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Editorial Note: UNICEF Cycling For Children

Dear Readers,

Currently we face several humanitarian crisis, the most afffected are the children. The large organisations need more funds. UNICEF organises the Cycling for Children challenge, which I will join.

Please support my effort and campaign by donating today online via:

https://www.unicef.ch/en/cycling-for-children/action/michael-gassner

My best wishes, and thanks on behalf of all the kids!

Michael Gassner

Is #disruption by #FinTech a social good?

Support Disruption for Good (SDG) #Challenge will showcase breakthrough models that also have material social impact

Zurich, Switzerland, February 22, 2017 – The RFI Foundation, in partnership with the Swiss Finance + Technology Association, Finocracy and the Responsible Finance & Investment (RFI) Summit partners, launched the Support Disruption for Good (SDG) Challenge to find the most promising ethical, responsible or Islamic FinTech innovation and connect them to the leading institutions in the responsible finance industry.

The SDG Challenge opens today and will remain open until March 17. All applicants will be judged against a transparent set of criteria by an independent judging panel drawn from across the responsible finance and FinTech industry. During the review process judges will evaluate the ability of each entrant to effectively scale, contribute to financial inclusion, contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals while being financially sustainable.

Call for Papers- Sharing Economy of Islam beyond Islamic Finance, SASE 2017, Lyon, France, 29 June-1st July 2017

UPDATE:
Abstract/Paper Submission
Please note that colleagues should send 1,000 words abstract by FEBRUARY 3, 2017, which should provide a short background, aims of the paper, the methodology and method used, and the findings (or expected findings).

***SASE HAS EXTENDED THE DEADLINE TO 17TH FEBRUARY 2017***

https://www.dur.ac.uk/dcief/events/

Acceptance notifications will be sent by March 1, 2017.

Paper submissions and session proposals must be made through our online submission system; for additional information on how to submit, please follow the link:
https://sase.org/events/conference-submission-and-award-guidelines

Sharing Economy of Islam beyond Islamic Finance:
Re-constructing Collaborative and Disruptive Economy from Islamic Moral Economy Perspective

SASE Conference on ‘What's Next? Disruptive/Collaborative Economy or Business as Usual?’
Universite Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, France
29th June – 1st July 2017
https://sase.org/event/2017-lyon/#mini

Call for Papers:

Islamic Development Bank plans to buy stake in Borsa Istanbul

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plans to take at least a 10% stake in Turkey's state-run stock exchange, Borsa Instanbul. Abdulhakim Elwaer, IDB's director of cooperation, said negotiations are expected to finalize in two to three months as part of wider efforts to develop Islamic finance in Turkey. Elwaer emphasized the bank's wish to help develop Turkey as a global Islamic financial center. IDB and Borsa Istanbul signed a cooperation agreement in November, with discussions currently ongoing to decide on a specific size and time frame. The bourse has a share capital of 423 million lira ($115.6 million), implying a value of 42.3 million lira for a 10% stake. Elwaer added that a gold trading platform is also in discussion, although the equity stake remains the bank's biggest priority.

Jadwa Investment launches Jadwa #REIT Al-Haramain Fund

#Saudi Jadwa Investment announced the conclusion of the public offering of its first Shariah-compliant Real Estate Investment Traded Fund, Jadwa REIT Al-Haramain Fund. The new fund will invest in real estate properties in Makkah and Madinah. The REIT, which has an initial size of SR660 million ($176 million), offered SR360 million worth of units to the general public. Over 5,800 individual and intuitional investors subscribed for SR4.53 billion during the offer period, resulting in a 1.257% coverage of the offered units. Haitham Al-Ghannam, head of alternative investments at Jadwa, said the initial portfolio of the REIT would comprise of two hospitality assets, a four-star hotel and a pilgrim accommodation. Both properties are located in Makkah with a combined capacity of 984 hotel rooms. At its initial offer price of SR10 per unit, the REIT offers net initial yield of 5.2%.

Industry body #AAOIFI plans #standards for Islamic endowments

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) will develop a package of standards covering Islamic endowments or awqaf. AAOIFI did not give a time frame for the completion of its awqaf standards, but said its board had discussed and approved specifications regarding the accounting standards. The plans are part of wider industry efforts to modernise awqaf, which receive donations to operate specific social projects, such as mosques, schools and welfare schemes. Most awqaf do not disclose full financial figures, although their underperformance is believed to be considerable. In India, awqaf are estimated to own 490,000 properties but their estimated annual income is just 1.63 billion rupees ($25.22 million.)

