Prof. Dr.


Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha

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Doctor of Business Administration (specialization in Finance) Boston University, USA. (1993)
Fields/Area of Specialization
Finance; Accounting
Prof. Dr Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha achieved his Bachelor of Social Science from the University Science Malaysia, a Master of Business Administration, a Masters in Economics and his Doctor of Business Administration in Finance from Boston University. He is currently a professor of Finance at INCEIF. Previously he has held several key positions at the International Islamic University of Malaysia. He was also an assistant professor in finance at Boston University, he taught at both MBA and undergraduate levels. He is also an active Shariah advisor to institutions such as Five Pillars and Sabana REIT. Prof. Dr. Obiyathulla is also the Vice President of the Malaysian Economic Association and a member of the Malaysian Finance Association.

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Now showing 1 - 11 of 79
  • Publication
    Combining momentum, value, and quality for the Islamic equity portfolio: multi-style rotation strategies using augmented Black Litterman factor model
    Ginanjar Dewandaru; Rumi Masih; Abul Mansur Mohammed Masih; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (Elsevier, 2015)

    This study constructs active Islamic portfolios using a multi-style rotation strategy, derived from the three prominent styles, namely, momentum, value, and quality investing. We use the stocks that are consistently listed in the U.S. Dow Jones Islamic index for a sample period from 1996 to 2012. We also include two macroeconomic mimicking portfolios to capture the premiums of industrial production growth and inflation innovation, accommodating the economic regime shifts. Based on the information coefficients, we find the six-month momentum and the fractal measure as momentum factors; the enterprise yield (gross profit/TEV) and the book to market ratio as valuation factors; the gross profit to total assets, the return on capital, and the scaled total accruals as quality factors. We further construct active portfolios using the augmented Black Litterman (ABL) factor model to avoid the factor alignment problem, with the factor views predicted using Markov Switching VAR, MIDAS, and Bayesian Model Averaging. The out-of-sample performance of our portfolios can produce information ratios of 0.7–0.8 over the composite indices, and information ratios of 0.42–0.48 over the style indices, with the annualized alphas of 10–11%. Even when we put the constrained tracking error of 1% over the benchmark, our portfolios still produce information ratios of 0.9–1.2 before transaction costs, and 0.6–0.8 after transaction costs. We provide intuitive explanations for each premium changing over time, and suggest the promising strategy for Islamic equity investors to outperform the market.

  • Publication
    Daily traders' and institutional investors' wealth effect upon sukuk and conventional bond announcements: a case study of Malaysian firms using event-study methodology and wavelet analysis
    Hanifa, Mohamed Hisham; Mohammed Masih, Abul Mansur; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (Bursa Malaysia & Malaysian Finance Association, 2014)

    The last decade has witnessed a rapid expansion of Islamic financial instruments with a notable proliferation of Islamic investment certificates called sukuk. In spite of the expansion, research to appraise their growth implications remains limited. This paper investigated the structural differences within sukuk and conventional and their implications on investor return reactions. It also looked at the investors' different decision making time horizon dimensions in response to the respective debt security's announcement. Our sample consisted of 158 conventional bonds and 129 sukuk issuers between 2000 and 2013. Event-study methodology and wavelet analysis were used resulting in three major findings. Firstly, market investors perceived sukuk and conventional bonds as different financial instruments. Variations in investor reactions persisted when each sub-category of sukuk and conventional bond were examined separately. Lastly, firm value and shareholder wealth were affected in different ways upon the issuance announcement of of a specific sukuk or conventional bond. Specifically, the equity-like features within convertible bonds and partnership-based sukuk negated institutional investors' wealth, but were due to different 'dilution' arguments. Sukuk created unique wealth effects for corporate issuers, day traders and institutional investors in comparison with conventional bonds.

  • Publication
    The risk sharing philosophy of Islamic finance
    Daud Vicary Abdullah; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (SEACAN, 2016)

    Economists typically divide the overall macro economy into two sectors, the real sector and financial sector. The real sector represents the productive capacity of the economy and produces the goods and services that accounts for a nation's GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The financial sector on the other hand serves to provide the financing needed by the real sector to produce the goods and services. Islamic economics requires that all financial returns be anchored in real sector returns. For an economy to function optimally, both the real and financial sectors need to function optimally.

