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Liechtenstein Islamic Finance Conference

October 28, 2014, Tue 09.00 - 16.45 h

At the first Liechtenstein Islamic finance conference, the Financial Market Authority (FMA) and the Propter Homines Chair for Banking and Securities Law at the University of Liechtenstein will examine the challenges to and opportunities for Islamic finance structures and sharia compliant financial intermediation for Liechtenstein. We believe that Liechtenstein’s expertise as a renowned private and family wealth centre with a strong preference for non-leveraged long-term investments, well-developed trust and foundation laws, as well as a competitive financial regulation may provide the starting point for offering services in the Islamic domain. We are delighted that experts in the field of Islamic finance and sustainability will assist us in answering the questions on how Liechtenstein may benefit from Islamic finance, and how Islamic investors and clients may benefit from Liechtenstein.

We would like to advise you of the coming Liechtenstein Islamic Finance Conference and would appreciate your participation. The conference concerning

South Africa announces 5.75-year tenor for USD sukuk - IFR

South Africa has announced a tenor of 5.75 years for its inaugural sukuk, which is expected to price later this week. Initial profit thoughts on the U.S. dollar benchmark-sized Islamic bond, which matures in June 2020, will be released early this week. South Africa finished investor meetings for the 144A/Reg S deal last Friday. The sovereign is rated Baa1 by Moody's, BBB- by Standard & Poor's and BBB by Fitch. BNP Paribas, KFH Investment and Standard Bank are the lead managers.

Returns on Islamic finance are so good, non-Muslims want in

The growth in demand is moving sukuks from a niche category to a viable alternative investment. This year’s issuance so far has been dominated by Malaysian issuers, with 63% of the market, followed by Saudi Arabia with 13.7%. Malaysian bonds in particular are attracting “agnostic” investors including hedge funds and fixed income managers who don’t necessarily follow sharia. Despite sukuks’ rapid growth, they remain a far from mainstream asset, and one limited mostly to sophisticated investors because of an often complicated structure. They’re also much less liquid than traditional forms of government or corporate bonds, because the secondary market is much smaller. But for investors looking to buy and hold, they’re looking more attractive all the time.

SCA announces new regulations for sukuk market

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has issued a new set of regulations for the bonds and sukuk market cutting the minimum value of issuance from Dh50 million to Dh10 million. The regulations include a shortened approval time of five days, and the removal of the requirement to obtain a credit rating. Additionally, bond issuers are no longer required to provide a quarterly report as they may only provide an audited annual financial statement within 180 days of the year-end. The new set of regulations aims to give momentum to the market, and strengthen the UAE’s role as a financial hub for global Islamic economy. However, the regulations do not apply to government entities and companies wholly owned by the government.

Goldman Sachs sets IPT in 95 bps area over M/S for USD sukuk

Goldman Sachs has set initial price thoughts in the 95 basis points area over midswaps for its debut five-year, benchmark-sized U.S. dollar Islamic bond issue. The investment bank finished two days of investor meetings in the Middle East on Sept. 11. Goldman picked itself, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, QInvest and IPO-NACO.SE to arrange the investor meetings. The sukuk is being issued through a vehicle called JANY Sukuk Co and will be guaranteed by Goldman Sachs. The issue is expected to be rated A-minus by Standard & Poor's and A by Fitch Ratings, identical to the ratings of the investment bank. It will be listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

A booster shot for Islamic finance

The current annual growth rate for Indonesia’s Islamic finance market is 16.5 percent, down from 24.2 percent in 2013, and 49.2 percent in 2011. A large part of this decline can be attributed to the most recognisable instrument of Islamic finance, sukuk. The OJK is now preparing a new blueprint due at the end of the year to expand Islamic finance in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. It says the new blueprint may include additional benefits to current fee and tax incentives to revive the domestic sukuk market, and also said it was considering extending the beneficial issuance fee for sukuk to issuance of sharia-compliant securities. The document will also address issues in Islamic finance including lack of economies of scale, consolidation opportunities, and the role of foreign ownership.

