BankMuscat, the largest financial services provider in the sultanate, has won the first place in the Corporate Governance Excellence Award 2011, which was organised by the Oman Centre for Corporate Governance of the Capital Market Authority (CMA).

BankMuscat was the overall winner in all the three sectors – Financial, Industrial and Services. In the Financial sector, BankMuscat bagged the top prize followed by National Bank of Oman and Oman Arab Bank.

Oman Cables Industry led the race in the Industrial sector while Oman Fisheries Company and Majan Glass Company bagged the second and third positions, respectively. In the Services sector, Shell Oman Marketing won the top accolade followed by Oman Oil Marketing and Al Ahlia InsuranceCompany.

The awards ceremony was held at the Grand Hyatt last week and H E Sheikh Sa’ad bin Mohammed bin Said al Sa’adi, Minister of Commerce and Industry, presented the honours to the winners.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Abdullah bin Salem al Salmi, executive vice president of CMA said that most of the listed Omani companies are in full compliance with the code of corporate governance and some of them are equipped to exceed the current requirements.

“It is not the end of corporate governance requirements; we are going to the next stage now and we need to upgrade the code of corporate governance. I also think some companies are capable of doing more than the current requirements.”

Salmi added that the award encourages companies to adhere and increasingly adopt the code of corporate governance. “This competition encourages non-listed companies also to come ahead and compete with the listed companies.”

After receiving the award, AbdulRazak Ali Issa, CEO of BankMuscat said, “Our board of directors and the management pay full attention to be compliant with corporate governance requirements. We are the market leader in the business and we would like to remain market leader in corporate governance as well.

“The year 2011 has been a good year for the banking sector. We are ready to start Islamic banking services once we get a green signal from the regulator.”

Rolling out Sharia products requires backing Sangour

MUSCAT: A successful rolling out of Islamic financial products requires support from all parties concerned and formulation of just rules and regulations alone will not help, Hamoud Sangour Al Zadjali, executive president of the Central Bank of Oman, told a seminar here yesterday.

“Islamic finance cannot proceed just by the rules set by the regulators. It will be the culmination of efforts of all concerned.

There should be support, contributions from many and diligence and discipline from all,” he added, while addressing a seminar on Islamic banking organised by KPMG.

While conventional banking has been built mainly around monetary intermediation, interest with maturity between lender and borrower, Islamic finance is trying to break this by incorporating banking practices based on Sharia.

He said Islamic finance is trying to charter into new areas in a big way. While on the one side, it has to break the predominance of conventional banking and offer a range of products.

However, market acceptance, credibility and confidence are important. “There is a need to carry the people along, particularly on expectations and progress in a measures way.”

The CBO chief said Islamic finance is not money oriented, and it evolves around activities and caters to genuine financial needs in an equitable way.

Sangour said both CBO and the Capital Market Authority are working on a framework of regulation and guidelines.

“We should see the proposed Islamic banks and window operations of existing banks commencing operation in the first half of 2012.”

Several experts on Islamic finance, including Neil D Miler, Global Head of Islamic Finance, presented papers on various topics at the seminar.