Naseem Alshaya – Group Managing Director

A graduate of The George Washington University, Naseem has specialized in B2B businesses and internet based services in the GCC.

Naseem began his involvement with SHAPE® in 2005 starting off managing the USA office and later facilitating the company’s transition to Kuwait. As managing director, Naseem plays an important role in strategy and customer acquisition.

 

 

Abdulkader Thomas – Group President & CEO

Based in Kuwait, Abdulkader has over 35 years of diversified financial services experience in major markets including Bahrain, New York, London, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. His areas of activity have included trade finance, real estate finance, securities, and alternative finance at various global and regional financial institutions.

As the general manager of a foreign bank branch in New York, he was responsible for securing the first US banking regulatory approvals of alternative financial instruments in the mortgage and installment credit/sale as banking instruments. Later as the founding member of a de novo bank project, he secured US regulatory approval for Islamic profit sharing deposits. He is an authority on Islamic deal structures and securities.

Along with his team at SHAPE®, Abdulkader works on projects that include launching de novo Islamic banks and Islamic banking windows, policies and procedures including Shariah policies, Shariah compliance, product development and structuring. Clients include a diversified universe of financial institutions from North America, the MENA region, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe.

He is the co-author of Structuring Islamic Finance Transactions (Euromoney 2005), Islamic Bonds (Euromoney 2004), Sukuk (Sweet & Maxwell 2009), and Managing Funds Flow Risks and Derivatives: Applications in Islamic Institutions (Sweet & Maxwell 2012) and Housing the Nation (Cagamas 2013). Abdulkader serves as a technical expert on the Shariah boards of Bank Muscat Meethaq (Oman), Sterling Bank (Nigeria) and University Islamic Financial (USA). He also serves as a director of Al-Khabeer Capital in Jeddah, chairman and director of Al-Khabeer International in Bahrain, as well as acting as a member of the international advisory board of the Securities Commission of Malaysia. Abdulkader speaks English, Arabic, French and Spanish.

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Shabnam Mokhtar – Group Executive VP

Shabnam spearheads research and development activities including financial analysis, strategic & business plan formulation, design and implementation of customized survey, research and training for different clients at SHAPE®. Formerly, she was heading the capital markets research for the International Shariah Research Academy (ISRA), an institution established by the Central Bank of Malaysia. Her focus area was case study based research projects in the Sukuk market.

Shabnam successfully completed her Master of Accounting with distinction from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA. Her prior positions include a faculty member teaching accounting, finance and bank management courses at University Putra Malaysia. She has conducted various training programs on Islamic banking, sukuk & Islamic capital market products, risk management and financial reporting for clients in the ASEAN region, GCC and the European market.

Shabnam has contributed chapters in Housing the Nation (Cagamas 2013), Managing Fund Flows, Risks and Derivatives: Applications in Islamic Institutions (Sweet & Maxwell 2012), Islamic Financial System: Principles & Operations Market (ISRA, 2011), Sukuk (Sweet & Maxwell 2009), and Partnership Accounting, Principles and Practice (McGraw Hill). She served as a member of the Shariah Board of Malaysian Ratings Corporation (MARC). She is currently a member of the  Shariah Committee of RHB Islamic Bank. Shabnam divides her time between Kuala Lumpur and Kuwait.

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Zahidah Mokhtar – VP Global Marketing

Zahidah focuses on planning, developing and executing marketing strategies at SHAPE®. This includes managing and overseeing system and product policy development, leading product launch initiatives, and spearheading market and customer development exercises. She also manages the full spectrum of marketing activities, from pricing, distribution, social media, promotion, branding, public relation, and customer support.

Formerly she was with CIMA Student Service department in Malaysia and Singapore. She was in charge of sales and promotion, event management, customer service, exam administration including regional students and customer support. She also led and assisted in multiple ad-hoc projects such including conferences, workshops, product launch, student teambuilding, staff and management strategic away days.

Zahidah completed her Bachelor (H) of Marketing from University Technology MARA, Malaysia. Prior to joining CIMA, Zahidah was a Research Assistant for the Business Management Faculty, University Technology MARA on customer service level and perception, brand and culture and service benchmarks.

Sh. Abubakar Muhammad Musa – Consultant & Shariah Advisor

Based in Abuja, Nigeria, Sh. Abubakar supports SHAPE® in product development, Shariah research and approval of Islamic finance products for different clients. Sh. Abu Bakr has worked with other scholars to deliver fatwa covering complex project finance structures, consumer finance structures, conflict of law issues, securitization, and depository products. Sh. Abubakar holds a Diploma in Islamic Law with (Distinction) from Al-Imam University Riyadh and LLB (Hons) in Shariah from the same University. He successfully completed his (CIFP) Professional Masters Degree Programme at (INCEIF), Malaysia.

Formerly, Abubakar was a Shariah Researcher in different units at International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Besides his primary assignments in ISRA, he taught Shariah Rules in Financial Transactions to CIFP online students. Separately he also taught MBA and BBA Students different Islamic Banking and Finance Subjects at University College of Bahrain. His prior positions include a Shariah researcher in the Fatwa and Muamalat (Islamic commercial law) unit at (The Message of Islam) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a translator during the Hajj seasons. Sh. Abubakar translated cases from the Riyadh Shariah Courts from Arabic into Hausa and vice versa.

Sh. Abubakar also serves as a member of Advisory Council of Experts on Islamic Banking, for Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria.

Ihsan

Sh. ihsan Gonsalves – Consultant & Shariah Advisor

Sh. Ihsan joined SHAPE® in April 2015 while completing his Masters in Islamic Banking at the International Islamic University of Malaysia. At SHAPE® he supports product development, Shariah research, training and approval of Islamic finance products for different clients. Since joining SHAPE®, Ihsan has worked on research projects relying on Islamic derivatives and other products for clients in the GCC. He is actively supporting the ongoing ifta work for University Bank. Sh. Ihsan holds a Diploma in Arabic Language from Islamic University of Medina Saudi and Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Law from the same University.

In addition to his academic studies, Ihsan has translated many Islamic books that have been published and distributed in America, Canada, and the UK. He also served as a research assistant for ISRA, where he assisted in the compilation of a number of projects, and translated fatwas issued by the Shariah boards of a number of Islamic Banks.

In 2014, he presented a paper on Islamic Ethics at the 2014 ISRA Colloquium, and presented a paper on cooperative banking at the Harvard Islamic Finance Forum.

Savas Saymaz – Country Head & Consultant

Savas Saymaz has earned his Masters of Business Administration in Finance and Management Information System from University of Scranton, USA in 2001. After obtaining his MBA degree in 2001, Savas has worked in the US financial Services Industry for over 10 years. Most recently, he was a manager at MassMutual Financial Group. His primary roles were recruiting, training, developing and managing financial advisors for the firm. He managed advisors who are specialized in Financial Strategies, Retirement Planning, Insurance, Investment and Mortgages. He holds FINRA Series 6, 63 and 65 licenses.

In 2005, Savas has earned his LUTCF (Life Underwriter and Training Council Fellow) designation. Also in 2009, he has received his diploma for the ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant) and CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) certification from The American College in Philadelphia, PA.

Savas is currently pursuing his PhD degree in Finance. At SHAPE® Savas facilitates training, research and consulting for clients. Besides Islamic finance training, Savas also delivers soft skill training for financial institutions.