#Malaysia's Public Sector Home Financing Board issues RM3.25b #sukuk

Malaysia's Public Sector Home Financing Board issued up to RM3.25 billion sukuk to finance housing loans to the public sector employees. The board is also known as Lembaga Pembiayaan Perumahan Sektor Awam (LPPSA). The LPPSA said the RM3.25 billion sukuk notes formed a part of its RM25 billion Islamic commercial papers programme, which is guaranteed by the Malaysian Government. The sukuk was issued in tranches of five-year to 30-year and was priced at 4.17% to 5.225% per annum across tenures. Lead managers include Affin Hwang Investment Bank, AmInvestment Bank, Bank Islam Malaysia, CIMB Investment Bank, Maybank Investment Bank, OCBC Bank and RHB Investment Bank. CIMB is also the facility agent while RHB Islamic is the Shariah adviser.

Different approach pays off for Al Rayan Bank

Sultan Choudhury, CEO of Al Rayan Bank, talks about Islamic finance in Britain and its appeal to non-Muslims. He says, Islamic finance appeals to anyone who agrees with the underlying principles: equitable distribution for everyone, prudent spending and the well-being of the community as a whole. It also provides an ethical alternative to traditional banking. Al Rayan Bank is structured to ensure that it operates ethically on a day-to-day basis. The bank's home-purchase plans (HPP) are structured differently to conventional mortgages. HPPs are based on the Islamic finance principles of ijara and diminishing musharaka. Currently the bank estimates that more than a quarter of customers are non-Muslim and the customer base is expected to grow in the coming years.

Bosna Bank International's 2016 net profit rises

Bosna Bank International's net profit increased to 6.4 million marka ($3.5 million/3.3 million euro) last year from 5.6 million marka in 2015. Net interest income grew 22.5% year-on-year to 22.3 million marka in 2016, while net fee and commission income rose to 10.9 million marka from 9.6 million marka. The bank's total assets stood at 895.4 million marka at the end of 2016.

Islamic lender shows #UK appeal of Sharia finance

In Great Britain there are currently six Islamic banks, while another 20 lenders offer Islamic financial products and services. Al Rayan is Britain’s largest Sharia-compliant bank with 70,000 customers and 13 offices and branches. The bank underwent a major overhaul in 2014 when it was acquired by its Qatari parent, Masraf Al Rayan. Since that point, the brand was made more accessible, the imagery is no longer just Arabic, the bank uses British imagery as it is targeting all Brits. CEO Sultan Choudhury says about 25% of the bank’s customers are non-Muslim. Mr Choudhury also has his eyes fixed on the potential of the wider international market. In particular, he highlights the GCC national and expat market and HPPs (mortgages with an interest-free and Sharia-compliant structure). He says, Al Rayan's ambition is to be the number one bank for HPPs for GCC nationals and expats.

Albaraka Turk secures $213 million Islamic #loan

Turkish lender Albaraka Turk has secured a $213 million murabaha-based loan syndication, up from the $150 million it initially sought. The bank said the profit margin for the 370-day sharia-compliant facility was 125 basis points over three-month LIBOR. The lender had appointed ABC Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital Ltd, Qatar Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank to arrange the transaction. The bank is a unit of the Al Baraka Banking Group, which is also planing to issue dollar-denominated sukuk.

London Stock Exchange Welcomes Islamic Development Bank #Sukuk Bond – Largest Issuance By A Supranational In

London Stock Exchange welcomes the largest Sukuk issued by a supranational globally in 2017, raising $1.25bn. The isssuance is listed by the Saudi Arabia based Islamic Development Bank and is a five-year bond with a 2.393 % yield. This listing adds to the broad range of Islamic finance products available to investors on London Stock Exchange. According to Nikhil Rathi, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, the listing demonstrates London’s standing as the world’s most international financial centre and confirms the UK as the key destination for Shariah-compliant financial products. The CFO of Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Ahmet Tiktik, said choosing London as the location for the new $1.25bn Sukuk shows the bank's continuous support for London Stock Exchange.

#Algeria warily edges towards Islamic finance as energy income dives

Algeria is edging slowly towards Islamic banking services to suit more religiously conservative investors. Finance Minister Hadji Baba Ammi has already announced plans for the country's first local bond. Now six state-run banks plan to start Islamic financial services by the end of the year or in early 2018 and a national sharia board that would oversee Islamic banking is also planned by the end of 2017. Algeria's Islamic finance plan still faces huge barriers. It lacks a legal framework and technical expertise. Algeria is far behind North African neighbours Morocco and Tunisia, which have started to develop legislation for Islamic finance. The country is targetting domestic savers rather than foreign investors. Many local people distrust the state-owned banks and keep large sums at home in Algerian and foreign currency.

Bids for record-breaking #Saudi debut #sukuk cross $33bln

Saudi Arabia saw bids of $33 billion (Dh121.11 billion) for its record-breaking debut sukuk issue. The issue size of the sukuk could likely be $8 billion, spread across $4 billion each for the 5 year and 10 year tranche. The sukuk was priced at 100 basis points over mid-swaps for the 5-year tranche, and 145 basis points over mid-swaps for the longer dated issue. Anita Yadav, Senior Director of Global markets and treasury at Emirates NBD, said the yield on Saudi sukuk is likely to be attractive on relative value basis, which would appeal to the yield hungry international investor. Analysts expect larger institutions like Aramco or SABIC to take advantage and come the market. On an yearly basis, Emirates NBD expects $20 billion worth of issuance from Saudi Arabia including issues from the government, and state-run enterprises, banks and corporates.

