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Gassner's picture

Running to fundraise for UNICEF !

Dear friends,

After participating in the fundraising challenge for UNICEF by Cycling in the Swiss Alps, Crans-Montana, this year I changed the discipline - I do my FIRST ever participation in a running event!

Would you mind to donate - even for a first time - to UNICEF to make my feet lighter running for the cause?

English:
https://action.unicef.ch/en/vous-aidez-ainsi/collecte-de-dons/harmony-ge...

Francais:
https://action.unicef.ch/fr/vous-aidez-ainsi/collecte-de-dons/harmony-ge...

Many thanks also on behalf of the kids!

Best regards,

Michael Gassner

Turkish banks and investors disagree on bad loan talks

Turkish lenders disagreed on almost everything with potential investors when they met for the first round of talks about unloading a pile of bad loans. Investors demanded a 30% discount on the face value of the loans and an ownership stake, but the Turkish banks refused to write-off the loans and wanted to restructure them instead. While the government plans to carve out non-performing energy and real-estate loans, attendees disagreed so that some of the participants questioned whether there would even be more talks. Bank capital ratios are being squeezed after companies requested about $28 billion of debt-restructurings after a 28% plunge in the lira against the dollar last year.

UNHCR unveils Refugee #Zakat Fund

The United Nations Refugee Agency has launched a new global structure that transforms UNHCR’s existing Zakat programme into a global fund. UNHCR unveiled its 'UNHCR Zakat Program: 2019 Launch Report', which shows that global Zakat giving stands at $76 billion worldwide, and could potentially reach an amount as high as $356 billion. According to Houssam Chahine, UNHCR’s Head of Private Sector Partnerships, it was inevitable for the Zakat program to evolve into a structure that better appeals to the global Islamic finance industry. The Fund allows UNHCR to be even more transparent. The decision to restructure the Zakat program into the global Refugee Zakat Fund is due to the high donor turnout UNHCR has witnessed in the past years.

Goldman Sachs brings forward claim linked to Saudi debt saga

Goldman Sachs has bought forward a claim against Bahrain’s TIBC whose default 10 years ago triggered the biggest financial crisis in Saudi Arabia. The Bahraini lender raised money in international markets, transferring the funds to now defaulted Saudi conglomerate Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers (AHAB). After TIBC defaulted on a foreign exchange deal, AHAB collapsed along with another Saudi conglomerate Saad Group, leaving an estimated $22 billion in unpaid debts. TIBC, administered by the Central Bank of Bahrain, has a claim of around $3 billion against AHAB, while more than 60 banks that have lent money to TIBC remain unpaid.

Malaysia leads global sukuk issuance

Malaysia continued to maintain the leadership as the largest issuer of sukuk globally with a total of US$13.9 billion in the first three months of 2019. This means a market share of 35.2% from the overall issuance of US$39.5 billion during the period. This also represented an increase of 54.4% compared with US$9 billion that Malaysia issued in the first quarter of 2018.

The Hajdari Group Unveils Newly Pioneered Sharia-Compliant Investment Strategies Option: 'InvestHalal' Wealth Management for American Muslim Investors

The Hajdari Group recently announced the creation of its newest, faith-based financial planning platform: InvestHalal. InvestHalal utilizes a strict code-of-ethics and series of standards established by prestigious global authorities like the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), and the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). Access to faith-based investment strategies has generally been unavailable in the United States to Islamic investors. President of the Hajdari Group, Zaim Hajdari said the Hajdari Group has finally remedied this oversight. InvestHalal offers asset allocation and investment diversification options, a wide variety of investment alternatives and services structured to individual needs: retirement, education, tax and estate planning, as well as other Sharia-compliant wealth allocation.

Abu Dhabi bank delays instalments on personal financing in Ramadan

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) revealed it would postpone a monthly instalment for its personal finance customers at no extra charge during the holy month of Ramadan. ADIB annually offers flexible payment to customers during Ramadan to meet their individual needs. Philip King, global head of Retail at ADIB, noted that customers eligible for the Ramadan payment postponement initiative would be informed by SMS, adding that the offer is valid for instalments due between 1 May and 31 May. However, customers are free whether to withdraw or maintain making instalment payments. Throughout the holy month, ADIB hosts Ramadan tents across the UAE that organise Iftars managed by the bank’s employees who have volunteered to be part of the initiative.

