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Ramadan Karim

End of Ramandan I participate and fundraise at UNICEF Cycling for Children.

Please donate online: https://www.unicef.ch/en/cycling-for-children/action/michael-gassner (1 CHF almost equal to 1 USD)

If you plan to do a large donation, I would be glad to connect you with the responsible person at UNICEF to learn more about their work and help your decision!

Muslims demand Islamic banking

The Muslim community of Uganda asked the Government to speed up the process of providing regulations for Islamic banking. According to Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, the laws for Islamic banking have been passed but Bank of Uganda is reluctant to draft the regulations as well as issuing licenses for Islamic banking. Financial experts have often criticised Islamic banking for higher creating costs and bigger risks, a situation that has not been remedied over the years. The lack of unique frameworks by the Government to regulate Islamic banking is the other challenge, leaving the Islamic banks to be regulated as other conventional banks.

#Uzbekistan set to develop Islamic banking system

Uzbekistan is joining the rising number of Central Asian nations to develop a Shariah-compliant banking system given its large Muslim population. This month, the Uzbek government issued a draft resolution to create infrastructure for Islamic banking and finance in the country. The aim is to create alternative financing opportunities in the former Soviet republic and open the doors for Islamic investors from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. To that end, the central bank has been tasked with developing a legal and regulatory framework not just for Islamic banking, but also for Takaful and securities trading, as well as financing for small and medium enterprises and Halal microfinance. The framework will include the launch of the Islamic Development Bank of Uzbekistan (IDBU), which will provide standard retail banking services, trade financing, property and commercial real estate financing, as well as leasing, Takaful and securities services.

Muslims in #India develop mutual health #insurance scheme as alternative to #takaful

A not-for-profit health assurance scheme, called Uplift Mutuals Biradaree, started in April this year in India. The scheme works on the model of mutual assurance, with certain features maintaining the values of Shariah-compliant finance. The health assurance scheme will work on the existing platform of Uplift Mutuals, a fifteen-year-old community-owned mutual health assurance model developed by Uplift India Association. Uplift Mutuals Biradaree is designed to be affordable and is open to all financially vulnerable families. A single member pays 700 Indian rupees ($10) per annum and a family of four 1,400 rupees per year. The annual contribution has been kept low because part of the capital and operating expenditures are currently met by external funding from the global industry body the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF).

Fitch issues rating for KFH #Sukuk

Fitch Ratings has assigned Kuwait Finance House’s sukuk programme an expected A+ and F1 rating. KFH Sukuk, the issuer and trustee, is a special purpose vehicle (SPV), incorporated in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), solely to issue certificates (sukuk) under the programme. The trustee has been incorporated solely for the purpose of participating in the transactions contemplated by the transaction documents.

Men More Likely to Replace Charitable Giving With Impact Investing

While both men and women embrace impact investing, a recent report found that men are more likely to replace charitable giving with impact investments. The report comes from the Women's Philanthropy Institute and is entitled How Women and Men Approach Impact Investing. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the study also found that while 82.5% of men and 81.3% of women were aware of the nascent field of impact investing, women were more interested in learning about it. Also, women are more likely to make impact investments in addition to their current charitable giving, as opposed to replacing it. According to the report, impact investors tend to be younger, more educated, and have higher incomes, while married women are more likely to participate in impact investing than married men.

#UK Mosque Opens #Crypto #Donations in National First 'Bitcoin Ramadan'

A UK mosque has broken with opinion and opted to accept cryptocurrency donations for this year’s Ramadan period. The Shacklewell Lane Mosque in East London partnered with local Blockchain startup Combo Innovation to set up a Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet for the Ramadan practice of Zakat. The UK’s only Turkish-owned mosque is going against the rulings of various Islamic scholars and the Turkish government, who previously determined cryptocurrency to be "incompatible" with Islam. The mosque hopes to raise around £10,000 ($13,300) for repairs to the building. So far, its Bitcoin address has received funds worth around $2000.

