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#Sukuk proceeds being well utilised, says DMO DG

The proceeds of N100 billion Sukuk are being applied to infrastructure development across Nigeria. Director General of Debt Management Office (DMO) Ms. Patience Oniha said that the proceeds were designated for the financing of 25 road projects across the six geopolitical zones of the country. An inspector team visited Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja Road, Obajana-Okene Road, Suleja-Minna Road and Kaduna Eastern Bypass Road. During the inspection, the team assessed progress on the work that had been done as well as ongoing rehabilitation and construction works on the roads. Of particular significance is the fact that the funds from the Sukuk had made it possible to construct the Okene Bypass, which reduces congestion on the roads within the town.

As #Sukuk Disputes Simmer, Islamic Scholars Ponder Legal Risks

Senior scholars in Islamic finance are exploring ways to prevent legal disputes with new rules aiming to clarify responsibilities. The discussions are part of the annual sharia conference of the Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). AAOIFI has developed a comprehensive sharia standard for sukuk that is being finalised, with work underway on three accounting standards and a governance standard. According to Said Bouheraoua, director of the Malaysia-based International Sharia Research Academy for Islamic finance, Dana Gas and other cases highlight the potential need to legislate work of scholars and penalties for breaches. At present, only the central bank of Malaysia has stipulated such fines, although this requires proving breaches occurred in 'bad faith' making penalties difficult to apply.

London’s #takaful standards seeking Shariah scholars’ approval by year-end for 2019 roll-out – industry association

London’s draft standards for transaction of Islamic commercial insurance are seeking Shariah scholars’ approval this year for roll-out next year. The Islamic Insurance Association of London (IIAL), which counts Lloyd’s of London as a founding member, has sought Shariah and legal opinion for the standards framework it has developed. The planned roll-out of IIAL’s takaful standards will more or less coincide with the UK’s departure from the European Union on March 29 next year. According to IIAL secretary-general Jon Guy, lots of managing general agents (MGAs) will target UK retail takaful because they will have the ability to access Shariah-compliant capital. Once the syndicates have gone through the regulatory and administrative setup, they will be very keen at looking at how they can deploy it.

Lessons Learned in Designing an App to Build Financial Health

CFI and the Microfinance Centre (MFC) in Warsaw are working together to build a smartphone application to assist customers and improve their financial health. As part of the project, a simple financial health quiz was developed which will serve as the foundation of the application. Customers appreciated concrete, practical advice, particularly with regard to short-term money management. Instead of simply hearing what they "should" do in general terms, consumers want advice on "how" to do it. They also want help to prioritize among the many possible actions they could take. Too many tips can leave people overwhelmed and paralyzed. Users indicated that games, other quizzes, and memorable stories would help guide behavior and motivate ongoing engagement. The ability to print out tips, tools, advice, and a calendar for budgeting was suggested.

Sharia #standards notified

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has notified seven more Sharia standards of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). The general public is kindly asked to give their feedback for the adoption of these standards and bring harmonisation and standardisation in the business practices of Islamic financial institutions.

Allianz still keen to acquire #takaful business

Despite a failed merger with HSBC Amanah Takaful a year ago, Allianz Malaysia is still keen to acquire a takaful business. According to Allianz CEO Zakri Khir, there is bright takaful business growth potential because the penetration rate in Malaysia is just 15%. Allianz Malaysia has recently sealed a partnership with insuretech start-up PolicyStreet to offer potential clients to purchase insurance policies online. Four Allianz digital products will be offered on PolicyStreet’s digital platform namely Enhanced Road Warrior, Smart Home Cover, Allianz Travel Care and Allianz Flight Care. In 2017, Allianz Malaysia's profits fell 7.7% to RM287.96 million from RM312.13 million on the back of 2.6% rise in revenue from RM4.68 billion to RM4.8 billion. Zakri said Allianz Malaysia was impacted by Bank Negara's detariffication of motor and fire insurances from July 1 2017.

Islamic Development Bank grants $63.3 million to #Sudan

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) signed a grant agreement worth $63.3 million for the establishment of facilities and services in South Darfur, Sudan. Earlier this month, the IDB agreed to lend Tunisia $185 million to finance developments including an electricity project. The bank agreed to finance an electricity link worth $150, as well as the construction of hospitals in Kasserine and Kef worth $34 million. The IDB is a Jeddah-based multilateral development financing institution. It began its activities in 1975. The present membership of the bank consists of 57 countries.