Moody’s expects strong growth in the Islamic finance sector in 2019

Moody’s Investor Services expects strong growth in the Islamic finance sector, reflecting the increasing demand for Shari’ah-compliant financial instruments. The rating agency stated that familiarity as well as understanding of the instrument is increasing and there are no barriers to investors, both Islamic and conventional to investing in these issuances. The growth in the Islamic finance sector is expected to translate into stronger prospects for green Sukuk issuance by sovereigns and financial institutions. The green Sukuk market will benefit from the buoyant demand as institutional investors seek to integrate sustainability into their asset allocation and risk management practises.

The #UK can be a world leader in Islamic finance

According to Al Rayan Bank CFO Amir Firdaus, Islamic finance is reinforcing the UK’s position as a global financial hub. London is the leading centre for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world, with assets of UK-based institutions that offer Islamic finance services totalling more than $5bn. More than 20 banks in the UK offer Islamic services, and five of these banks are fully Sharia-compliant, including Al Rayan Bank. Al Rayan currently provides Islamic financial products to more than 85,000 customers in the UK. Last year, Al Rayan became the first bank in the world to issue a public sterling sukuk in a non-Muslim country. The London-listed £250m securitisation was rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s and Aaa by Moody’s Investors Service and was significantly oversubscribed. The appeal of Islamic finance is growing steadily, more than a third of Al Rayan Bank’s customers are currently believed to be non-Muslim.

CBK rejects Warba Bank #merger with KMEFIC

In February, Kuwait’s Warba Bank announced the purchase of Ahli United Bank (AUB) and its subsidiary to acquire their collective 75.7% stake in Kuwait & Middle East Financial Investment Company (KMEFIC).
Warba Bank said that the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) has rejected its proposed acquisition of a controlling stake in KMEFIC. According to CBK, Warba Bank's acquisition of AUB’s stake in KMEFIC will not have a significant effect on the financial position of the lender. The purchase agreement came at a time when mergers and acquisitions in the Gulf’s financial sector are rising as lenders attempt to improve their financial standing through consolidation.

QIB launches #Takaful product for low-income workers

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) announced the launch of its affordable Takaful product for low-income workers called "Family Sheild - WPS". This low cost Takaful product can also be purchased by companies who want to give additional protection to their employees. The plan can be purchased by contributing QR10 per month or QR120 per annum and provides a cover of QR50,000 for death and QR100,000 in case of death due to accident. D. Anand, General Manager of Personal Banking Group at QIB, said the Family Shield WPS Takaful plan was designed for expatriate workers and can be easily purchased instanty over the counter without any medical tests. He added that QIB was well aware of the worker’s concern for their family’s well being in case of unseen events and wanted to provide them with an affordable and useful Takaful solution.

Islamic financing marketplace Alami bags funding led by Singapore-based tryb

Indonesian startup Alami has closed an undisclosed pre-seed round led by fintech investor tryb. The company’s peer-to-peer (P2P) platform recently obtained a P2P registration from the country’s Financial Services Authority and is set to soon expand its business into the Shariah-compliant P2P financing space. The fresh funds will be used for product development and market expansion. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, but the country's Shariah finance sector has historically lagged behind other markets with large Muslim populations. Alami CEO Dima Djani said tryb’s South-East Asian fintech expertise provides strong validation of its business model and key support for its growth plans.

Global #sukuk market to hit $2.7trln by 2030: Franklin Templeton

According to investment management firm Franklin Templeton, the global sukuk market is set to grow at a compound annual rate of around 15% to reach $2.7 trillion by 2030. Global sukuk issuance stood at over $477 billion at the end of last year, but has slowed somewhat in recent years. Ratings agency S&P in January described sukuk issuance as 'mild' in 2018, as the total amount of sukuk issued dropped by 5% to $114.8 billion. It forecast issuance of $105 billion-$115 billion for 2019. Mohieddine Kronfol, head of fixed income at Franklin Templeton, forecasts that the growth continues at a relatively rapid pace. In GCC markets several corporate entities have been issuing debut sukuk in recent months. Saudi Telecommunications Company issued its debut $1.25 billion sukuk on Sunday, following on from Saudi food company Almarai’s first $500 million sukuk in February.