Egypt expects $425 mln from Islamic Development Bank

Egypt said on Sunday it expected to receive around $425 million in funding from the Islamic Development Bank to develop an oil refinery in Assiut and an airport in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The first agreement is for $198 million earmarked for the refinery. A further $226.8 million (not $8.23 million) will go towards the first phase of the Sharm el-Sheikh airport project. Egypt has requested a further $223.2 million for the second phase of the project. The Islamic Development Bank made financing contributions worth about $1.85 billion in Egypt between July 2013 and August 2014. The country will also seek external sources of funding for other development projects.

Islamic Lender Turkiye Finans Eyes Presence In Bahrain

Turkish Islamic lender Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi plans to establish a presence in Bahrain. No details were given on the timeframe to start operations or what type of licence was being sought. Turkiye Finans, in which Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank is the largest shareholder, announced the plans during a visit by bank officials to the Gulf state. The move would help rekindle Bahrain’s Islamic banking sector, which includes six retail banks and 18 wholesale banks. As of June, they held a combined $24.6 billion in assets, a 5.2 per cent drop from a year earlier. Turkey Finans is one of four Islamic banks in Turkey, and has a predominant focus on corporate banking.

Bank Asya resumes trade after ban lifted

Turkey's stock exchange on Monday lifted the ban on trading Bank Asya shares that it imposed on Aug. 7 amid a smear campaign conducted by pro-government media outlets about the ownership status of the lender. The stocks of the private lender slumped 20.16 percent to TL 0.99 at the end of the second session. According to a statement made before the first session by the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP), the shares of the bank has been opened to trade at the base price of TL 1.23 within a price margin of plus or minus 10 percent.

Dubai’s DIB Boosts 2014 Loan Growth Forecasts on Economy

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB) has raised loan growth forecasts for 2014 as it increases its corporate and real estate businesses amid the fastest economic expansion in the lender’s home market for at least seven years. The bank expects lending to grow 15 percent to 20 percent in 2014, more than the 10 percent to 15 percent it had previously forecast, according to Chief Executive Officer Adnan Chilwan. The company will continue to expand to take advantage of the emirate’s buoyant property market, while keeping its proportion of total lending at about 25 percent. Besides, the lender is exploring the option of setting up a new bank in Kenya by the end of the year to add to its presence in Pakistan, Jordan, and Bosnia, Chilwan said. It also expects to increase its stake in Indonesia’s Bank Panin Syariah.

Islamic finance body AAOIFI gets new boss as it seeks to keep influence

The Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has appointed a new secretary-general. Saudi Arabian national Hamed Hassan Merah has been chosen for the post, replacing Khaled Al Fakih, who left the organisation in May after two and a half years in charge. Merah most recently worked with Solidarity Saudi Takaful Company and before that with Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment. Established in 1990, AAOIFI issues guidelines that are followed wholly or in part by Islamic financial institutions around the world. But as Islamic banking has grown globally over the last several years, other standard-setting bodies have become increasingly active and influential.

Takaful's high growth potential in Malaysia

In its 'Standpoint Commentary' Malaysian Insurance and Takaful: Stable Fundamentals Amid Evolving Dynamics, RAM Ratings highlights the high growth prospects for Takaful in Malaysia. Under the new Acts, i.e. the Financial Services Act 2013 (FSA) and the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (IFSA), composite insurers and Takaful operators (TOs) are required to legally separate their general and life/family businesses by 2018. While RAM Ratings believes this would strengthen regulatory oversight of the sector, the additional capital and resource requirements could be significant for smaller players. RAM Ratings believes that the consensus medium-term forecast of 7-10 per cent growth for general and life insurance and double-digit growth for Takaful is largely achievable.

Trends in the GCC bonds and Sukuk primary market H1 2014

Kuwait Financial Centre ‘Markaz’, in its recent research report GCC Bonds & Sukuk Market Survey, reports aggregate primary issuance of bonds and sukuk in the GCC totaled $56.71 billion in H1 2014, a 24.71 per cent increase from the total amount raised in H1 2013. June was the most active month in terms of both the amount raised and the number of issuances. A total of $15.55 billion was raised during the month through 44 issues. The GCC bond and Sukuk market in H1 2014 was dominated by the US Dollar denominated issuances: a total of $14.06 billion was raised, representing 57.2 per cent of the total amount.

