KUALA LUMPUR: Sheikh Saleh Kamel Chairmen Albaraka Banking Group was named as the first winner of The Royal Award for Islamic Finance launched in June by the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Center (MIFC) and the Securities Commission Malaysia which honors “outstanding contribution of an exceptional individual in Islamic finance” at the end of October, 2010
The award was presented in a ceremony Kuala Lumpur in the presence of Sultan of Kedah Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim, and his consort Tuanku Sultanah Hajjah Haminah, Raja Nazrin Shah, the crown prince of the state of Perak and ambassador at large of the MIFC Initiative, Tun Musa Hitam, former deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, governor of Bank Negara Malaysia and Zarinah Anwar, chairman of the Securities Commission of Malaysia.
Saleh Kamel has been a pioneer of contemporary Islamic finance since the 1970s following the convening by the then King Faisal of Saudi Arabia of an extraordinary meeting of OIC foreign ministers which led to the establishment of the Islamic Development Bank in 1975. Saleh Kamel initially worked with Prince Muhammed Al-Faisal, the son of King Faisal, the other pioneer of Islamic finance.
But in the early 1980s the two parted company to set up their own entities in Islamic finance.
Through his Dallah Albaraka Group, Saleh Kamel started his Islamic banking group through the Albaraka Development Company. The group launched Islamic banking subsidiaries in Turkey, South Africa, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, the United Kingdom, Tunisia, Algeria and investments in entities in Malaysia.
Much later these entities were incorporated under a new holding company, the Albaraka Banking Group (ABG), which is incorporated in Bahrain and is effectively the banking investment arm of the Dallah Albaraka group. The group has also been a pioneer of Takaful and Retakaful through its Tunisian entity BEST Re.