Noor Aini Shaik Awab, the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of Hong Leong Islamic Asset Management Sdn. Bhd. (“Hong Leong Islamic AM”) is on a mission to grow Islamic investments in Malaysia. She has a clear plan to achieve this. In an interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, Noor Aini talks about how she plans to leverage Shariah investment principles, digital technologies and young talent to make Islamic asset management a leading offering in Malaysia.
A few years ago, Noor Aini Shaik Awab and her team at Hong Leong Asset Management Bhd (“Hong Leong AM”) spotted a huge opportunity for a full-fledged Islamic fund management company.
“Most of the prospects that we met preferred to appoint a ‘full-fledged’ Islamic fund management company. The ‘Islamic windows’ approach in asset management services were not growing as fast as expected. So we proposed to the Group our business strategy to incorporate a new business providing Islamic asset management,” explains Noor Aini.
“We felt the timing was perfect with the conducive ecosystem and strong support from the regulators and government to grow the Islamic Capital Markets on top of the rising trend of Islamic Finance accommodated by the increasing capabilities of young and intellectual talents, particularly in Shariah-compliant asset management and Islamic financial services industry,” she adds.
Noor Aini, who has over three decades of experience in regional and global securities settlements, joined Hong Leong AM in April 2014 as the Chief Operations Officer. As part of starting an Islamic fund management company , Noor Aini was tasked to review and overhaul the operations processes, ensuring team readiness to support the growth of business for local and global investments.
When Hong Leong Islamic AM was granted an Islamic fund management license in November 2019, Noor Aini was promoted and accepted a new challenge in her career, as the CEO of Hong Leong Islamic AM.
Hong Leong Islamic AM is a licensed Islamic fund management company that offers solutions tailored specifically to manage investments of corporates and high net-worth individuals. The fund management company also acts as the appointed external fund manager for Hong Leong AM’s Shariah-compliant unit trust funds.
Noor Aini’s plan however was not just to kickstart an Islamic fund management company . She and the team at Hong Leong AM and Hong Leong Islamic AM are embarking on a strategy to make Islamic asset management a leading offering in Malaysia.
How will they do this? By leveraging on the best of Shariah investment principles, digital technologies and young talent.
“We are embarking on the digitalisation of our systems in the next two years. We are fortunate to have a head start as Hong Leong AM already has an online unit trust distribution system in Malaysia,” says Noor Aini.
“Moreover, as part of our continuous talent management programme, we are recruiting young potential to be part of the business to ensure sustainability.”
This passion for fusing business with technology has been a theme in Noor Aini’s career. Born and bred in Singapore, Noor Aini started in the asset management industry working for Schroders Singapore, a British company. While working, she also took up diplomas in Business Administration and Computer Studies which was uncommon for women in those days.
“I always had this interest in technology and used to buy computer magazines with special pages of coding to create simple software for games or learning tools,” says Noor Aini.
Setting her sights on the future, Noor Aini has a solid vision for Hong Leong Islamic AM.
“I believe Malaysia should be the leader in Islamic asset management and Islamic financial services in Asia. My vision for Hong Leong Islamic AM and the team is to be respected in the industry for providing Shariah-compliant wealth accumulation services for all investors driven by the principle of “Al-Falah”, meaning “accumulation of wealth for now and hereafter”.”