Conventional banks' sukuk to push limits of Islamic finance

Islamic bond programmes from a trio of big conventional banks are set to expand the boundaries of Islamic finance, helping open the market to first-time issuers while testing the banks' ability to win over industry purists. Since June, France's Societe Generale, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) and Goldman Sachs have set up sukuk programmes, aiming to tap the pool of cash-rich Islamic investors. An abortive plan by Goldman to issue sukuk in 2011 showed the obstacles which conventional banks can face in the market. But if the three banks are successful and become regular sukuk issuers, they could help to widen Islamic finance beyond its core markets in the Middle East and southeast Asia.

DFSA releases findings of corporate governance review in DIFC

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) recently concluded a thematic review of the corporate governance of firms licensed to provide financial services in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The review focussed on twelve themes fundamental to good corporate governance including management structures and practices, systems and controls, internal audit and management information flows. This review is the first full scale corporate governance review and is the first occasion on which the DFSA has issued a Report on this subject. A significant finding of the review, documented in the Report, was that firms often did not carry out structured, periodic reviews of their Governing Bodies and their committees, or their effectiveness.

Empower secures $127.8m loan from Dubai Islamic Bank

Empower, the district cooling company, has secured a $127.8 million (Dh469.4 million) loan from Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB). The loan facility, to be paid back over half yearly instalments over five years, will be used to fund Empower’s district cooling area in Dubai’s Business Bay area. Empower said that the loan is a cost-effective measure to sustain company growth. The loan is the first Islamic financing facility taken out by Empower.

ADIB offers investors low-risk exposure to global sharia-compliant stocks

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is offering investors low-risk exposure to global sharia-compliant stocks through a new 100% capital-protected note that tracks the Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans 100 index. The launch of the note is part of ADIB's growing wealth management offering and helps investors in the region to diversify their portfolio. The Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans 100 Index, which includes the largest 100 sharia-compliant stocks traded globally, has given an annualized return of 6.01 percent over the last 10 years, and just over 21 percent in 2013. The note provides 100 percent capital protection at maturity to minimize risk for a minimum investment of US $30,000. The notes are open for subscription until 24th September 2014.

Hawkamah appoints Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din as New Chief Executive Officer

Hawkamah has announced the appointment of Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din, as the Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2014. He will be based in Dubai with a mandate to cover the MENASA region. With 28 years’ experience, Dr. Ashraf has worked with several companies and educational institutions. Dr. Ashraf has extensive experience in corporate governance and in setting and implementing strategies to raise the level of awareness and application of corporate governance and responsible business behaviour among companies. Dr. Ashraf holds a PhD degree from the School of Economic, Social and Legal Studies, University of Manchester, England.

KFH offers Gold Account at 7 branches

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced that the debut Gold Account it had launched last year, has become available for clients at 7 branches as of today. The branches are; Al-Fiahaa, Al-Shaab, Al-Salmyia, Mubarak Al-Kabeer, Alfahaheel, Alqaser, and the headquarter branch. The expansion of the product aims at facilitating the efforts of clients and expanding the service. The gold biscuits each weigh 100 grams and has a purity value of 999.9, the purest form of gold. Each gold biscuit is issued and certified by KFH and the Ministry of Commerce.

New MSM Sharia Index to come into effect today

The new sample of the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) Sharia Compliant Index, which includes 32 MSM listed companies, will start operations on Sunday. MSM will revise the sample each three months to include companies that are compliant with regulations and exclude companies that are not compliant. Analysts said that the Islamic indicators will attract new category of investors as they meet the needs of investors who prefer to have reliable reference that help them in identifying the investments that meet the requirements of the Islamic Sharia. This in turn will contribute to the development and growth of the Islamic finance market.

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