Jaiz Bank grows profit by 161% to N894m

#Nigeria’s Jaiz Bank recorded significant growths in key performance indicators in 2017, making an average of a double of previous profit on every unit of transaction. The pre-tax profit-margin doubled from 5.5% in 2016 to 11% in 2017. Gross earnings rose by 40% from N6.18 billion in 2016 to N8.10 billion in 2017. Gross profit grew by 34% to N6.705 billion in 2017 as against N5.003 billion in 2016. Jaiz Bank had recorded another milestone on February 9, 2017 as the first non-interest financial institution to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Jaiz Bank Managing Director Hassan Usman attributed the impressive performance of the bank to the support from the board, management and staff of the bank. He assured that Jaiz Bank would provide a new future of wide-ranging financial services to all Nigerians.

Richest 1% to own two-thirds of world's wealth by 2030: new study

As the wealthy continue to accumulate money faster than average income earners, the rich-poor divide will only widen over the next few years. According to the latest research by the UK’s House of Commons, in 12 years' time more than two-thirds of the world’s wealth will be in the hands of just 1% of the population. The remaining 99% have seen their wealth grow at a lower pace of only 3% per year. There are no similar analysis to determine the rich-poor divide within the UAE, but Dubai is increasingly becoming a magnet for the world’s wealthy. According to Knight Frank’s Wealth Report, the population of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UNHWIs), each owning at least $30 million in assets, is expected to jump by 60% by 2026. Dubai is home to the highest concentration of millionaires and multi-millionaires and UNHWIs for any city in the Middle East.

#Bangladesh Bank suggests regulator encourage Islamic Shariah compliant investment certificate in capital market

The central bank of Bangladesh has suggested encouraging Islamic Shariah compliant investment certificate Sukuk in the capital market. Capital market regulator BSEC pointed out that other Muslim majority countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, KSA, UAE as well as non-Muslim majority countries like the UK and Singapore have Sukuk in their capital market. It also pointed out that Bangladesh needs to undertake measures to expand capital market for financing productive investments and infrastructural projects. Finance Minister Ama Muhith has recently expressed his plan to pave the way for the long-term financing of the capital market.

How #cryptocurrency traders are wooing Islamic investors

The global surge of interest in cryptocurrencies extends into the Gulf and Southeast Asia, the main centres of Islamic finance. However, many Islamic scholars argue that cryptocurrencies are not religiously permissible, as they are products of financial engineering and objects of speculation. UAE-based OneGram is issuing a gold-backed cryptocurrency, which is certified as valid by Islamic advisors. Each OneGram cryptocurrency unit is backed by at least a gramme of physical gold stored in a vault. Tens of millions of dollars worth of the currency have been issued so far. About 60% of the planned number of coins remains to be sold. In Malaysia a similar initiative was launched in October. HelloGold launched an initial offer of its gold-backed cryptocurrency and received approval from Amanie Advisors. Among other experiments, UAE-based Halal Chain conducted an initial coin offer in December which is linked to data on Islamically-permissible goods.

Manfa’a #Sukuk: A Novel, Transparent Debt Instrument

Transparency can serve as a powerful disinfecting driver of development and accountable governance. It can also promote responsible practices that support a broad range of policy objectives. These include exposing government corruption, reducing the scope for government revenues to be siphoned offshore, increasing the collection of domestic tax revenues, increasing the accountability and effectiveness of government spending, and reducing dependency on foreign aid.

MENA #fintech sector to attract US$2.5bn in deals by 2022, study finds

According to MENA Research Partners (MRP), the current MENA fintech market is estimated at US$2bn and expected to witness an annual growth of US$125mn until 2022. MRP CEO Anthony Hobeika said that the funding of fintech changed a lot in the last 6 years. While in 2010 funding was provided exclusively by venture capital firms, new funding vehicles such as accelerators, private equity institutions, corporation, banks and angel investors are showing interest. Up until recently, banks considered fintech as a competitor. Now banks are acquiring, partnering and also sponsoring fintech companies. As an example, some GCC banks collaborated with specialised fintech startups to implement the new VAT regulations.

