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IILM to sell RM5.5bil worth of Islamic notes

International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM) plans to sell US$1.34bil (RM5.54bil) of three-month bills, its biggest offering since being set up in 2010 to support syariah-compliant financial activity. The Kuala Lumpur-based institution would auction the Islamic notes on Feb 18, it said in a statement. IILM has a short-term issuer rating of A-1 from Standard & Poor’s, and has sold a total US$14bil of debt denominated in the US currency. While IILM has increased issuance of short-term paper each year since its debut offering in 2013, the supply is far short of the US$400bil that Ernst & Young LLP estimates is needed to help Islamic banks manage their liquidity.

UBL launches Al-Ameen Islamic active allocation plan

UBL Fund Managers Limited (UBL Funds) announced the launch of the Al-Ameen Islamic Active Allocation Plan–IV, under the Al-Ameen Islamic Financial Planning Fund. This Plan is now open for subscription. The plan actively allocates investments between Islamic equity and Islamic income/money market classes with an aim to achieve potentially high returns. It has a term of two years and is ideal for investors who wish to benefit from the equity market and desire active management of their investment portfolios. Mir Muhammad Ali, Chief Executive UBL Funds, said that the Al-Ameen Islamic Active Allocation Plan series has been well received by investors with initial investments of Al-Ameen Islamic Active Allocation Plans I, II and III totaling more than Rs. 6.3bn.

In Kyrgyz Republic, Smaller Businesses Seek Islamic Finance: IFC Study

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has released a study that finds overwhelming demand for Islamic finance among smaller business in the Kyrgyz Republic. The report revealed that 80 percent of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are interested in Shariah-compliant financing, a market that could be worth up to $456 million for lenders. Despite that potential, the study "Islamic Banking and Finance: Opportunities across MSMEs in the Kyrgyz Republic" found that Islamic finance was not widely available because of a lack of awareness and the high cost of structuring transactions. Yet Kyrgyz officials are working to overcome these challenges.

Malaysia retains status as global sukuk hub: RAM

Malaysia retained its leading position as a sukuk hub in 2015, accounting for 53% of global issuance at the end of the year, RAM Ratings head of Islamic finance Ruslena Ramli said. Although the performance pales in comparison to the country's 69% of share of global sukuk as at end-2014, the ringgit remained the currency of choice accounting for 39% of sukuk issuance followed by the US dollar (32%) and the Indonesian rupiah (9%). However, RAM Ratings noted that Malaysia's share of outstanding global sukuk had declined to 52% in 2015 from 55% in 2014 due to the weaker ringgit. On the overall global sukuk market, RAM Ratings noticed an increase in sukuk issuance from new markets, as Oman and the Ivory Coast have joined the growing list of sovereign sukuk issuers.

International Shari'ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) to Support the Responsible Finance Summit

The Responsible Finance Summit has announced the support of the International Shari'ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) for the Summit. The Summit, which will be hosted by Bank Negara Malaysia, will include the participation of ISRA's Executive Director Prof. Dr. Mohamad Akram Laldin, who will join a panel session on the popular perceptions about responsible finance and how Islamic finance can contribute to expanding its appeal to a wider audience. The Summit, organized by RFI Foundation and co-organized by Middle East Global Advisors, also represents a setting for ISRA to highlight its work in applied Shari'ah research on Islamic finance, particularly on ethical dimensions of Islamic finance.

IMF: A Minimum Level of Security Must Be Adopted in Syria in Order to Assess the Economic Needs

The Deputy Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department (MCD) at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Adnan Mazarei said that it is necessary to establish a minimum level of security in Syria before the IMF and international institutions can evaluate its economic needs. In an interview, Mazarei said that the Fund estimates the urgent humanitarian needs and costs, the costs of reconstruction and contributes to the reconstruction of the institutions that were destroyed. He also said that the removal of sanctions on Iran will have a positive effect by allowing the country to produce and export more oil, it has also regained access to its international reserves which will also allow greater investment, and all of these things will encourage growth.

The Nottingham's finance director wins top accolade at British Muslim Awards

Ashraf Piranie, deputy chief executive and finance director at The Nottingham, has received an accolade for his contribution to finance and banking at the British Muslim Awards. Mr Piranie joined the board of The Nottingham in 2007 and was previously the finance director and joint managing director at the Islamic Bank of Britain and director of finance at Alliance & Leicester Plc. One of his most notable achievements was the proactive part he played in introducing Islamic finance legislation to the UK's Finance Acts. He continues to play an important role on UK banking regulation and since 2013 has been a member of the PRA's Practitioner Panel representing the building society sector.

