meeting called by the SC and/or any other relevant authority.

Profile of the Shariah Team

Professor Dr Mohamad Akram Laldin

Professor Dr Mohamad Akram is currently the Executive Director of International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA). At present, he is the Member of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Shariah Advisory Council, Shariah Advisory Committee of Employee Provident Fund (EPF), Member of Yassar Limited Shariah Advisory Board, EAB (London) Shariah Advisory Board, Chairman of Islamic Advisory Board HSBC Insurance Singapore, Shariah adviser to ZICO Advisory Malaysia, Member of Shariah Advisory Council International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) Bahrain, Shariah Advisor to Dar al-Takaful Dubai, Committee member of AAOIFI Shariah Standards, Bahrain and other boards locally and internationally.

Prior to joining ISRA he was an Assistant Professor at the Kulliyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University, Malaysia (IIUM). In the period 2002-2004, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Professor Dr Akram holds a B.A. Honours degree in Islamic Jurisprudence and Legislation from the University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan and a Ph.D. in Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh) from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. He is also a member of the Board of Studies of the Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance, International Islamic University Malaysia.

He is a registered Shariah adviser for Islamic securities with the SC and has acted as Shariah adviser in the issuance of several sukuk. In addition, he is also prolific author of academic works specifically in the areas of Islamic banking and finance. He is the recipient of the Zaki Badawi Award 2010 for Excellence in Shariah Advisory and Research.

Professor Dr Ashraf bin Md Hashim

Professor Dr Ashraf bin Md Hashim is a senior researcher at the International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) and a Professor at International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF). He is also Chief Executive Officer of ISRA Consultancy.

Professor Dr Ashraf bin Md Hashim attained a PhD (Islamic Law) from the University of Birmingham, UK, 1999; A Masters degree (1995) in Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh from University of Jordan; Bachelor degree (1991) in Shari’ah from Islamic University in Medina. He has also obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Islamic Law and Practice (2001) from International Islamic University Malaysia.

Previously, he was an academic staff at the Department of Fiqh and Usul Fiqh, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia. He was also seconded to Al-Madinah International University as Deputy Rector (Academic Affairs) for two years. He has to his credit two books and a number of articles published in local and international journals. He has been a Chevening Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, United Kingdom.

Professor Dr Ashraf has vast experience in providing Shariah views on retail and investment banking products, sukuk structuring and unit trusts. He is also actively involved in advising Takaful and Retakaful companies. Currently, he is a member of Shariah Advisory Council, Central Bank of Malaysia and the SC. He is also a member of the National Fatwa Council of Malaysia and is currently the Chairman of the Shariah Committee of Bursa Malaysia. He also serves as Shariah Advisor to a number of Islamic Financial Institutions in Malaysia and abroad.

Dr. Aida Othman

Dr. Aida Othman is a Partner at Zaid Ibrahim & Co. She is also a Director with ZICO Shariah. Dr. Aida advises on Islamic banking and finance transactions and documentation; in particular, she has advised on Shariah compliance issues, structured Islamic products, Islamic financing documentation, sukuk issuance, takaful, regulatory framework for Islamic financial services, Islamic wealth management, Islamic private equity and unit trust funds. Dr. Aida Othman is the designated person responsible for Shariah matters relating to the Funds.

Dr. Aida holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Law & Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, United States of America. She also obtained her Masters of Law from Cambridge University, United Kingdom and Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and Bachelor of Islamic Law (Syariah) (First Class Honours) from International Islamic University, Malaysia.

Dr. Aida sits on the Shariah Advisory Board of HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad.