Credit intermediation and stock markets have hugely expanded over the past half-century. Since the 1960s, credit by banks and other financial institutions to households and businesses has grown three times as fast as economic activity. Stock markets have expanded, too, but starting from a lower base and at a much slower pace, so that today their value equals 65% of GDP, a little more than half that of financial sector credit.
Improving the structure and composition of finance is as important as avoiding credit booms for the health of our economies. Facilitating stock market funding through ***lowering the costs of equity floatation and making taxation more neutral between debt and equity, is linked with higher GDP growth (Figure 1). Hence, encouraging changes in the mode of finance, away from debt and towards equity,*** would be particularly powerful in raising economic activity. [page 2 link below]
As salamu alaikum,
The best wishes for you and your families for the month of Ramadan. May your fast and prayers be accepted inshallah.
Michael Saleh Gassner
The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) is pleased to announce the launch of the Malaysia Islamic Finance Report 2015, which is the latest in the Islamic Finance Country Reports (IFCR) series. You can download your copy of the Malaysia Islamic Finance Report 2015 here: http://www.irti.org/English/News/Documents/406.pdf You may also find the introductory video in YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuJd-hTTnCE
A group of Indonesian Islamic banks launched on Thursday a standard contract template for sharia-compliant repurchase agreements, aiming to broaden the liquidity management tools available in the sector. The standard will serve as an alternative to interest-based repurchase agreements. Currently Islamic banks in Indonesia rely on tools provided by the central bank, such as an Islamic overnight deposit facility known as FASBIS, while the new agreement would standardise bank-to-bank transactions and help ensure they are cost-effective. An initial group of 18 Islamic banks and Islamic banking units are signatories to the master agreement, which allows use of government-issued Islamic bonds as collateral while tenors can be of no more than one year.
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal announced Wednesday his plan to give away his entire fortune in the coming years. Educated in California, Alwaleed is thought to be the 20th-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg, with a fortune of $30.5 billion. He has pledged to give away even more than that, $32 billion, though no time frame was set. Alwaleed’s charity group, Alwaleed Philanthropies, has worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carter Center, founded by Jimmy Carter. Alwaleed cites among his causes: health promotion, electricity to remote villages, building orphanages and schools, disaster relief and empowering women. Some have suggested that his emphasis on charity and women’s rights is a tactic to endear his ventures to Westerners. However, few deny his generosity.
Alinma Tokio Marine Company submitted a request to the CMA to approve its capital increase by way of rights issue valued at SAR 250,000,000. The capital increase will be approved in the Company's extraordinary general assembly meeting, which will be determined by the Company’s board of directors at a later date and should be held within six months from the approval date. CMA's Board of Commissioners has issued its resolution approving Alinma Tokio Marine Company’s capital increase request, which is to be conducted in accordance with the tradable rights framework. The rights issue prospectus will be posted and made available to the public at a later time. Investors should carefully read the prospectus, which includes detailed information on the company, the offering and risk factors.
During the World Economic Forum (WEF) in South Africa in June, business and political leaders from multiple African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa among others, have emphasized the need for collaboration between regulators in order to promote financial inclusion globally. Nigeria’s minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala stressed the need for cooperation between banking and telecommunication regulators to contribute to further financial inclusion through the use of mobile banking. One of the stated goals of those advocating for financial inclusion is for individuals to keep their money within the formal financial system instead of holding it in cash.
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi aims to slash a subsidy bill, mostly for food and energy, that ballooned to about 8 percent of economic output last fiscal year. Instead, money will be directed to those who need it most – eventually, about 18 million Egyptians, the poorest 20 percent of the population. After years of political turmoil the government is eager to make sure they’re spared the impact of spending cuts. Yet it’s also under pressure from investors to trim one of the region’s biggest budget deficits. Targeted handouts are a way of achieving both goals. The program called Takaful or Solidarity gives cash to families on condition that their children attend school and undergo regular medical checkups. Another plan, Karama or Dignity, covers the elderly and the disabled.
Qatar International Islamic Bank and QNB Capital signed an agreement in April with China-based Southwest Securities to develop Shariah-compliant finance products in the country. Seven months after Hong Kong sold its debut sukuk, China is exploring Islamic finance for projects from hospitals to metro stations, according to London-based Dome Advisory, which is working with a government-owned fund in Shanghai to finance five projects. Ningxia, an autonomous region in northwest China where a third of the 6.5 million population are Muslim, plans a $1.5 billion sukuk sale. However, country will need to make more regulatory changes to promote Islamic finance.
The Omani central bank has established an independent department to handle Islamic banking. The new department will handle all Islamic banking matters, though the existing examination and surveillance departments will continue their supervision of banks. The creation of a separate Islamic banking department appears to clear the way for two steps seen as critical to the long-term development of the industry: issuance of sovereign Islamic bonds, and the introduction of sharia-compliant money market tools. The government has said it plans to sell its first sukuk, an issue of OMR 200m ($520m), in coming months, while a central bank task force has been studying Islamic money market operations.
IFAAS (Islamic Finance Advisory & Assurance Services) has launched 'Oxygen', its CSR programme that aims at improving the environment through Islamic finance. The programme, complementing IFAAS's general CSR policies, features 2 major components: planting new trees on annual basis, dedicated individually to IFAAS clients; and creating new woodland for each project that IFAAS completes. The programme is aimed at replacing the wood consumed by IFAAS in form of paper and locking up some of the carbon created while serving its clients worldwide. To this end, IFAAS is supporting the Woodland Trust who will be planting the trees at various native woodland sites across the UK. The Woodland Trust will provide IFAAS with a certificate each year to confirm the amount of woodland created, and how much CO2 has been locked up.
With more than 30 per cent of young Arabs unemployed, social entrepreneurship must be considered to reduce welfare costs in the region by empowering community members to solve social, economic and political issues that affect them. At a time where the MENA is seeing the drastic effects of political and economic instability, it has never been more pressing for people of the region to be encouraged to look towards new beginnings and the reconstruction of society. Despite coming from different backgrounds, social entrepreneurs all have stories that have influenced them to make transformative social changes that they hope will one day have a global impact.
Egyptian Takaful Insurance Company (Non-life) aims to achieve premiums worth EGP 10 million (US$ 1.3million) in FY 2015-16, Managing Director Ahmed Arfeen revealed. The company expects to attain premiums volume of EGP 350 million at the end of June 2015, Arfeeen said. The initial indicators showed that the company has achieved 95% of its plan for current FY 2014-15. On other side, Egyptian Takaful Company is negotiating with a number of banks to sign bankassurance agreement in 2016, Arfeen said, noting that banks had not signed any agreements with non-life insurance companies till now. It is worth mentioning that 66% of the shareholding structure of Egyptian Takaful Company (Non-life) is divided equally among seven financial institutions.
This year is shaping up to be a disappointing one for Islamic bond sales in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Sukuk issuance in the region has slumped by more than half in the year through 28 June. It’s a setback for the Shariah-compliant industry, where GCC sales accounted for 31 per cent of all global Islamic bonds in 2014. Islamic bond issuance from the GCC has plunged 53 per cent. Meanwhile, about 22 per cent more has been raised with Shariah- compliant loans from the GCC than in the same period a year ago. The worst-performing Islamic bond from a GCC borrower was a ringgit-denominated sukuk due 2022 from Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, known as Taqa, which has lost 8.2 per cent this year. Nevertheless, Islamic bonds returned an average 1.8 per cent, compared with 0.8 per cent for conventional bonds.
The Republic of Kazakhstan’s modifications and additions into some acts of the insurance and Islamic financing law came into force on May 9, 2015. The purpose of the law is to introduce a system of obligatory insurance for employees and to create favorable conditions for the appropriate functioning of Islamic banks. The main directions of the law are: legal support of Islamic insurance issues; improvement of legislation on issues regarding the functioning of Islamic banks; ensuring stable functioning of the organisation, which guarantees insurance payments; and solving problems regarding employees obligatory insurance when accidents occur.
Without any doubt the introduction of Islamic Banking will be a challenge to Malta. There can be no doubt that the Government looked at the matter from a purely commercial point of view without paying any attention to certain core values. But the attacks by ISIS are bringing the issue of core values to the fore again. Currently Malta is seen as one of the top countries in the fight against money laundering and terrorism funding. With the introduction of Islamic Banking, the biggest preoccupation would be whether such a position would be negatively affected. Another concern is on the role of the Regulator. Despite a long Budget Speech, such an essential issue was not tackled by the Minister of Finance and MFSA is far from being prepared for such a proposal.
Banks in Oman believe that ease of access to financing and a wider range of options have enhanced the experience of customers but also hold the opinion that excessive consumerism should be avoided through educating the society. Yousuf Al Rawahi, deputy general manager - head of branches, retail and private banking at Ahlibank, says that with the ease of available credit, any society will have consumerism, which has to be managed accordingly. However, he says more efforts are required to promote the culture of saving in Oman. Asad Batla, head of consumer banking at Bank Nizwa, believes that the rate of consumption in Oman has witnessed ‘exponential’ growth. He added that Bank Nizwa encourages its customers to have discipline in their financial decisions, while constantly focusing on helping them lead financially-secure lifestyles.
Guidance Financial Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia-based Capital Guidance, wants to link the vast Islamic investment opportunities between the Middle East and Asia, Dr Hasnita Hashim, chief executive officer of Guidance Investments, said. If appropriately linked these two regions can deliver strong value for investors while making innovative investment opportunities and ethical funding bases on Sharia principles available across both the regions, she said. In the GCC and wider Middle East region, the company has plans to replicate the success of its US residential mortgage business targeted at primary mortgage customers and institutional investors seeking secondary market asset pools. The company is already involved in providing primary mortgages through Dar Al Tamleek in Saudi Arabia.
Dubai-headquartered offshore supply vessel company Stanford Marine Group (SMG) has secured a AED 1.2 billion ($326.7 million) Islamic syndicated structured finance facility arranged by Noor Bank. The transaction is one of the first fully Islamic-backed finance deals in the oilfield services sector. Other participating banks in the deal were: Barwa Bank, First Gulf Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank which acted as mandated lead arrangers, while Ajman Bank and United Arab Bank joined the deal as Lead Arrangers. Noor Bank PJSC also acted as Investment and Security Agent for the deal. The facility will be used to consolidate Stanford Marine Group’s existing conventional and Islamic facilities into a single tranche facility.
Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Madani came for the visit with the head of Russian Central bank Elvira Nabiullina, being accompanied by the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov. The trip has been organized within the framework of the visit of the Islamic Development bank (IDB) head to the VII International Economic summit of Russia and OIC countries – KazanSummit 2015. During the meeting, Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Madani told about the history of the IDB and the principles of its operation. He noted that today Islamic banking is represented even in countries, where there is no Islam, for instance, in China.