Path Solutions provides Sharia-compliant software solutions and services for the Islamic financial services industry, and focuses on enhancing Islamic banks’ profitability and competitiveness. Rosie Kmeid, VP Global Corporate Communications & Marketing, discusses the growing demand for Islamic financial products and shares information about the related IT trends with our editor Wanda Rich.
Wanda: We’ve always heard of Path Solutions as the leader in the provision of Sharia-compliant software solutions for the Islamic banking segment. How did you get there?
Rosie: Path Solutions is the only IT firm that can claim leadership positioning in the Islamic finance segment. Our company has been recognized and lauded leader on several occasions by many of the industry’s leading market analyst firms including Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Ovum and Celent.
With growing population awareness and the booming demand for Sharia-compliant Islamic banking products, the focus on Islamic banking has increased. The scope of Islamic banking has widened and is continuously evolving with the introduction of a range of sophisticated Islamic financial products targeting new customers. We, at Path Solutions, offer the multi-award winning Islamic core banking solution which was architected from the ground up around Sharia guidelines. Truly geared to address country and region-specific Islamic banking requirements, our solution supports a variety of models, allows for quick time-to-market, while also addressing risk management and compliance under Sharia law across various geographies.
Wanda: Is Path Solutions focused on this segment solely?
Rosie: Indeed, since its inception, Path Solutions focused on designing and developing integrated Sharia-compliant software solutions to specifically address the needs of this segment. We believe in shaping an emerging sector together with our clients and partners. As you have noticed, we have the largest market share in the Islamic core banking product marketspace. Actually, we have over 100 forward-thinking Islamic banks and financial institutions worldwide using our cutting-edge software system for their daily operations.
Wanda: How does your company inspire and lead the Islamic software industry landscape?
Rosie: In reality, many businesses fail to merit the labels “inspirational” and “Thought Leader”. Two decades ago, there has been no investments in Sharia-compliant technologies to cater for Islamic finance needs. Path Solutions read and surveyed the landscape, and filled this void to come out as a leader with a clear vision, innovative approach, growth orientation, product roadmap, processes, etc. So, the secret to differentiation is in the right product delivered to the right place at the right time. Staying innovative and inspirational in this segment requires dedication and tremendous investment in research, and thus there is no easy path or shortcut to remain on the cutting edge of our field.
Wanda: How does your solution comply with the Islamic law or Sharia?
Rosie: Path Solutions is the only IT company globally that has sought the AAOIFI certification for its end-to-end software system in 2008. At that time, the AAOIFI certification covered all modules, business processes, contracts, Islamic accounting treatments, implications and behavior.
In 2014, following a rigorous and phased approach project that entailed examination sessions with unprecedented collaboration between Path Solutions and Deloitte’s Islamic finance and Sharia professionals, the Deloitte Islamic Finance Knowledge Center has reported no exceptions on the compliance of our Islamic core banking system with Sharia principles, and the accounting standards issued by AAOIFI. The initiative has helped to further increase client satisfaction, maintain and enhance good compliance practices.
Wanda: What is Path Solutions’ value proposition and product differentiation?
Rosie: Path Solutions helps Islamic banks and financial institutions take advantage of new market opportunities. We believe our value proposition is second to none, as it drives credibility, loyalty and customer satisfaction. We offer the only Sharia-compliant, end-to-end software solutions that leverage cutting-edge technologies that deliver the choice, flexibility, scalability and agility needed to support strategic business initiatives. With the flexibility to be run on premise or in the cloud, Path Solutions offers a comprehensive set of functionalities, enabling Islamic banks to drive profitability, inspire innovation, and respond quickly to an evolving business environment.
Our multi-award winning solution offers a modular approach with robust capabilities focused on mitigating risk, reducing costs, automating and streamlining processes, and improving customer responsiveness across the organization, along with extensive coverage of compliance and reporting, all top priorities toward achieving continued growth and profitability.
Wanda: Many conventional IT firms have expanded their offerings to cover the needs of Islamic banking. How would you compete with the other players in your segment?
Rosie: Competing against a major player in your segment is in general a huge challenge. The financial services industry is fiercely competitive and it is notoriously hard for traditional IT firms to achieve standout. In a crowded marketplace, the real trick is finding a gap and having the right product to fill it.
A conventional IT company can implement CRM, treasury, fund management, HR and payment applications, but might struggle to provide an industry-specific solution. And that’s the gap in the market we have been able to fill; we have developed Sharia-compliant software solutions for a very specific segment. Apart from Islamic core banking applications, our solution competitively covers the requirements for Islamic financing and leasing.
And hence we compete on value and service; the more specialized our solution and service, the better. Industry know-how, quality and flexibility are proving to be effective tools for carving out a niche in even the most competitive of markets by managing client expectations.
Wanda: What do the next 12 months hold for Path Solutions?
Rosie: The current political downturn in Arab countries is our biggest challenge to date, which is not uncommon, since everybody is exposed to it. We are determined to continuously innovate, and maintain our market leadership worldwide despite a very depressed environment.
We aspire to grow in key priority markets and expand in new geographies. To achieve this, we have identified emerging markets as high-potential areas. These markets provide great opportunities for us, hence the need to grow exponentially in the next 12 months. Our major growth markets are likely to be in North and sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe, therefore, we will have to remain flexible and agile to align product with demand and adjust our offerings to these markets, mainly in the areas of big data, social, mobile channels, risk management and regulatory compliance and of course Islamic microfinance.
We will continue to fund innovations, scale up and shape the industry of tomorrow.