#Kenya aims to become the next global center of Islamic finance

East Africa’s biggest economy is positioning itself to become a regional hub for Islamic banking. Kenyan finance minister Henry Rotich said on March 30 that the government would propose amendments to the financial laws and issue new regulations to facilitate a Sharia-compliant retirement scheme. It will also amend the public finance management act to provide for the issuance of sukuk. In the past, Kenyan regulators found it hard to issue new regulations, as the government was battling the jihadist fundamentalist group al-Shabaab. Regulatory agencies say Kenya is now ready to allow Islamic finance and banking to thrive. In fact, Kenya is already a regional leader in Islamic banking. The country has two fully-operating Islamic banks. There’s also one takaful Islamic insurance company, a sharia-compliant mutual fund and two cooperatives. In December, Kenya joined the Islamic Financial Services Board based in Malaysia.

#Saudi Arabia's order books at about $25 billion for debut dollar #sukuk - sources

The order books for Saudi Arabia's debut U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk have reached about $25 billion. The dual-tranche sukuk is set to be the largest ever Islamic bond, beating a $4 billion sukuk issued by Qatar in 2012. The two tranches have maturities of five and ten years. The initial price guidance put the senior unsecured Islamic bonds in the 115 bps over mid-swaps area for the five-year tranche and 155 bps over mid-swaps area for the 10-year tranche.

#Takaful industry reports double-digit growth in the #GCC

According to the Global Takaful Report 2017, the Takaful industry has grown in double digits across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in recent years. Between 2012 and 2015 the GCC markets grew by a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18%. While South East Asia reported a negative growth of 4% due to currency depreciation, Africa reported a CAGR of 19% during the same period. According to Safder Jaffer, Consulting Actuary at Milliman, Saudi Arabia is the largest Takaful market with a gross written contribution (GWC) of $9.7 billion (Dh35.62 billion) in 2015. The Saudi market is dominated by general insurance with limited life insurance business. GCC markets continue to dominate general takaful whereas South East Asia continues to dominate life takaful. In the GCC, family takaful achieved a record growth of 34% in 2015. Global takaful GWC is estimated at $14.9 billion as at the close of 2015. There is strong growth in overall global takaful market in the range of 13 to 14% each year. The split of the family and general takaful market in 2015 is approximately 17% and 83% respectively.

75 academics face 15 years in jail each for depositing money into Bank Asya

77 academics from the Abant Izzet Baysal University (AIBU) face between 7.5 years and 15 years in jail on accusation of membership to a terrorist organization. 75 academics are sentenced to 15 years in prison, while the remaining two to 22 years. The prosecutor listed among evidence for terror charge the academics’ previous transactions within Bank Asya. The Turkish government closed down the Islamic lender as part of its crackdown against the Gulen movement. The government also pinned the blame for July 15 on the movement. The accused academics have withdrawn TL 2 million from other banks to deposit into Bank Asya since late 2013 when the bank was struggling. The prosecutor underscored that some academics transferred money from spouses’ accounts to another account in Bank Asya so that they could benefit from state insurance in case the bank faces closure.

The government initiates a #coup at #Bangladesh’s biggest bank

On the 5th of January military intelligence operatives phoned the chairman, a vice-chairman and the managing director of Islami Bank Bangladesh and brought them to the agency’s headquarters in Dhaka. A few hours later the bank’s board selected their replacements. Islami Bank has been of interest to the government for its association with the Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh’s biggest Islamist party. In recent months, companies with ties to S Alam Group have built stakes in the bank, although the group denies any role in this. The new chairman, Arastoo Khan, declined to comment on the changes at the bank. The shareholders from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were kept in the dark about the boardroom coup and complained bitterly about it. The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) questioned the rationale behind the changes and pointed out that there was no proper recruitment process. The Bangladeshi government has assured foreign shareholders that it will not let politicians loot the bank.

SECP easing #Sukuk rules to facilitate Islamic finance

The Securities and Exchange Commission of #Pakistan (SECP) announced that it was relaxing regulations for Sukuk issuance in order to develop the Shariah-compliant market. The regulator said the SECP was amending the 2015 Issue of Sukuk Regulations to facilitate the issuers, reduce the cost of issue and ease the regulatory burden. The SECP has invited public opinion on the proposed amendments before their finalisation. The commission has also advised the PSX to come up with proposals for reducing the cost of market-maker for Sukuk issuance, rationalising the minimum size of public offer portion to reduce the cost of issue and organising a seminar with potential issuers to widen awareness. According to the SECP, the Sukuk market has been performing below potential in Pakistan. While the demand is substantial, supply remains short.

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