  • Publication
    Foreign exchange exposure and impact of policy switch - the case of Malaysian listed firms
    Azhar Mohamad; Sharifah Raihan Syed Mohd Zain; Mohamed Eskandar Shah Mohd Rasid; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (Routledge, 2013)

    This article undertakes an in-depth study of the foreign exchange exposure of Malaysian listed firms. We examine several issues related to firm-specific and overall exposure, including an evaluation of the efficacy of adopting a hard-peg on such exposure. Our sample consists of 158 listed firms and spans the 16 year period, 1990–2005. A multivariate model using four bilateral exchange rates is used to determine firm level exposure while panel data analysis using a random-effects Generalized Least Squares (GLS) model is used to determine system-wide or aggregate sample exposure. We find a total 71% of our sample firms to have significant exchange rate exposure, a rate substantially higher than that reported for most countries, especially developed ones.

  • Publication
    An analysis of cost efficiency in the Malaysian takaful industry
    Norashikin Ismail; Syed Othman Alhabshi; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (Malaysian Insurance Institute, 2012)

    Efficiency of financial institution has become an important part of insurance literature. This study aims to evaluate the performance in term of cost efficiency for takaful and insurance firms in Malaysia. A sample of 18 firms consisting of 7 takaful operators and 11 conventional insurers are chosen from the period 2004 to 2009. The cost efficiency score for each firm are obtained using input oriented DEA model. A Kruskal Wallis and Mann Whitney test are employed to examine any significant difference in cost efficiency between Takaful industry and insurance industry. The main findings indicate a significant difference in cost efficiency between takaful and insurance industries. The average cost efficiency for takaful industry is 49.20% which implies they could reduce the cost of production by 50% without affecting the level of output. A lower market share exist in takaful industry has resulted to cost inefficiency. Essentially, this study has supported the market power theory.

  • Publication
    Incentive-compatible sukuk musharakah for private sector funding
    Abdou Diaw; Ahcene Lahsasna; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (ISRA, 2012)

    Despite the huge potential on both the demand and supply sides of the sukuk market, the current sukukstructures fall short of adequately meeting the market’s needs as the Shari'ah compliance of many of them and/or their economic efficiency are questionable. Even though partnership-based sukuk are claimed to reflect the true spirit of Islamic finance, their underuse as a financing instrument is a notable fact. Such a situation, if not addressed, will impede the development of the sukuk market in the future. This paper proposes an innovative sukuk musharakah model for consideration by companies and revenue generating infrastructure projects. The model has an incentive-compatible feature by making the share of the issuing entity in the profit positively related to its performance in addition to a convertibility clause. The sector Return on Equity (ROE), adjusted with the firm beta, is considered a benchmark for measuring the performance of the firm. The paper examines the design of the model, its risk return profile as well as its pricing for secondary market trading.

  • Publication
    Regulatory framework for Islamic finance: Malaysia's initiative
    Siti Muawanah Lajis; Abbas Mirakhor; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (Springer International Publishing, 2016)

    The role of regulation extends beyond ensuring stability and confidence in the financial system, as it is also behavioral shaper of market players. The laws, standards, and guidelines issued are instrumental in creating an incentive structure for market players to behave in certain ways. Using incentive audit approach, this paper attempts to examine the efficacy of the evolving Malaysian regulatory and supervisory framework for Islamic banking, in preserving financial stability as well as supporting the growth of the financial system and real economy. The findings suggest that the present framework unintentionally misaligns incentives and discourages Islamic banks from fully embracing risk sharing as the underlying principle for their financial instruments.