RFI #Summit 2018 is partnering with the leading global environmental authority to increase links between faith-based finance & environmental impact

The UN Environment Programme is organizing a pre-Summit roundtable on "Faith-Consistent Financing Prospects to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)". The roundtable will explore opportunities for faith-based financial institutions and asset owners to promote common efforts that can increase their collective impact. Iyad Abumoghli, Principal Advisor at UN Environment said the UN was excited to partner with the RFI Summit, which has developed into a leading platform for encouraging dialogue between faith-based institutions and the financial sector.

For more information about the RFI Summit 2018 and to register, please visit www.rfisummit.org.

Ebdaa Bank backs #microfinance proposal for GCC charity projects

Ebdaa Bank has agreed to a proposal to microfinance charity projects to achieve their objectives to support low-income families. Ebdaa Bank CEO Dr Waleed Al Ghazawi welcomed officials from Almajdouie Group and stressed the need for the GCC to adopt microfinance due to its benefit for charity donations. The Almajdouie Group is visiting Bahrain to share ideas about their sustainable charity projects. The group’s new project is called "Basta", which has already launched six booths in Saudi Arabia, distributed in Dammam and Al Khobar. The project aims to support kiosks to develop their projects.

Industry body AAOIFI close to finalising #standards for Islamic endowments

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) is close to finalising governance and sharia standards for Islamic endowments, known as awqaf. Deputy Secretary General Omar Mustafa Ansari said the development of an accounting standard for awqaf was underway. A governance standard for awqaf would provide guidance on internal controls, policies and procedures, transparency and disclosures. According to a Dubai government estimate, awqaf may hold around $1 trillion in assets around the globe. Most awqaf do not disclose full financial figures, although their underperformance is believed to be considerable since they are run by administrators rather than return-oriented investment managers.

#UK injunction restricts Dana Gas dividends in $700 million #sukuk dispute

United Arab Emirates energy firm Dana Gas received a new injunction from the English High Court restricting its ability to pay dividends or increase its debt. Sukuk holders have been trying to force the company to redeem the sukuk since last year. Dana said in late March that it would seek shareholder approval on April 11 to pay a cash dividend for 2017. The dividend would be worth 5% of capital or about 349 million dirhams (67.4 million pounds). But the English High Court order blocked Dana from making dividend payments unless it also sets aside money to redeem the sukuk. It also prohibited Dana from increasing its debt by more than $25 million.

Islamic finance — focus on capital market development

The Islamic finance sector is a subset of the overall domestic financial sector. Governments face pretty much the same contingent liabilities with Islamic banks as they do with conventional ones. Some 73% of total Islamic finance assets are within Islamic banks. Takaful accounts for a mere 2%, while the remainder 25% constitute assets within capital market instruments such as sukuk, mutual funds and others. Thus, within the Islamic finance space, banking is at least three times the size of capital markets. Policymakers would be well advised to seek not just to grow Islamic finance, but focus on the capital markets component. This is not just good from a macroeconomic vulnerability viewpoint, but is also more in keeping with the Shariah philosophy of risk sharing.

Islamic Scholars Debate Validity of #Cryptocurrencies

The world's top Islamic finance scholars are scrutinizing the validity of cryptocurrencies. The discussions are part of the annual sharia conference of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) being held in Bahrain this week. The key question for scholars is whether cryptocurrencies fall under the so-called "ribawi" category, which includes commodities like gold and silver. AAOIFI primarily issues accounting and sharia standards for Islamic finance institutions, but there is no current indication on cryptocurrencies. Scholar deliberations, however, could clarify what types of cryptocurrencies are religiously acceptable and influence future product development.

Maybank Islamic to grow trade financing biz

Malaysian Islamic banks are boosting their trade financing market share with various measures. Maybank Islamic CEO Mohamed Rafique Merican said the bank intended to grow its trade facilities in line with growing demand for Islamic finance in Malaysia. Mohamed Rafique was speaking to reporters after a forum on "Islamic Trade Finance: Revitalising Trade and Unlocking New Potential". He said a lot more could be done to boost Islamic trade facilities, which stood at 1.5% out of US$50 billion. RHB Islamic Bank CEO Datuk Adissadikin Ali said Islamic banks would need to collaborate with the financial technology players to provide e-commerce trade financing. He added that RHB Islamic Bank was developing an e-commerce trade financing platform to enable companies to boost their working capital and the platform was likely to be implemented next year.

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