Shariah Advisory


ZICO Shariah Advisory Services Sdn Bhd (“ZICO Shariah”) is a member of ZICO Holdings and is registered by the Securities Commission Malaysia (“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 (“BNM”)  to provide Shariah advice, Shariah review and Shariah audit services to Islamic financial institutions.

ZICO Shariah has more than 10 years of experience in Islamic finance. Its team members possess Shariah, accounting, business and legal qualifications with over a decade of experience in structuring, drafting, advisory and consultation work in relation to Islamic finance. It provides Shariah advice that is enhanced by practical legal knowledge and insight gained from having worked on major local and cross-border Islamic finance transactions.

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


Provided Shariah and legal advice to the Employees Provision Fund Malaysia ("EPF") on the setting up and operationalization of a Shariah compliant retirement savings scheme which is the first in the world to be established by a sovereign pension fund

Providing complete Shariah advisory services to the Malaysian largest unit trust fund provider on retainer basis in relation to all its 59 Islamic unit trust funds with a total NAV of more than RM20 billion.

Acting as the Shariah adviser of private mandate to a fund manager on its sukuk investment fund ensuring the fund structure, operations and investment portfolio are Shariah compliance.

Advised two major sovereign fund managers on the potential restructuring of their savings accounts and offering of new types of accounts geared towards Shariah-compliant savings and investments;

Advised on the issuance of the first corporate sukuk in an ASEAN member country. Provided specialized training for its ministry officials and other industry players on Islamic finance, in particular on sukuk; and

Advised on legal measures to enable Islamic banking and finance in two countries in the CIS region.


Board of Directors

Dato’ Seri Dr. Nik Norzrul Thani

Dr. Aida Othman

Ahmad Ab Hamid


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 Shariah Advisory Council (“SAC”) of the SC where there is ambiguity or uncertainty in respect the SC who may consult its SAC;

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 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.

9. To apply ijtihad (intellectual reasoning) to ensure all aspects relating to the operations and investments of the Fund are in compliance with Shariah, in the absence of any rulings, principles and concepts endorsed by the SAC of SC.


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. (a member of ZICO Law). She is also the director of ZICO Shariah Advisory Services. Dr. Aida specializes in Islamic banking and finance, Islamic capital market instruments and Takaful products and operations. She also advises on Shariah compliance and governance, including on the legal and regulatory framework for Islamic finance. In particular, she has advised on the structure and documentation for Islamic banking products, the legal and regulatory framework for Islamic financial services, structuring and Shariah compliance issues for Sukuk issuance, private equity funds and unit trust funds, Shariah review and Shariah audit of Islamic financial institutions, Takaful products and operationsand 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. 

Currently, she is is an Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya. She is the panel arbitrator for banking/financial instruments at the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC). Dr. Aida sits on the Shariah Advisory Board of HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad, Permodalan Nasional Berhad, and AmMetlife Takaful Berhad. She is also a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), United Kingdom, a member of the Islamic Finance Committee, Bar Council, Malaysia, a member of the Association of Shariah Advisors in Islamic Finance (ASAS), Malaysia, and a member of the Majlis Agama Islam & Adat Melayu Negeri Perak. Formerly, she was a member of the Technical Working Group on Ethics of the Accounting & Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), Bahrain.


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