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Malaysia: Jamelah Jamaluddin goes back to KFH

Clear sign of internationalization of market; KFH reverts to a safe pair of hands

Jamelah Jamaluddin has returned to KFH

Jamelah Jamaluddin has returned to KFH

In Malaysian Islamic finance last month, a chief executive move provided a commentary on the rising power of foreign banks in Malaysia while also raising questions about their conduct. In February, Jamelah Jamaluddin cleared her desk as chief executive of RHB Islamic, one of Malaysia’s leading domestic Islamic banks, and joined Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) as chief executive.

It is the second time JJ, as she is known in Kuala Lumpur, has followed this particular path. She was chief operating officer at RHB Sakura Merchant Bank until 2005, in the days before Malaysian banks’ Islamic arms were hived off into separate entities. She then moved to KFH when the Kuwaiti group became one of three Middle Eastern institutions to be given wide-ranging licences to conduct Islamic finance in Malaysia. She rose to be deputy chief executive there before coming back to RHB, this time as chief executive of its Islamic entity, RHB Islamic. Now she’s heading back the other way.

Not just any bank
It is striking that one of Malaysia’s most senior Islamic bankers finds it more alluring to work at a branch of a foreign bank than to lead a much bigger domestic one.

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