Rafiza Ghazali, who has announced her departure from Malaysian tech start-up funding agency Cradle Fund as its group CEO, has confirmed with IFN her next venture: leading one of the first Islamic digital banks in the country as the CEO designate.
“I’m looking forward to this venture and making a great impact to promote financial inclusivity to the underserved community,” Rafiza told IFN, the sister publication of IFN Fintech.
The new Islamic neobank, which is one of only two Shariah digital banking entities that have recently received a license from the Malaysian central bank, will be established by a consortium led by KAF Investment Bank.
While the Islamic digibank will be undergoing a period of preparation and approvals from the authorities before it can commence operations (which could take one to two years), IFN has learned that KAF Investment Bank is already in the process of working out the details surrounding its launch.
Rafiza will be bringing some strong capabilities into the new position at the helm of an Islamic digital bank: she has played an instrumental role in expanding the mandate of Cradle Fund, from providing grants for early-stage tech start-ups to leading as a start-up ecosystem builder. During Rafiza’s time at the company, Cradle Fund was designated as the focal point and coordinating agency for the Malaysian Start-up Ecosystem Roadmap 2021–2030.
Thariq Usman Ahmad, the deputy CEO of KAF Investment Bank, shared: “We are pleased to have Rafiza to head our digital banking leadership team given her wealth of experience in both the private and public sectors. Her extensive foundation in banking as well as her involvement in innovation, particularly with the Malaysian fintech community, will be a huge asset in the building of KAF’s digital banking partnership platform.”
Rafiza’s departure from Cradle Fund is effective from the 31st May 2022, with Norman Matthieu Vanhaecke, the senior vice-president of corporate services of Cradle Fund, stepping in as acting group CEO in the interim.