With the development of the Islamic financial services industry around the globe, it is becoming more evident that expertise is needed to ensure Islamic finance manages to keep true to the principles of Shari’ah and still adhere to local laws in order to exploit its potential by ensuring lucrative returns for its stakeholders. Financial institutions around the world are transforming themselves in order to address the challenges of this emerging market.
Ethikos Consultancy Limited (“Ethikos”) is a consulting firm that offers high quality consulting services to corporate entities, businesses and individuals in the areas of Islamic finance. It was formed in mid 2011 as a response to the huge demand for Islamic finance expertise in Kenya. Kenya is turning out to be the business hub of east and central Africa and being located in Nairobi, Ethikos is strategically placed to serve and meet the needs of institutions and individuals interested in the rapidly growing sector of Islamic finance.
Ethikos seeks to offer highly professional services to its clients who are already within or entering the Islamic finance sector by combining Shari’ah knowledge with market and legal knowledge. Ethikos prides itself in providing business oriented and efficient Islamic finance solutions and advisory services to financial institutions and corporate entities as a result of having extensive knowledge and experience of the Islamic financial services industry as well as the conventional banking system.
Working within the guiding principles of Islam and adhering to local laws which permit commercial and profitable business, we provide the expertise to build and develop our clients’ businesses which in turn offers competitive products for their customers and a competitive return to shareholders. Our aim is to help both new entrants and the existing players in the market to overcome the challenges that the providers of Shari’ah compliant products are facing due to restrictive local laws.
We provide consultancy services to both Islamic and conventional banks or organisations which are starting their own Islamic finance operations or seeking to enhance their Islamic finance products. Our services include: Shari’ah and Local Laws Compliance & Assurance We:
1.Provide initial general legal advisory assistance on challenges in relation to Islamic banking in Kenya
2.Offer advice on Shari’ah compliance on various financial transactions;
3.Offer advice on Shari’ah compliance on the structure and legal issues in respect of Islamic funds and bonds (including Sukuks);
4. Draft and advise on documentation for Islamic finance transactions (including but not limited to murabaha facility agreements, diminishing musharakah facility agreements and ijara agreements);
5. Prepare compliance manuals;
6.Advise on corporate governance in order to enhance transparency and creating value by assessing the risk management and enhancing internal control management functions; and
7. Develop risk management processes for profit sharing, loss sharing, and profit and loss sharing Islamic banking products.
Product and ServicesDevelopment
We provide new product development services for those Islamic finance institutions which have either obtained licences from relevant government regulatory authorities or are in the process of obtaining the same. We:
1. Structure and develop Shari’ah compliant financial products and services, both for the retail and wholesale markets which also comply with local regulatory and market conditions including:
o Project finance;
o Savings and deposit accounts;
o Structured finance;
o Personal finance;
o Home purchase;
o Commercial property finance;
o Treasury instruments;
o Investments funds; and takaful insurance products;
2. Develop materials for our clients’ brochures and websites and other marketing materials; and
3. Offer advisory support pre and post launching of our clients’ Islamic finance products and services.
Other Services We:
4. Provide on job training to our clients’ personnel with regard to product development and implementation;
5Hold training seminars on Islamic finance and the taking and perfection of securities;
6.Develop appropriate employee policies and procedures including employee handbooks and code of ethics;
7.Carry out market surveys; and
8.Carry out customer opinion surveys.
Our team of professionals who have the thorough understanding of Islamic Finance and Banking issues with extensive experience in practical application of Islamic finance concepts. Our team is made up of legal advisors who combine the knowledge of Shari’ah together with the working knowledge of local laws to ensure compliance under both systems of law.
Juliet C. Mazera
Juliet C. Mazera holds a Bachelors Degree in Law from the University of Nairobi and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law. Juliet joined Ethikos after working at the leading Kenyan law firm of Anjarwalla & Khanna, Advocates (“A&K”) where she had worked for over 4 years in its Nairobi and Mombasa Offices. It is a known fact that Islamic banking is a growing area of law in Kenya and Juliet is one of the few Kenyan lawyers with Islamic banking expertise. While employed at A&K, Juliet advised several leading banks on their Islamic banking products and prepared their facility documents which were required to effect banking transactions that were compliant with both Islamic finance laws and Kenyan laws. In this regard, Juliet has experience in preparing various facility agreements including murabaha facility agreements, diminishing musharakah facility agreements and ijara agreements.
Juliet has provided general advice to banks in relation to their Islamic banking products and transactions especially with regard to the accounting and tax implications on most Islamic finance products and the fact that most Islamic finance products would be caught under various other statutes other than the Banking Act. She has also prepared bank security documents which entailed amending standard and conventional debentures, charges, mortgages and chattel mortgages to make them Shari’ah compliant. She has assisted various banks in setting up Shari’ah compliant bank accounts and has in this regard drafted Terms and Conditions for Shari’ah compliant bank accounts. Juliet has assisted in the appointment of members of various banks’ Shari’ah Supervisory Boards and Shari’ah Advisory Boards and has prepared the Terms of Reference and Service governing the appointment and role of the members of such boards.
In addition, Juliet has also been engaged in conventional banking work where she has prepared all types of conventional banking security documents including debentures, charges, mortgages, guarantees, subordination agreements and security sharing agreements and discharges. She also has expertise in commodity financing and in this regard she has prepared various agreements including facility agreements, option agreements and custody agreements. Juliet has had several articles on Islamic Banking in Kenya published in leading publications including Emerging Markets Africa (an SJ Berwin Publication), The Advocates Magazine and Legal Notes (an ALN Publication).
Phyllis W. Kamau
Having worked as a Legal Officer at Gulf African Bank Limited, a leading Islamic Bank in Kenya, Phyllis has the knowledge and experience on the internal workings of a fully-fledged Islamic Bank. Phyllis, who is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, has experience in advising and interpreting legal text for banks and assisting banks’ management in interpreting applying and complying with statues, rules and regulations. She has assisted banks in approving transactions and contracts entered into by banks including credit facilities such as letters of credit, guarantees, murabaha facility agreements, diminishing musharakah facility agreements and ijara agreements, asset financing and other banking activities.
She has prepared for banks guarantees, comfort letters, deeds, letters of lien, pledge, subordination agreements, indemnities and such other documents. Phyllis has reviewed Shari’ah compliant facility and security documents including, charges, mortgages, debentures, murabaha contracts, musharakah contracts and other lending documentations required by the Bank prepared internally by banks or by external lawyers. As a member a member of the legal team of a fully fledged Islamic Bank, Phyllis has had the responsibility of ensuring all legal and credit requirements are met before disbursement of loans and other facilities to the Bank’s customers.
She has experience in bank recoveries of outstanding loans including issuing demand letters, instructions to repossessors and statutory notices. She has advised bank management teams on the best practice on corporate governance. Phyllis has also participated in the settlement and arbitration of disputes to ensure compliance with the necessary Kenyan statutes and laws.
Contacts Ethikos Consultancy Limited P. O. Box 44457-00100 Nairobi. Tel: (+254) 718 000871