  • Publication
    Granting employee stock options (ESOs), market reaction and financial performance
    Sharifah Raihan Syed Mohd Zain; Mohamed Eskandar Shah Mohd Rasid; Azhar Mohamad; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (Universiti Sains Malaysia, 2009-09-01)

    This paper examines several issues related to the implementation of ESOs among Malaysian companies. We examine a total of 52 companies, 26 ESO firms and their matched industry peers over a span of 12 years. We find ESO firm stocks to have marginally higher mean returns and lower volatility than do their pre-ESO peers. Malaysian companies are more likely to initiate ESOs when the market valuation of their stocks is low. If there is any timing, ESO initiation is timed to be most favourable to employee recipients. Market reaction to ESO announcements is significantly negative. Furthermore, stock prices do not seem to recover to pre-announcement levels during at least the subsequent 20 trading days or one calendar month. In line with US findings, operating performance deteriorates for ESO companies. Comparative analysis of control firms rules out industry or external factors as elements of the deterioration. Firm size has been identified in previous studies as a determinant of market reaction and post-ESO performance. Indeed we find this to be the case for Malaysian ESOs. We find a positive announcement effect for large firms but a significantly negative one for small firms. Though puzzling, the market reaction makes sense when we consider the poor operating performance post-ESO of small firms relative to large ones. It appears that the impact of an ESO is negative for small firms but neutral for large ones. The market appears to anticipate this outcome and react accordingly. An ESO realigns the interest of the stakeholders of a company. Employee recipients gain, while shareholders mostly lose. Bondholders of large ESO firms are only marginally affected, but those of small firms stand to lose from the diminution of profits and increased leverage post-ESO. Based on our results, it will be difficult to make a case that the objectives of and rationale for an ESO are being fulfilled.

  • Publication
    Pricing efficiency of stock rights issues in Malaysia
    Mohd Edil Abd Sukor; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (Routledge, 2010)

    This article undertakes an empirical examination of pure rights issues in Malaysia. Though pricing efficiency is the main focus, we also examine related issues. We study a total of 38 pure rights issues that occurred over the 8-year period January 1998 to December 2005. Using two alternative valuation models, the adjusted Black–Scholes Call Option Model (BSOPM) and the traditional Implied Rights Valuation Model (IRVM), we find the Malaysian market to be inefficient in pricing the rights. Mispricing is quite extensive with a predominance of overpricing. Significantly, both pricing models, despite their different theoretical underpinnings produce similar results. These results are further validated by the returns to our two arbitrage strategies. The trading strategy, which establishes a net short position in the rights produces substantial positive returns, whereas the strategy which effectively goes long the rights, produced marginally negative returns. We found underlying stock price volatility, liquidity and moneyness of the rights to be the key determinants of the extent of mispricing. Finally, we find that underlying stock price volatility was significantly lower post rights issue.

  • Publication
    The Fed dodges a bullet - for now
    Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (The Edge Communications Sdn. Bhd., 2023)

    What a month March had been. Over a three-week period, four mid-size US banks had to be rescued and one large Swiss bank had to be folded into another. Meanwhile, a German bank had to suffer serious erosion of its equity value. It started with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) needing to be rescued following a run by its depositors, on news of its loss of some US$2 billion (RM8.8 billion) from the sale of US government bonds it had been holding. It appears that SVB was holding a huge portfolio of long-dated government bonds - a clear case of a serious duration mismatch. Surprisingly, no one, not even the banking regulators, seemed to have been watching interest rate risks, even as the US Federal Reserve had been raising rates rapidly. Rising rates affect the value of items on a bank's balance sheet. Both assets and liabilities are affected, with the impact being determined by the duration of each item. Given the intermediation function of banks, the duration of assets is invariably longer than that of liabilities, a large part of which would be deposits. Thus, a bank holding large amounts of long-dated bonds would have a disproportionately large asset side duration and. accordingly, a large duration gap, making it highly susceptible to even small interest rate rises.

  • Publication
    Leverage versus volatility: evidence from the capital structure of European firms
    AbdelKader Ouatik El Alaoui; Abul Mansur Mohammed Masih; Mehmet Asutay; Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (Elsevier, 2017)

    The impact of leverage on financial market stability and the relationship with the real economy is a key concern among researchers. This paper makes an initial attempt to investigate the relationship between a firm's leverage, return and share price volatility from an Islamic finance perspective and capital structure theory. A multicountry dynamic panel framework and the mean-variance efficient frontier are applied to 320 sample firms from eight European countries, divided into portfolios of low and high debt using the shari'ah screening threshold of 33%. We find that the firm's return and volatility change with changes in the capital structure. Islamic compliant stocks show, in most cases, less volatility than non-compliant stocks but are no different in terms of return. Finally, our results tend to imply a case for limiting debt beyond certain levels.