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How diverse are Shariah supervisory boards of Islamic banks? A global empirical survey
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CitationKachkar, O. A. (2022). How diverse are Shariah supervisory boards of Islamic banks? A global empirical survey. International Journal of Ethics and Systems. [ArticleInPress]
Purpose – This study examines diversity in the composition of Shariah Supervisory Boards (SSBs) of Islamic banks (IBs). It investigates diversity from two perspectives: 1) existing composition of SSBs, and 2) the regulatory frameworks and standards of selected Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries. Diversity characteristics in this study include education, nationality, gender, and age. Design/methodology/approach – A list of all full-fledged Islamic commercial banks (FFICBs) globally has been carefully prepared and confirmed. Conventional banks with Islamic windows, non-commercial banks, takaful companies and other Islamic financial institutions are excluded. The available profiles of 428 SSB members have been scrutinised and analysed. These board members occupy 522 SSB positions in 238 FFICBs operating in 52 countries around the globe. From the regulatory perspective, twelve national and international Shariah governance frameworks and standards have been examined. Findings – The findings indicate various levels of diversity in the SSBs of the IBs. The level of diversity in educational background and nationality of the SSBs are generally acceptable. However, lack of diversity in gender and age among the SSB members is evident. While the lack of age diversity in SSBs maybe relatively justified as a common trend in the composition of corporate boards, the SSBs of FFICB are seriously lagging conventional banks in gender diversity. On the regulatory side, these results show that provisions on diversity requirement in the SSBs are almost non-existent in the existing frameworks and standards. Research limitations/ implications – The major limitation of this study is the lack of available information on the SSB members. Practical implications – This paper provides valuable insights for Islamic banks and policy makers concerned with the corporate governance of Islamic financial institutions. First, it offers an excellent bird’s-eye view of the status of diversity in the SSBs of Islamic banks. Second, it motivates policy makers and standard-setting bodies to ensure an adequate level of diversity in the composition of SSBs through relevant regulatory frameworks. This is of paramount importance to the reputation of Islamic finance industry which has been subject to mounting pressure to translate the rhetoric about the Islamic finance industry being ethical, fair, just, equitable and inclusive into genuine implementations. Originality/value – To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first of its kind to examine the diversity of the SSB members from the regulatory as well as implementation perspective.