Head of Islamic finance body IFSB to retire

April 7 (Reuters) - The secretary general of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), one of the main standard-setting bodies for Islamic finance, will retire next week, the Malaysia-based body said in a statement.

Jaseem Ahmed will step down on April 17 after six years at the helm of the IFSB, during which he oversaw an expansion of activities and placed greater emphasis on implementation of its standards with regulators.

The IFSB said it had started a process for the selection of a new secretary general and in the interim appointed Zahid ur Rehman Khokher as acting secretary general.

Founded in 2002, the IFSB’s initial efforts focused on winning a wide membership base, leaving implementation and enforcement to national regulators.

Under Ahmed, however, the IFSB has sought to develop more concrete guidance for its 183 member institutions.

This includes a standard on disclosure requirements for Islamic capital market products, which the IFSB finalised this week, that is mainly focused on Islamic bonds, or sukuk.

In February, the International Monetary Fund said it would formally include Islamic finance into its surveillance framework, incorporating a standard on regulations issued by the IFSB.

Islamic finance has its core markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, but its expansion into new jurisdictions has meant the IFSB has expanded its activities with regulators across Africa, Central Asia and Europe. (Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Eric Meijer)