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Islamic Finance Changemakers Competition is now open

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in partnership with the Saudi-Spanish Center for Islamic Economic and Finance have launched an Islamic Finance Changemakers Competition to support social entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders seeking to create a better society.

Through this initiative, IsDB and Saudi-Spanish Center for Islamic Economic and Finance hopes to support changemakers by giving them visibility of what they are developing. The Islamic Finance Changemakers Challenge will give Changemakers the opportunity to win awards to help grow their initiatives.

The awards for the top three winners are:
•1st position: $ 15,000 + 1-year IE Mentoring Program
•2nd position: $ 10,000
•3rd position: $ 5,000

Gassner's picture

Book annoucement for German readers: Q1 / 2021

Dear Reader,

for Q1 / 2021 a second book is to be published in German after the successful standard reference for financial professionals in German.

A first interview is online (in German!!):

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9sOXVxd28ucG9kY2FzdGVyLmRlL0l...
https://podcasts.apple.com/ch/podcast/islamicmediaclub/id1503189930?i=10...
https://open.spotify.com/episode/7BkZS8KVt3EWlkmvcyu5WM?si=2bRPowl1RdO9F...

The new book targets the consumer rather than the professional as for a couple years an Islamic bank and some investment funds are offered in Germany - hence it is time for consumer education.

Best regards,

Michael Gassner
www.islamicwealthmanagement.com

Gassner's picture

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Best regards,

Michael Gassner
Editor, IslamicFinance.de

Masumi Hamahira: How the Bitcoin #blockchain will benefit Islamic Finance world

Bitcoin’s blockchain is an open network protocol that can replace today’s internet, and offers benefits specific to the Islamic Finance industry. Bitcoin Association ambassador for Malaysia Masumi Hamahira said Bitcoin’s blockchain offered every benefit today’s Internet does, while making ownership sequences or various assets far more efficient to manage and prove. Hamahira is an Advisor for the Islamic Finance department at Japan’s MUFG Bank. Hamahira said that Bitcoin could assist in the sukuk market by managing settlement in different currencies on one platform, rather than the current variety of platforms used. Proving a record of ownership sequence and helping to combat money-laundering across borders provides a particular appeal to the Islamic Finance industry.

#Sukuk issuances jumped to $ 162 billion

The global sukuk market witnessed record issuances in 2019, recording $ 162 billion, an increase of 31% over 2018. Participants of the fourth session of the virtual webinar series of the World Islamic Economic Summit discussed the Global Islamic Economy Report for 2019/2020. According to the report, the assets of Islamic finance worldwide reached $ 2.5 trillion in 2018. Sukuk constituted 4% of these assets, and in the same year the UAE ranked fourth among the top 10 markets for Islamic finance assets in the world, with a value of $ 238 billion. The webinar session focused on discussing emerging trends in the sukuk market and future outlooks for the sector. The participants agreed that the sukuk market had performed well last year, and moderator Mohiuddin Kronfol indicated that the lack of updated data contributed to complicating the process of issuing sovereign and institutional sukuk.

$ 73.5 billion in Sukuk on “Nasdaq Dubai”

The value of new sukuk listings on Nasdaq Dubai since the beginning of 2020 until mid-September reached $ 11.4 billion, an increase of 55% over the value of sukuk listed in the same period last year. The total value of the sukuk listed in Dubai (between Nasdaq Dubai and the Dubai Financial Market) currently stands at $ 73.49 billion, making the emirate one of the largest sukuk listing centers in the world. The sukuk issuers on Nasdaq Dubai this year varied between Emirati and foreign countries, including Sharjah Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Dubai World Ports, GFH (from Bahrain), Dar Al Arkan (from Saudi Arabia), the Indonesian government, and the Islamic Development Bank.

Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre hosts #webinar on Sukuk market

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), in collaboration with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Refinitiv hosted the fourth session of the GIES Virtual Series webinar that examined the opportunities and challenges in the sukuk market. Moderator Tahir Mahmood, Head of Business Development at Nasdaq Dubai, discussed the emerging trends in the sukuk market and examined various outlooks for the sector. During the session, panellists agreed that the sukuk market has done well over the past year. The fifth session of the GIES Virtual Series, titled ‘The New Age of Digital Retail in light of the Pandemic', is scheduled for Tuesday, 13 October at 11am (UAE time).

