Shariah Advisory


ZICO Shariah Advisory Services Sdn. Bhd ("ZICO Shariah") is a leading provider of Shariah advisory services in the ASEAN region and beyond. It was set up in response to a growing demand for Shariah related counsel in Islamic banking and finance, wealth management and Islamic law in general.

ZICO Shariah is a dedicated Shariah advisory company and offers the full range of services on Shariah related matters. As a specialised Shariah services provider, it has built a solid reputation for informed Shariah advice and guidance to its clients. ZICO Shariah is licensed by the 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 is a member of ZICO Holdings, the first and only integrated network of legal and professional related services provider in the ASEAN region and it has the added advantage of obtaining and sharing resources with all its offices in ASEAN.

Among the relevant experience of ZICO Shariah as Shariah Adviser for Shariah-compliant funds and investments are as follows:

•    Acting as the Shariah adviser to a sukuk investment fund ensuring the fund structure, operations and investment portfolio are Shariah compliant.
•    Acting as the Shariah adviser to the Australia investment fund ensuring the fund structure, operations and investment portfolio are Shariah compliant.
•    Advising on the potential restructuring of a statutory body’s deposit accounts and offering of a new type of account for depositors geared towards Shariah-compliant investments.
•    Advising (on-going) on the issuance of the first corporate sukuk in Thailand. Provided specialised training for the ministry officials and other industry players on Islamic finance, particularly in sukuk.
•    Advised on potential sukuk structures within the Japanese legal framework in relation to proposals for tax law reform to facilitate sukuk issuances.
•    Advised on sukuk structuring for a possible first onshore Japanese issuance.
•    Advised on the establishment of a Shariah-compliant private equity fund for infrastructure projects in the Middle East.
•    Advised on the establishment of a Shariah-compliant private equity fund in relation to investments in East Asia.

Board of Directors
- Dato’ Dr. Nik Norzrul Thani
- Dr. Aida Othman
- Ahmad Ab Hamid
- Zahrul Annuar Mat Desa
- Kamaruzaman Ashari

Role of the Shariah Adviser
ZICO Shariah is the Shariah Adviser to Areca Islamic Cash Fund (“Fund”). As the Shariah Adviser, the role of ZICO Shariah is to ensure that the operations and investments of the Fund are in compliance with Shariah requirements.

The Shariah Adviser reviews the Fund’s investments to ensure the fund manager has managed and administered Fund in accordance with Shariah principles and complied with the applicable guidelines, rulings and decisions issued by the SC.

For the Fund’s investment in domestic Shariah-compliant equity and sukuk, Islamic Deposits and Investment accounts, Islamic money market instruments and Islamic negotiable instruments, the screening of such investments are based on the “List of Shariah-compliant securities by the Shariah Advisory Council of the SC”, list of sukuk issued by the SC, list of Islamic money market instruments provided by BNM; and list of Islamic Deposits and Investment accounts provided by the fund manager on a monthly basis as required by the Shariah Adviser to ensure that all placements are in accordance with Shariah. Final responsibility for ensuring Shariah compliance of the Fund in all relevant aspects rests solely with the fund manager.

Responsibilities of the Shariah Adviser
In line with the applicable SC Guidelines, the roles of the Shariah Adviser are as follows:

1. To ensure that the Fund is managed and administered in accordance with Shariah principles;
2. To provide expertise and guidance for the Fund in all matters from the perspective of Shariah, including on the Fund’s Deed and information memorandum, its structure and investment process, and other operational and administrative matters;
3. To consult the SC who may consult its Shariah Advisory Council where there is any ambiguity or uncertainty as to an investment, instrument, system, procedure and/or process;
4. To scrutinise the Fund’s compliance reports as provided by the fund manager’s compliance officer, transaction reports provided by or duly approved by the Trustee and any other report deemed necessary for the purpose of ensuring that the Fund’s investments are in line with Shariah principles;
5. To prepare reports to be included in the Fund’s quarterly and annual reports certifying whether the Fund have been managed and administered in accordance with the Shariah principles;
6. To ensure that the Fund complies, with any guideline, ruling or decision issued by the SC, with regard to Shariah matters;
7. To vet and advise on the promotional materials of the Fund; and 8. To assist and attend any ad-hoc meeting called by the SC and/or any other relevant authority.

Profile of designated persons responsible for Shariah matters relating to the fund

The designated person responsible for Shariah matters relating to the Fund is 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, corporate and commercial matters. In particular, she has advised on Shariah compliance issues, structure and documentation for Islamic corporate and retail financing, sukuk issuance, takaful products and operations and Islamic private equity and unit trust funds; legal and regulatory framework for Islamic
financial services; and Islamic wealth management and planning.

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 Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Berhad.

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