South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) finds itself in urgent need of a whole new set of Shariah scholars to man its Shariah advisory board after its previous board resigned en masse in a dispute with management.

Not surprisingly, given the opaque nature of Shariah-Compliant Finance, details about the dispute are sketchy, but they appear to center around a dispute as to who had authority over the appointment of “senior personnel.” Reading between the lines, the Shariah scholars wanted to have authority over that function, which would have effectively given them control over the Shariah-compliant division. Management disagreed. Now management needs to hire a new set of Shariah advisers.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out–whether or not other Shariah advisers are willing to sign on under rules that prompted the previous advisers to quit…


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