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Global #sukuk market to continue upward trajectory, says Islamic finance promotion agency

According to the Malaysian International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC), the global sukuk market is set to continue its upward trajectory in 2017 as the fundamentals supporting their issuance remain intact. MIFC said global sukuk issuances stood at US$59.1 billion as of the first half of 2017 (1H17), an increase of 45.6% compared with 1H16. Malaysia continues to be the main driver in the Islamic capital markets, with the country commanding a 46.4% market share in sukuk issuance. As for outstanding sukuk, Malaysia's share stands at 52.6%. MIFC observed that Malaysia is the pioneer in the world's first green sukuk, as evident by the RM250 million of Islamic bond issued by Tadau Energy. Also, the regulator Securities Commission Malaysia is offering several incentives to attract green issuers including tax deduction on issuance costs, which is valid until the year of assessment 2020.

#China-#UAE moot on Islamic banking, finance explores int’l cooperation in support of #OBOR Initiative

The Dubai Center for Islamic Banking and Finance in Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) concluded the 2nd China-UAE Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance. The two-day event focused on the objectives of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which aims to revitalize the Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe. The event was organized in cooperation with China Islamic Finance Club, ZhiShang Intercultural Communication, and Knowledge Partner Thomson Reuters. Talks focused on challenges and prospects for Islamic finance in achieving the goals of the ambitious Chinese initiative. The agenda comprised a series of panel discussions moderated by key international figures such as Prof. Baydoun; Mr. Gao Lin, Vice Director, Shenzhen Municipal Commission of Economy, Trade and Information Technology, and Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank.

#Kenya just stands out: Dr Adnan Chilwan, GCEO, Dubai Islamic Bank

Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), said that Kenya stood out to the Bank as a stepping stone to expanding its operations into Africa. In May 2017 DIB was granted a banking licence by the Central Bank of Kenya to operate a subsidiary, DIB Kenya. According to Chilwan, Dubai always had the ambition to venture into Far East Asia and East Africa. As DIB had already ventured into Far East Asia, East Africa was the next logical point. From the East African countries Kenya stands out in its regulatory framework and the stability in the country. DIB Kenya is already open and the bank has ambitious plans for East Africa. Chilwan added that Kenya was a country that DIB would be surely focussing on in years to come.

Dubai Islamic Bank hits the 'billion dollar profits club', what's next?

In this interview, Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank, reflects on the bank’s performance in the last couple of years and prospects for future growth. Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has entered the billion dollar profits club and the challenge is to keep up the pace of exponential growth. Chilwan says a billion dollars is just a start and he wants to find the right way of replicating the successful strategy. He hopes the bank will be able to keep up that good work, making sure the customers are happy, the regulator is happy, the ratings agencies, research analysts and shareholders are all happy with what they get from the bank. He is grateful for the board of directors and for the team behind him that made this billion dollar profit possible.

#Algeria turns to Islamic finance, bourse to rescue 'worrying' economy

Algeria’s new government will introduce Islamic finance and develop its stock market to draw more investment into the economy. The country currently struggles to cope with a sharp fall in energy earnings. Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia plans wider reforms and the start of fracking for shale hydrocarbons to boost oil and gas revenue. Algeria's finances have been hit by a more than 50% drop in crude oil prices since mid-2014, the government said 2017 would end with real difficulties, while 2018 looked to be even more complex. Algeria has failed in the past to modernise its stock market and has a very low level of liquidity. Its firms currently rely on state finances, which in turn depend on the oil and gas sector. The government plans to continue spending cuts, including subsidies, but analysts say spending cuts alone may not be enough to tackle the crisis. Foreign exchange reserves fell to $105 billion in July this year from $193 billion in May 2014.

First Shariah-compliant #M&A #insurance policy in MENA region launched

American International Group (AIG) has placed the first Shariah-compliant mergers and acquisitions (M&A) insurance policy in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). AIG’s Warranty and Indemnity insurance product helps protect buyers and sellers from financial losses if misrepresentations occur. Buyers can distinguish bids, sellers can reduce indemnity obligations. AIG was advised by global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, led by corporate/M&A partner Adjou Ait Ben Idir. Associates were Agnieszka Braciszewska (lead associate), senior associate Rachel Moylan (IT/IP aspects) and of counsel Louisa Lynch (real estate aspects). Partner Dominic Stuttaford advised on tax aspects. Mark Storrie, M&A Manager at AIG said M&A insurance provided a unique solution for MENA clients investing both in the region and globally. He was very pleased to have placed the first M&A policy in the region.