S&P: GCC Islamic Banks to Show Resilience in 2019,2020

According to S&P Global Ratings, Islamic banks of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are expected to show resilience over the next two years after weathering tough market conditions in 2018. Last year they expanded slower than conventional peers for the first time in five years. The growth forecast for Islamic banks for 2019-2020 is the same as what the rating agency is estimating for conventional lenders in the region. S&P Head of Islamic Finance Mohamed Damak forecasts a muted GCC economic growth over this period, despite some benefit from government spending and strategic initiatives such as national transformation plans and Dubai Expo 2020. However, with the transition to IFRS9/FAS 30, Islamic and conventional banks will even more closely align. Another trend is the significant increase in Islamic banks’ coverage ratios at end-2018, coupled with a stable cost of risk that is lower than conventional banks.

Fixed Income: Bite-sized #sukuk with #blockchain

According to Matthew Martin, founder of microfinance investment fund Blossom Finance, technology will make sukuk issuance much cheaper and simpler as well as more available to investors and issuers. The potential for blockchain to transform the bond and sukuk space was noted by S&P Global Ratings last October. The rating agency wrote that blockchain and smart contract protocols could increase the transparency of cash flows and underlying assets. The World Bank created the first public bond to be managed using blockchain last August. According to Reuters, the prototype deal was as a step towards moving bond sales away from manual processes. Blossom will also use blockchain to record all transactions on the ledger. Currently, the company is selectively listing investors who want to be part of the pilot.

#UAE's Majid Al Futtaim markets green dollar #sukuk

UAE-based shopping mall operator Majid Al Futtaim is set to raise between $500 million and $650 million in green sukuk. The proceeds of the sukuk will back environmentally-friendly projects in areas such as renewable energy and sustainable water management. The price guidance for the deal, which has so far attracted around $2.7 billion in orders, subsequently went down to around 225-230 basis points over mid-swaps. HSBC and Standard Chartered have been hired as global coordinators for the planned deal, and they are working as bookrunners along with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, ENBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, and Gulf International Bank.

Sharia-compliant #fintech startup nets funding in round led by Singapore’s Tryb

Indonesian sharia-compliant fintech startup Alami secured funding in a pre-seed round led by Singapore-based VC firm Tryb. Alami, which recently obtained a P2P registration from Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK), operates a platform for Islamic financing. Tryb principal Herston Powers said the sharia fintech market was a huge and untapped market in Indonesia with significant growth prospects. Both companies look to propel the sharia finance sector in Indonesia, which currently has the largest Muslim population in the world with about 90% of its 260 million people being Muslims.

#Jordan Islamic Bank is focusing on inclusivity to drive prosperity in the country

Between 2014 and 2017, Jordan has made significant progress in terms of financial inclusion. According to the latest World Bank report, 42.5% of adults in Jordan now have a bank account, a remarkable increase from the 24.6% seen in 2014. Raising this percentage even further is one of the key pillars of Jordan Islamic Bank’s (JIB) future growth plan. According to Musa Shihadeh, CEO and General Manager of JIB, the bank is specifically targeting young people, women and SMEs to improve financial inclusion. Between its financial inclusion efforts and sustainability initiatives, the organisation is keen to become a leader in social responsibility. JIB developed a relationship with Jordan’s major trade unions, which represent engineers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and agricultural engineers, to help spread information about the bank’s financial products.

Inside one of the finest pieces in today's Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic world #auction

In May, Sotheby’s holds its latest Arts of the Islamic World auction. The auction includes a number of rare Qur’ans, including one exemplary fine and rare miniature Qur’an on vellum, estimated to sell at GBP 70,000-90,000. The miniature manuscript is an extremely rare and early example of Eastern Kufic script written in a vertical format on vellum. The size of the manuscript made for a considerable degree of difficulty, due to its intricacy and design.
The Qu’ran also has other rare features. Written in a special news script, it also adds dots to the script, which is rare for manuscripts of this kind, allowing the text to be read easier if the reader doesn’t know the Qu’ran by heart.

Abu Dhabi banks ADCB, UNB and Al Hilal complete three-way #merger

The Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has completed its merger with Union National Bank (UNB) and the combined company has acquired Al Hilal Bank to create the third largest financial institution in the UAE. Following the merger with ADCB, UNB has been dissolved as a legal entity while its shares have been delisted.
The enlarged ADCB Group will provide services to more than a million customers. It will hold AED423bn ($115.16bn) in assets with a market share of 21% of retail loans as of 31 December 2018. The Government of Abu Dhabi owns 60.2% stake in the enlarged banking group. The integration of the three banks’ operations and customer experience will be fast tracked in a phased manner from the second half of 2019.

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