Bank Muamalat listing? IPO a challenge due to volatile market

A potential listing of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd could be an option should its major shareholder DRB-Hicom Bhd fail to find a suitable suitor to buy up a stake in the bank. The requirement to pare down DRB-Hicom’s stake in Bank Mualamat is to comply with Bank Negara’s requirements from current 70% to 40%, which has been delayed for a few years. Last week, the proposed merger between Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) and Bank Muamalat was called off as the parties involved were not been able to reach an agreement on the terms and conditions. Disagreement over valuations and control were believed to be factors that led to the breakdown of negotiations that began last October.

La CENF de l'Université Paris 1 en partenariat avec LabEx RéFi organisent une table ronde sur "La religion dans la finance : risques, marketing et réalités" le 10 février 2016 à 18h à Paris.

La chaire éthique et normes et de la finance (CENF) de l'Université Paris 1 en partenariat avec le laboratoire d'excellence sur la régulation financière (LabEx RéFi) organisent une table ronde sur "La religion dans la finance : risques, marketing et réalités" le 10 février 2016 à 18h. Cet évènement aura lieu dans la salle 1 du Centre Panthéon (12 place du Panthéon) et accueillera Frédéric Baule (consultant indépendant), Nicolas Hardy (Analyste financier, Standard & Poor´s Ratings Services) ainsi que Edouard Fernandez-Bollo (autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution) et sera modérée par Pierre-Charles Pradier (Paris 1).

Omantel says scraps plans to issue $130 mln dual-currency sukuk

Oman Telecommunications Co (Omantel) has scrapped plans to issue a $130 million five-year dual-currency sukuk, the former monopoly said. Last month, the state-run company priced the sukuk at a profit rate of 5.3 percent, having received commitments worth $82.16 million in the dollar tranche and 18.4 million rials ($47.86 million) in the rial tranche. But Omantel has shelved plans to issue the sukuk at the present time, it said in a statement to Muscat's bourse. The company said it took this decision following discussions with its advisers, but did not elaborate.

Saudi's Bank Albilad plans 1-2 billion riyal sukuk issue in Q2 -CNBC

Saudi Arabia's Bank Albilad plans to issue 1 to 2 billion riyals ($267-533 million) of sukuk by the end of the second quarter of 2016 to finance expansion, chief executive Khaled al-Jasser said. The bank plans to open 25 new branches and hire more employees, which Jasser said would likely increase costs this year by 15 to 17 percent. The bank will also move toward a strategy of owning rather than renting its branches, he said. Given weak market conditions, Jasser said the bank would prefer not to distribute dividends at the moment.

Royal Jordanian closes an oversubscribed US$ 275 million loan facility

The Royal Jordanian Airlines announced the successful closure of its US$ 275,000,000 dual conventional and Islamic secured syndicated facility. The syndicate comprised of seven banks based in Jordan, UAE and Qatar; they are Mashreq, Arab Bank plc, Al Khalij Commercial Bank (Al Khaliji) Q.S.C, Dubai Islamic Bank, and The Commercial Bank/Qatar acting as Mandated Lead Arrangers, Arab Jordan Investment Bank as Lead Arranger and Bank al-Etihad as Arranger. Mashreq Bank acted as the sole book-runner for the loan. The facility carries a tenor of 5 years and the proceeds of the facility will be primarily utilized to consolidate and refinance RJ's existing debt and further support the company's on-going strategic growth and turnaround plans on the short- and medium-run.

KFH-Turkey issues capital boosting $350m sukuk

Kuwait Finance House Turkey (KFH-Turkey) issued Tier 2 capital-boosting sukuk worth $350 million to support its capital situation. The bank has set the yield at 7.9 percent for 10-year tenure. The sukuk will be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange for trading. The credit rating agency "Fitch" assigned an expected rating of BBB- to this tier 2 Basel III-complaint issue. The bank targets boosting its capital adequacy ratio so it can grow and enhance its presence in the international markets, said CEO- KFH -Capital Abdulaziz Nasser Al-Marzouq. KFH -Turkey mandated international banks and financial institutions led by KFH -Capital as a global coordinator, manager and syndicator, in addition to other lead managers and syndicators which are HSBC, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), Nour Bank, QInvest Investment Bank, Emirates NBD, and KAMCO Investment Company.