First actively managed sharia-compliant ETF to list in London

The world’s first actively managed sharia-compliant exchange traded fund will start trading In London. The Almalia Sanlam Active Sharia Global Equity ETF is the result of a partnership between Almalia, a London-based Islamic finance specialist and Sanlam Investments, the UK arm of the Johannesburg-listed financial services company. Amanie Advisors, an Islamic finance consultancy, will oversee the investment screening process. The new ETF, which will carry an annual total expense ratio of 99 basis points, will also be cross-listed in Germany and Italy in October. The fund will be run by a team led by Pieter Fourie, Sanlam’s global head of equities.

QIIB becomes first Islamic bank in #Qatar to launch card for domestic work

QIIB has launched a card for domestic workers, which provides flexible and easy solutions for both workers and employers, and complies with the standards required and set by various government agencies. The employer can transfer the salary of the domestic worker directly to the card via QIIB mobile banking application or Internet banking. The card is also a secure and certified record of all monthly salary payments for domestic workers, and can be used in all ATMs and points of sale. The cardholder can also use it to pay for utility bills, make online purchases and transfer money to their home country.

There is a future in fintech for SMEs

Malaysia has over one million SMEs (small and medium enterprises) making up 98% of total businesses. The majority are micro SMEs, of which 21% are owned by women. One industry in which Malaysian SMEs could become a world pioneer is Islamic fintech. Islamic finance is now entrenched in Malaysia, accounting for 32% of financing to customers. Yet, according to the IMF, Islamic fintech is still in its infancy. In Malaysia, the growth of Islamic fintech can impact development in rural areas among Malays, offering this community a unique financial-inclusion opportunity.

Fintech Lenders in #Indonesia to Support Government with Disbursing Loans to SMEs as Part of COVID Relief Effort

Asosiasi Fintech Pendanaan Bersama Indonesia (AFPI), which is an association of 156 Fintech lenders, is reportedly planning to work cooperatively with the Indonesian government to distribute funds that are meant to offset the economic problems and challenges created due to COVID-19. As of September 2020, the Indonesian government has issued 25% of the planned IDR 695 trillion (appr. $46.8 billion) it has set aside for COVID-related financial relief for local businesses. Most of the AFPI members offer peer-to-peer (P2P) lending services. As of June 2020, there were 161 licensed or registered P2P lenders operating in Indonesia. The nation’s P2P lending platforms have managed to help around 20.6 million borrowers by connecting them with 539,460 lenders.

Big Four firms release ESG reporting metrics with World Economic Forum

The Big Four accounting firms have developed a set of metrics for companies to use for environmental, social and governance reporting internationally. The ESG metrics are organized around four pillars of principles of governance, planet, people and prosperity. The metrics and disclosures aim to align the existing standards to enable companies to collectively report nonfinancial disclosures. The metrics and disclosures were developed in collaboration with the Big Four firms: Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC and come after a consultation process with representatives from corporations, investors, standard-setters, NGOs and international organizations.

Saudi-based Islamic investment firm acquires West Michigan properties in joint venture

The American Brennan Investment Group established a joint venture equity partnership with Saudi Arabia-based investment firm Arbah Capital to acquire 557,000 square feet of light industrial and flex space in Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. The portfolio includes a mix of tenants in the automotive, manufacturing and the telecommunications industries. Global real estate services firm JLL Capital Markets connected Brennan and Arbah, as well as helped the newly formed joint venture equity partnership secure $22.9 million in debt financing via a 5-year floating-rate loan with Wintrust Bank.

Alizz Islamic Bank completes merger process with Al Yusr Islamic Banking

Alizz Islamic Bank has completed all processes related to the integration of Al Yusr Islamic Banking. This includes the integration and transferring of customers, services, employees, assets, and liabilities from the Al Yusr Islamic Banking window to Alizz Islamic Bank’s operating system. This merger has led to the formation of a larger Islamic banking entity that can effectively compete in the market. Alizz Islamic Bank now has a wider network of 17 branches in various governorates of the Sultanate. In addition to expanding the digital services, customers will have access to an award-winning mobile banking application. Alizz Islamic Bank is a wholly-owned and fully licensed Islamic banking subsidy of Oman Arab Bank, which is part of the extensive Arab Bank Plc network.

