Join our free online session on July 7th

Do we Need a Ratings Regime for Islamic Microfinance?


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Online Seminar Series: Do we need a rating regime for Islamic Microfinance?

07th July 15:00 CET

Do we need a rating regime for Islamic Microfinance?

Ratings play an important role in providing independent assurances to investors and other stakeholders by assessing the relative risks of specific financial institutions. By serving as information intermediaries, rating agencies can reduce information costs, increase the pool of potential investees, and promote liquid markets. These functions may increase the supply of available risk capital in the market and promote economic growth.

But currently no microfinance specialized ratings incorporate the specificities of Islamic microfinance institutions who because of the Shariah prohibition on interest do not engage in on-lending and have essentially different business models and practices compared to the well-established conventional microfinance industry. At the same time, rating agencies that do offer services to Islamic financial institutions do not cater for microfinance.

In this online session an expert panel will explore:

  • What is the role of ratings in market development?
  • History & principles of performance ratings for microfinance and Islamic banking
  • Is there a convergence of inclusive finance, ESG & SRI with Islamic principles?


Our tutor for the Certified Expert in Islamic Microfinance Dr Mohammed Kroessin will be moderating the panel discussion.

Dr. Mohammed Kroessin

Dr. Mohammed R. Kroessin

Dr Mohammed R. Kroessin is a development economist with over 15 years experience of working with Islamic development and financial institutions. He has formerly worked for Chambers of Commerce and the Centre for Enterprise in the UK, was Asst. CEO of Muslim Aid and is now heading Islamic Relief’s Global Islamic Microfinance Unit. He holds a Masters in international political economy (Kent) and a Masters in development management (Westminster Business School).

Mehr Weniger

He has completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham (UK) on the political economy of Islamic microfinance. He was also a research associate at the Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance, at the University of Birmingham and a Visiting Research Fellow at Aston Business School. Mohammed currently serves on the board of two Islamic microfinance institutions in Bosnia and Kosovo and also has worked with Islamic financial institutions in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.


Bashar Al Natoor

Bashar Al-Natoor

Bashar Al Natoor is Fitch Rating’s Global Head of Islamic Finance. Mr Al Natoor is responsible for coordinating all Islamic Finance activities across Fitch’s Sovereign, Financial Institutions, Corporate, Structured Finance, Infrastructure and Insurance teams, bringing together dedicated analytical and industry expertise into a centralised and focused Islamic finance group.

Mehr Weniger

Bashar has more than 16 years' experience in the Islamic Finance market. Since joining Fitch in 2007, he has overseen Fitch's Sukuk criteria and Islamic Finance practices, undertaken research and written numerous published articles on Islamic Finance. Bashar joined Fitch as a director in the EMEA Corporates group based in Dubai. He was responsible for analysing EMEA issuers, with focus on Middle East and Turkish issuers in the construction, property and Telecommunication sectors. Prior to joining Fitch, Bashar spent seven years at the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in key roles including Investment Officer in the Treasury Department, a Senior Credit Analyst in Risk Management and Senior Technical Assistant to the Vice President of Finance & Administration. Before working with IDB, Mr Al Natoor was a senior auditor for four years in Arthur Andersen.

Santiago Arnaudin

S. Arnaudin

Santiago Arnaudin is Managing Director at Inclusion [Social Ratings], an international rating agency based in Barcelona, Spain. He has extensive experience working in multicultural environments in a diverse range of projects within the financial services industry, from financial planning and analysis to equity research, and investment banking.

Mehr Weniger

Santiago holds a bachelor's degree in Economics and a master's degree in the same field from the Universidad Nacional del Sur (Argentina). He is a certified expert in Islamic Microfinance from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, and has a specialization in International Relations, Geopolitics and Global Governance from IBEI, Barcelona.

Owais Atta Siddiqui

Owais Atta Siddiqui is Country Manager - Pakistan at the Islamic International Rating Agency. He has worked in 16 countries in all major regions of the world including Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Levant and North Africa. Prior to joining IIRA, he was associated with PwC Pakistan in its Business and Risk Consulting department.

Mehr Weniger

Owais has a degree in Actuarial Science and Risk Management from University of Karachi and currently pursuing MPhil leading to Ph.D. in Financial Economics from Institute of Business Management. He is also a Certified Financial Risk Manager from the Global Association of Risk Professionals, USA. Owais is also a ‘Visiting Faculty’ at the Institute of Business Management and the University of Karachi.

Jurgen Hammer

Jurgen Hammer is the Managing Director of SPTF, the international inclusive finance network and Standard Setting body for social performance management (SPM), in charge of the European office in Luxembourg.

Mehr Weniger

From 2008 to 2019, Jurgen was Chief Risk Officer and Head of SPM at Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation (GCAF). Jurgen’s involvement in financial inclusion started in 2006 at EFSE, an investment fund for the Balkans. In 2008 he managed the TA program at JAIDA, the investment fund for microfinance associations in Morocco.

Jurgen continued as an independent Board member of JAIDA until 2016. He also serves as an Independent Member of the Board at ACAD in Palestine as well as for the French investment manager Pamiga-Finance. He has over 15 years of experience in corporate and investment banking at Deutsche Bank, Senior Banker at Banco Santander and Co-Head of Fixed Income and Securitization at CACIB working with Sovereigns, FIs and Corporates in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Jürgen holds an MBA in International Business from City University New York-Baruch, and a Master in Applied Economics from Paris University, Dauphine. Primary and secondary education in Germany.