Alkhabeer Capital unveils IPO Fund

Alkhabeer Capital, an asset management and investment firm in Saudi Arabia, has announced the launch of Alkhabeer IPO Fund. The Alkhabeer IPO Fund is a Sharia Compliant, Open-Ended Investment Fund targeting IPOs and newly listed companies in Saudi Arabia during their first three years on the market. The fund may also invests part of its assets in the same at other GCC capital markets. Ahmed Saud Ghouth, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Alkhabeer Capital, commented that year-on-year the firm has reported increases in assets under management and has assessed the IPO performance of securities in the GCC, which have seen improvements in the money raised over 2015.

The World Bank to Asharq Al-Awsat: Aid to Syrian Refugees Will be Monitored Every 6 Months

The Vice President of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa Hafez Ghanem confirmed that the World Bank aims to give $20 billion to the Middle East to help ease the Syrian crisis within the next five years. The figure is three times what the World Bank has spent up until now, and Ghanem added that his institution has given $4.9 billion to the Middle East and North Africa since July last year and most of this went to Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and, to a lesser extent, Lebanon. The increase had already started before the Syria crisis, when $1.6 billion was given to the region every 12 months. With regards to the monitoring of loans, Ghanem said that the World Bank helps the government design a project and provides technical assistance. Then a team of experts supervises it every six months.

Warba Bank registers KD mln profits '15

Warba Bank said Tuesday it registered a million Kuwaiti Dinars (KD) (USD 3.3 million), or one fils per share, in profits for the Fiscal Year (FY) ending last December. The bank's 2014 profits were KD 115,000 (USD 383,526). Warba Bank said in a statement on Kuwait Stock Exchange's (KSE) website that its board members did not recommend distribution of profits for shareholders for FY 2015. Total shareholders' equity for last year was around KD 92.2 million against KD 91.8 million the year before. Warba Bank was established in 2010 with a KD 100 million capital, and was listed in KSE in 2013.

How Malaysian women are making waves in Islamic finance

Despite the emphasis on ethics, and the growth of the industry at a time when women are increasingly making their mark on the corporate world, the Islamic finance sector is incredibly male-dominated. In the Gulf region, where much of the sector is concentrated, there are no female Islamic scholars acting as advisors to financial institutions, a key position in the sector. While there are a few prominent women sitting on company boards and working as CEOs in Bahrain and Kuwait, they are notable exceptions. Clearly, this is in large part a result of cultural factors. But even in the UK, progress has been slow. However, there is one country where women are seizing plenty of top leadership roles: Malaysia.

US$9.5 trillion of Muslims Wealth Remain Outside the Global Islamic Financial Industry

Only a fraction of US$11.5 trillion worth of wealth owned by Muslim individuals, institutions and government is managed by Islamic banks and financial institutions. About US$9.5 trillion remain outside the global Islamic financial services industry that has US$2 trillion asset under management, said Professor Humayon Dar, Chairman of Edbiz Corporation at the 2nd Annual International Forum on Islamic Finance in Khartoum, Sudan. Professor Humayon Dar pointed out that the missing dollars are managed by Western financial institutions. Consequently Islamic banks and financial institutions are losing potential revenue of US$180 billion on an annual basis.

The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group Announces its Sustainable Business Leadership Forum 2016

The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) announces the upcoming Sustainable Business Leadership Forum. The Forum fosters sustainable development, innovation, and responsible business growth. The Forum offers a platform for sustainability practitioners from every sector to share their sustainability practices. The Forum will also provide opportunities to learn from regional sustainability leaders and be exposed to some of the latest sustainability approaches from global thought-leaders. The Abu Dhabi Sustainable Business Leadership Forum will take place from: 17-18 February 2016, in Abu Dhabi.

The rise and rise of Islamic finance law

Contrary to popular opinion, Sharia law is not taking over Britain. It is seen as a rule of law that contributes to the way Muslims live. Most importantly, the principles of Islamic finance encourage fairness. The presence of the likes of Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose Fulbright shows how far Islamic finance has come. The unwavering investment that has occurred over the Middle East, with offices springing up in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait is a testament to firms taking the Islamic practice seriously. Trainees can develop leadership skills by undertaking research and ascertaining what works for clients.

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