Responding to demand, Islamic #microfinance start-up starts accepting cryptocurrencies for zakat

Islamic microfinance start-up Blossom Finance has started accepting zakat payments in cryptocurrencies for zakat-eligible cryptocurrency assets in response to user demand. Blossom Finance has designated a wallet for zakat payments at a cryptocurrency exchange in Indonesia. Blossom will channel the zakat to the Indonesian financial cooperative Baitul Maal Wat Tamwil (BMT) that will distribute the funds to any of the 87 microfinance institutions that the start-up has agreed to partner with. The crypto zakat payment on crypto assets is completed once deposited in the Blossom-designated wallet. CEO Matthew Joseph Martin said Blossom Finance would not take a fee for providing the zakat payment facility. The company’s aim is to provide a working model for zakat collection and management organizations.

Dana Gas CEO talks about Sukuk Litigation to protect assets on Bloomberg TV

Dana Gas CEO Patrick Allman-Ward discusses the company's Sukuk litigation and performance. Click on th source.

Islamic finance feels heat from $700mn Dana saga

Global standards are likely to become more explicit and a shift to centralised regulation may accelerate after Dana Gas reached a conditional deal with creditors on its contested $700mn sukuk issue. Dana shook the industry last June, saying it would not redeem its sukuk on maturity. It proposed swapping them for new sukuk with lower profit rates. The original sukuk used a mudaraba structure, which Dana said had fallen into disuse. Investors have been worried by the prospect of other issuers avoiding redeeming their sukuk by saying conditions have changed. According to Akram Laldin, deputy chairman of the Malaysian central bank, the Dana saga had strengthened the case for setting up centralised bodies that could approve Islamic contracts and rule on disputes. The Dana case appears to mean the end of the old mudaraba sukuk structure, criticised as un-Islamic by some scholars due to features such as guarantees on principal and fixed returns.

New Islamic banking service to be launched in Germany

AlBaraka Türk launches basic online Islamic account services in Germany utilizing solarisBank as service provider and license holder.

Ali Allawala appointed CEO of #Malaysia’s Standard Chartered Bank Islamic unit

Pakistani banker Ali Allawala has been appointed as the chief executive officer of the Islamic Unit of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia. Ali Allawala possesses over 22 years of experience in retail banking, both within conventional and Islamic banking. He joined Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan in 2012 and had previously worked for Citibank and Samba Financial Group. He was named "Best Islamic Consumer Banker in Pakistan 2015" by the Islamic Finance Awards. Mr. Allawala has extensive multi-product experience in business development, product management, distribution, digital banking and marketing.

Deloitte launches new Islamic finance insights series

Deloitte’s Islamic Finance Knowledge Center (IFKC) in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI), UK published its latest whitepaper entitled "Scalable and sustainable source of funding social infrastructure". The success of infrastructure projects in using Islamic finance has inspired investors in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Malaysia to seek pursuing sustainable funding through Islamic finance. According to Dr. Hatim El Tahir, Director of Islamic finance at Deloitte, this whitepaper developed practical analysis and forward thinking thoughts as how Islamic finance can play its natural role in this pivotal sector of economy. The analysis suggests there should be continued industry dialogue between practitioners, policy makers, regulators and market participants, to articulate and assess suitable investment and funding structures.

First Islamic trade finance #workshop in #Uzbekistan

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the Ministry for Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have come together for the first trade finance workshop titled "Trade Finance as a Key Factor in Trade Promotion". ITFC's chief operating officer Nazeem Noordali said that ITFC and the government of Uzbekistan signed a $100 million framework agreement to finance pre-export and import activities in the country. He added that ITFC was working closely with its partners to promote Islamic trade finance among the Uzbek banks and non-banking financial institutions.

