Scottish organisation wins global ethical finance prize

L-R: Muhammad Yunus, Omar Shaikh (IFC), James Angus (Thomson Reuters), Chris Tait (IFC) and Tirad Mahmoud (ADIB)

The Scottish-based Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC) saw off competition from over 200 organisations from across the globe to win the $100,000 Industry Development Award at the Ethical Finance Challenge and Innovation Award (EFICA) in Dubai this week.

The prize was presented by keynote speaker and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr Muhammed Yunus.

The award was recognition of the IFC’s work in establishing a programme of ethical finance events bringing together a range of stakeholders which now forms the UK’s leading discussion platform seeking to promote a fairer and more socially responsible financial system.

The IFC and fellow finalists, Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Bank Negara Malaysia backed International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance, each delivered a 10 minute pitch to the 350 guests at the EFICA Gala Dinner who then voted for the winner.

IFC Advisory Board member and co-founder Graham Burnside said: “It is tremendously exciting for us to have won this major award in the face of competition from much larger organisations based in the heartlands of Islamic finance and a very gratifying recognition of our work in bringing together the diverse strands of the ethical finance arena. The prize will make a genuine difference to what the IFC is able to achieve.”

EFICA was launched in 2013 by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and Thomson Reuters with the aim of inspiring and recognising fresh ways of thinking and promoting the most dynamic actionable solutions that advance ethics in the world’s financial services.

“Our winners are the future of the finance industry and thought leaders for a world in which working for profit and working for social good can and should be one and the same. Those recognised at these third annual EFICA awards have not only shown this to be true, they have taken bold new steps in expanding the possibilities of ethical finance,” said ADIB CEO Tirad Al Mahmoud.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy John Swinney said: “Ethical finance is an area where Scotland has a real opportunity to make an impact and the Islamic Finance Council’s success at the Ethical Finance Challenge and Innovation Award has raised the profile of the ethical finance sector here in Scotland as well as raising Scotland’s profile internationally.”

The other prizewinners on the evening were crowdfunding platform Narwi and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who received the lifetime achievement award.