Islamic finance to show low to mid single-digit growth in 2020-2021: S&P

According to S&P Global Ratings, the global Islamic finance industry will show low-to-mid single-digit growth in 2020-2021 after 11.4% in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic will halt growth at GCC Islamic and conventional banks in 2020 as they focus on preserving asset quality rather than business expansion. Shariah-compliant banks are likely to see a greater effect on asset quality indicators since they typically have a higher proportion of exposure to real estate and cannot charge late payment fees. S&P projects the volume of sukuk issuance will reach $100 billion in 2020 compared with $162 billion in 2019. Corporates will also not support a rise in sukuk this year as they hold on to cash, cut capital expenditure and turn to bank financing.

#Sukuk market to lag 2019 performance on lower corporate issuance

The Islamic bond market has seen some improvement in recent months but its overall performance in 2020 will remain weaker than last year, pulled back by a lack of issuance from corporate borrowers and central banks. According to Mohamed Damak, global head of Islamic Finance at S&P Global Ratings, the sukuk market will be down compared to 2019. Although sovereigns, banks and multilateral lenders may issue more sukuk in foreign currencies, corporate borrowers have remained on the sidelines as they try to hold onto cash and reduce capital expenditure. Sukuk issuance volumes had fallen 27% on an annual basis in the first six months of this year. S&P expects overall issuance of Islamic bonds to reach around $100 billion (Dh367bn) for 2020, which will be about 40% lower than the $162bn recorded in 2019.

#Saudi fintech surges even as coronavirus bites private sector

Saudi Arabia is seeing a faster adoption of technology at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has weighed heavy on the private sector. The FSD programme, which was launched three years ago, has achieved 90% of its targets and the coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in the fintech sector, said Faisal al Sharif, director general of the Financial Sector Development (FSD) program. The FSD’s targets for Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) issuing fintech licences was three by end of 2020 but today there are eight such licences. Similarly, the target for cashless transactions was 28% e-transactions by end of this year, but today they make up almost 37% of the total.

Cayman Islands: What Are The Go-To Jurisdictions For Wealthy Middle Easterners And Why?

Ultra High Net Worth Middle Eastern families and individuals have a variety of jurisdictions to look to for succession planning and asset protection vehicles, but the three "go-to" jurisdictions are Cayman, Guernsey and Jersey. Historically, Ultra High Net Worth Middle Eastern families and individuals ("UHNW MEs") may have looked to the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands when selecting a jurisdiction to base an offshore corporate structure. UHNW MEs now look to Cayman as a jurisdiction to house their succession planning vehicles. Guernsey and Jersey are both Crown Dependencies, which means they are not part of the UK but are self-governing dependencies of the Crown. Cayman is a British Overseas Territory, which means it has a constitutional link with, but does not form part of the UK and is similarly self-governing. This status of these three jurisdictions has provided them with the economic, legal and political stability to attract UHNW MEs and continually develop their respective financial services industries.

In-Focus: ME Islamic & Conventional banks, wading through COVID-19 and Low Oil Prices

Fitch Ratings is organizing a webinar on September 30th with the title ME Islamic & Conventional banks, wading through COVID-19 and Low Oil Prices. Discussion topics will include: ME Banks Overview (conventional and Islamic); Rating Actions so far; Islamic Banks compared to Conventional Banks (in General); Islamic Finance regulation and standardisation; AI, Fintech in the Region, M&A. There will be an opportunity for Q&A. Please submit your questions via the ‘Q&A’ box within the webinar console or to Melissa Cloquet at melissa.cloquet@fitchratings.com.

#Russia’s Sberbank to set up office in Abu Dhabi, exploring opportunities with Mubadala including in Islamic finance

Russian state-owned Sberbank will establish a presence in Abu Dhabi by the end of the year. Sberbank has also signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi sovereign investor Mubadala Investment Company. The agreement covers cooperation in areas including co-investments, debt and equity financing, long-term financing of Mubadala projects in Russia and other territories. It also includes the potential cooperation and investments in a broad range of areas including Islamic finance, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, life sciences, venture capital, telemedicine and education. The bank is new to Islamic finance. In August it announced that it had structured a trade finance deal, its first-ever, with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

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