Islamic Banking – Key Differences of Components within a Financial Statements of an Islamic Bank

After touching briefly on the presentation of financial statements for an Islamic bank in my earlier article, we now move on to a little bit more detail.  Let us look at the key differences in presentation of financial statements between conventional an Islamic banking.

Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet)

In conventional accounting, the balance sheet has these few components, namely assets, liabilities and owners’ equity.  In Islamic banking, there is one additional component called “equity of unrestricted investment account holders”.

In conventional banking, an asset is defined as an item with future economic benefit attached to it regardless whether there is legal control by the reporting bank.  For Islamic banking, however, an item can be taken as an asset only when the Islamic bank has legal right to hold, use or dispose of the item.

The other unique feature is the “equity of unrestricted investment account holders”.  This additional component is to satisfy the set of customers who invest on the basis of mudarabah which calls for any losses to be borne by the investors (the customers themselves).  It is therefore, important to disclose sufficient information to demonstrate the measures taken by the bank to ensure that the interests of this set of customers are considered as part of the strategy of the bank.  In conventional banking, they will be treated as liabilities instead.

There are 2 forms of mudarabah contracts:-

  1. Mudarabah Mutlaqah – This is the “unrestricted” mudarabah contract whereby the capital provider/owner allows total freedom to the bank to use the capital for its projects without conditions, specifications, restrictions or limits.  The bank is free to enter into any trade agreements, whether normal or deferred or leasing basis, using the owners’ capital.  This form of mudarabah is typically used in replacement of the conventional fixed deposit product for retail customers.
  1. Mudarabah Muqqayadah – This is the “restricted” mudarabah contract.  The bank is given certain parameters (restrictions and conditions) on how to use the capital provided by the owners.

Statement of Changes in Restricted Investments and Their Equivalent

This is the statement to report the use of mudarabah muqqayadah investments whereby the bank is to undertake to use the funds for specific investments.  This pool of fund must be separated from other funds as the returns from this fund will be shared among this particular group of investors.

Apart from the returns or losses for the group of restricted investors, the statement should also report profits or losses before deducting the investment manager’s share of investment profits/losses.  The bank’s share of compensation as the investment agent is also known as mudarib.

Statement of Sources and Uses of Zakat and Charity Fund

This is required only when the bank established a zakat and charity fund whereby the bank acts as a fiduciary of that fund.  The bank is responsible for collection and distribution of all or part of zakat and charity funds.