Independence and effectiveness of Shariah supervisory board of Islamic banks: evidence from an emerging economy

M.K. Alam, M.S. Miah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The main objective of the study is to ascertain the level of independence and the effectiveness of the Shariah Supervisory Board (SSB) members of Islamic banks in Bangladesh. This is because only SSB members are empowered to oversee and certify the overall business functions of Islamic banks.

This paper implements qualitative case research approach to explore the research objective in the context of Bangladesh. We applied purposeful and snowball sampling tactics for selecting respondents. By using a semi-structured questionnaire and face-to-face interviews, we collect data from SSB members, central bank executives and experts in Islamic banking and Shariah governance.

The study finds that majority Islamic banks' SSB's positions are similar to the Board of Directors (BOD) of the banks. Next, this study finds that in recruiting/selecting SSB members, some banks do not follow the guidelines of the central bank. This study finds mixed evidence regarding the independence of the members of the SSB. Most of the respondents opined that SSBs do not have power; in some cases, members of SSB are not independent and seeming powerless as BOD selects and recruits them. In contrast, they are dependent on management in respect of strategy implementation.

Research limitations/implications
The study significantly contributed to the national and global regulatory bodies by identifying an important governance determinant of Islamic banks that is the independence of SSB members, which is highly important for both Shariah functions, and to enhance the trust level of the stakeholders. This study makes a theoretical contribution by documenting the violation of stakeholder theory and agency theory in recruiting SSB members by BOD's choice. The lack of SSB members' independence has an impact on Shariah legitimacy of the Islamic banks which is contradictory with the notion of legitimacy theory. This study recommends the central bank to ensure the independence of the SSB and central bank should take initiatives to develop an environment for the Islamic banking sector.

This study extends the literature of corporate governance relating to Islamic banking and financial institutions. More specifically, this paper explores the necessity of independence of members of the monitoring body (here SSB), an important constituent of governance, to ensure high-quality governance and transparency in reporting to increase diverse stakeholders' trust/confidence. The absence of independence of SSB in performing their functions contradicts with the agency, stakeholder and legitimacy theory, which is inconsistent with global evidence, that demands further investigations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-191
Number of pages19
JournalAsian Review of Accounting
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • Independence of SSB
  • Islamic banks
  • Shariah governance
  • Shariah supervisory board

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance


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