UK taxation needs to accommodate Shariah compliant #real estate refinancing

For well over a decade, the UK has been amending its tax laws for Islamic finance. The goal is to ensure that Islamic finance transactions are not taxed more heavily, or more lightly, than their conventional finance equivalents. In a diminishing musharaka transaction a property is being sold twice, once by the individual to the bank and then by the bank back to the individual. Countries that charge tax on transfers of real estate will typically do so for both sales. Furthermore, the individual has sold for $750,000 a property that cost him $100,000, so if the country taxes gains arising on the sale of property, the individual can expect to be taxed on the $650,000 gain. In the United Kingdom, the real estate transfer tax charges were eliminated. However, the capital gains tax charge triggered by the sale remains in the case of sales to Islamic banks. The UK’s Chartered Institute of Taxation has now proposed that the gain on the Islamic financing transaction described above should not be taxed.

Save the Date – Financial Inclusion Week 2018

The fourth annual Financial Inclusion Week will take place between October 29 and November 2, 2018. This year’s theme is Getting Inclusion Right. In 2018, the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion is celebrating its 10th anniversary and using this moment as an opportunity to celebrate progress and look to the future. The 2017 Global Findex revealed that an additional 515 million people have opened a bank account since 2014, however key metrics for usage and savings have declined. Recently the Gallup Global Financial Health Study has revealed that at the country level greater account ownership does not correlate with greater financial security and control. During Financial Inclusion Week 2018, partner organizations around the globe will hold conversations focused on what the industry must do to ensure that access to financial services brings real value to customers' lives.

#Kuwait's Noor Financial to divest stake in #Pakistan's largest Islamic bank

Noor Financial Investment Company will divest a portion of its 49% stake in Pakistan's Meezan Bank. The company is in preliminary discussions with foreign institutional investors for a proposed divestment of 9.59% of the total issued and paid up capital of Meezan. Noor has been mulling a sale since at least 2013. Meezan Bank is Pakistan’s fastest growing bank, it posted a profit in each year of operation and its net profits grew 13.5% in 2017 to $93 million. Noor’s stake in the bank was valued at $375 million in 2017.

First Islamic #crowdfunding platform for affordable homes to increase impact with backing of Expo 2020 Dubai

The world’s first Islamic real estate crowdfunding platform Ethis Crowd will showcase the solution at Expo 2020 Dubai. Ethis Crowd enables individuals to collectively fund and invest in new residential developments for low-income households in Indonesia and Malaysia. Created in 2014 and headquartered in Singapore, Ethis Crowd enables public investors to collectively gather funds to develop affordable housing projects. Typically completed in one to two years, the homes are then sold to ethical partner banks, who resell them to end-users. More than 20,000 investors and donors from 52 countries are registered on the platform. About 60% of the investment comes from Singapore, while an increasing number of investors originate from the Middle East.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Blossom Finance Launches Shariah-compliant #Microfinance #Fund to Invest in BMT Microfinance Institutions in #Indonesia via PBMT Ventura

US-based Blossom Finance recently launched a fund that will lend local-currency on the Indonesian island of Java via Permodalan BMT (PBMT) Ventura. Baitul Maal wat Tamwil (BMTs) are financial institutions that follow Shariah law. They provide savings and loan services primarily to people who do not use traditional banks. The new fund is Blossom’s first microfinance fund that is open to investment from the public. The minimum investment is USD 1,000, although US-based investors must be accredited before participation. Blossom is accepting investments into the fund in US dollars as well as the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum. In testing its platform since 2015, Blossom has generally returned investors annualized profits around 7% with terms of 6 to 12 months.

#Sukuk issuance: QIIB weighs market mood

Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) is waiting for the right time to issue its $500m sukuk in the international market. QIIB CEO Abdulbasit Ahmed Al Shaibei said that QIIB is currently weighing market conditions before the issuance of the 5-year sukuk. QIIB is not in a hurry to hit the market, as it does not face any kind of liquidity issues. The lead arrangers of the QIIB issuance will be QNB, Standard Chartered and some Malaysian Banks. The tenor would be 5 years. QIIB issued its first sukuk in 2012 for $700 and it matured in October 2017. The bank’s $2bn Trust Certificate Issuance programme has already been approved by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA) and is being admitted to the official list of the FCA and the London Stock Exchange. The Programme has been assigned a provisional rating of A2 by Moody’s Investors Service Cyprus.

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