Sber Leadership in the Development of Partnership Finance in the Russian Federation

Sber Leadership in the Development of Partnership Finance in the Russian Federation

Organiser: Sberbank of Russia

Venue: SBER zone, Lounge A, 1st floor

Time: May 19, 2023, 13:00–14:20

Moderator: Gurban-Zadeh Behnam, Managing Director – Head of Partnership Finance Centre of Sberbank PJSC


Ruslan Edelgeriev, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation;

Rustam Minnikhanov, Rais of the Republic of Tatarstan;

Akhmed Azimov, Head of the Centre for International Strategic Initiatives;

Marat Kabayev, President of the International Islamic Business Association;

Oleg Ganeev, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank PJSC;

Majid Ghassemi, Chairman of the Executive Board of Pasargad Bank.

Marat Kabayev addressed the participants of the session with a speech of welcome. Having mentioned the importance of holding the Fifth Forum on Islamic Finance in Kazan, he stressed the positive role of the Institute of Islamic Finance in the development of Russian economy. “Islamic finance has great prospects.” Marat Kabayev said. “We need to unite our efforts in the fight against usury.”

Oleg Ganeev congratulated the participants of the Fifth Russian Islamic Economic Forum integrated into the agenda of the XIV International Economic Forum “Russia – Islamic World: KazanForum”, and noted the high effectiveness of its work.

Ruslan Edelgeriev informed that preparations for the second reading of the draft Law on Islamic Finance are already underway. Thanks to the political will of the President of Russia, this process has begun, and the regional regulatory framework is already established in four constituent subjects of the country. Having proved its commitment to traditional social values, Russia facilitated the attraction of Islamic investors. The Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation has stressed that “at present, the practical task is to integrate the Islamic banking standards into the Russian regulatory landscape.” Altering the Islamic business formula will not allow the development of the Islamic industry in Russia.

Majid Ghassemi shared the practice of Islamic business functioning in Iran. He noted that, because of moral principles, the services of banks are only used by 14 percent of Muslims. This opens up wide opportunities for development. He also noted that Islamic banking can even be promoted in countries with no Muslims. Most importantly, the money shall be directed to add value, rather than to gain profits. This system offers lots of advantages. The key ones are the anti-inflationary nature of Muslim business, stability of development, and risk sharing.

Gurban-Zadeh Behnam asked Akhmed Azimov to comment on the possibility of constructing a business bridge between Russia and Muslim countries.

Akhmed Azimov stressed that the system can only be formed in a friendly environment, and one of the achievements of this forum is the establishment of a welcoming environment for the promotion of Islamic banking. Russia is rather unfamiliar for the East. The decisive turn to the East that got started assumes the development of infrastructure along the Asian transport corridors. In this context, investment attraction where the role of Islamic finance is difficult to overestimate is the key.

Rais of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov noted the important role of Sberbank in the development of Islamic banking in Russia. He informed that 16 entities across Tatarstan already operate in compliance with the rules of Islamic finance.

Having noted that Orthodoxy and Islam guided by the same moral principles are committed to traditional values, Rustam Minnikhanov expressed hope that the Russian regions where the pilot project of Islamic banking will be implemented: Dagestan, Chechnya, Bashkiria and Tatarstan will streamline this pilot run so that it can serve as a model for the whole country.

The session finished by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions – AAOIFI and Sber.