#Malaysia wins praise for #green #sukuk initiative

The World Bank has praised Malaysia for financing sustainable, climate-resilient growth. Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank regional vice-president for East Asia and Pacific, said Malaysia’s innovative green sukuk initiative would help close the gap for both infrastructure and green finance. In July, Tadau Energy issued the Green SRI Sukuk Tadau, the RM250 million Sustainable Responsible Investment shariah-compliant bond, which holds a tenure of up to 16 years. It will finance a 50-megawatt solar power plant. Kwakwa said the framework underlying this instrument was the result of collaboration between the Securities Commission of Malaysia, the Malaysian Central Bank and the World Bank Group. She said the World Bank issued US$10 billion in bonds through the green bond programme since 2008 and new issuances in the global market are expected to exceed US$120 billion this year.

S&P Global Ratings: Global issuance of #sukuk to moderate in 2018 as Islamic finance moves into slower growth

S&P Global Ratings highlighted global issuance of sukuk in the first half of 2017 was good, but expects it to moderate in 2018. S&P head of Islamic finance Mohamed Damak said 2018 was less certain, as the large issuances of last year are not expected to repeat. Among some of the downside trends relating to Islamic finance includes subdued economic performance in Islamic finance core countries, primarily due to low oil prices. The long-standing debate about standardisation will continue to hinder the industry. S&P's report is entitled "Islamic Finance 2018: Slow Growth Is The New Normal" and the rating agency expects the industry to lose momentum in 2018. The contribution of Islamic finance has so far been limited by the industry's relatively small size and structure.

Fitch: Tougher operating environment challenges #Saudi Islamic banks

According to Fitch Ratings, a tougher operating environment is continuing to challenge Saudi Islamic banks. Sustained low oil prices have taken their toll on economic growth and government spending and this affects certain sectors. Asset-quality metrics are likely to deteriorate from their current strong position due to slower Islamic financing growth. Islamic banks accounted for about 43% of the sector at end-1H16, up from 36.6% in 1H15. There are 12 licensed commercial banks in Saudi Arabia. Four are fully sharia-compliant, with the rest providing a mix of sharia-compliant and conventional banking products. The performance and credit matrices of Islamic and conventional banks are similar in many ways due to the largely Islamic finance nature of the lending market in Saudi Arabia.

Silk Bank to grow in Islamic banking

#Pakistan's Silk Bank plans to expand its Islamic banking business amid growing demand for Shariah-compliant financial products in the country. The State Bank of Pakistan has given approval to the bank for opening of 20 Islamic and 15 conventional branches this year. Silk Bank CEO Shaukat Tarin said the bank was going to reduce the size of corporate banking, but increase consumer and SME segments. The bank’s consumer banking portfolio continued to grow, while its non-performing loans fell by Rs10 billion in January-June 2017. The bank also made its commitment to revive the mortgage business in the current low interest rate environment. Shuja Alvi, head of investment at Silk Bank, said the bank continued to make heavy investments. Since acquisition, the sponsors have invested Rs430 billion in the bank through multiple funding.

Deposits of Islamic banks grow 10pc

The State Bank of #Pakistan (SBP) issued the Islamic Banking Bulletin for April-June. It reveals that deposits of the Islamic banking industry increased by Rs156 billion or 10% quarter-on-quarter to Rs1,720bn. Deposits of the overall banking industry grew 6.5% over the same period. The share of Islamic banks’ deposits in overall banking industry’s deposits increased to 13.7% at the end of June from 13.2% a quarter ago. This growth helped Islamic banks improve their asset base. The share of Islamic banks’ assets in overall banking assets was 11.6pc at the end of June. Investments also improved thanks to sukuk worth Rs71bn that the government issued in June. Net investments of the Islamic banking industry increased Rs48bn or 9.9% in April-June to Rs537bn. SME financing increased to 3.2% and the share of agricultural financing stood at 0.4% at the end of June.

Hong Leong Islamic lends RM350m to TERAJU

Hong Leong Islamic Bank (HLISB) has pledged RM350 million for the Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (TERAJU) via its new Bumiputera companies programme. Of that amount, RM225 million will go to working capital and the balance for asset acquisition. The programme aims to increase Bumiputera SME's participation in the Malaysian economy by enabling small medium enterprises (SMEs) to scale up and compete in the open market. HLISB chief executive officer Jasani Abdullah said the bank targets to provide financing facilities to between 20 and 30 companies annually. He pointed out HLISB would be focusing on industries such as construction and infrastructure, telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing and green technology sectors. Meanwhile, TERAJU chief executive officer Datuk Husni Salleh said HLISB's participation would assist Bumiputera participants to expand locally and overseas.

Arabesque Appoints Three New Members to Board of Directors

Arabesque has appointed three new non-executive directors to the Board: Dr Carolyn Woo, former CEO of Catholic Relief Services; Professor John Ruggie, Harvard Kennedy School; and Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International. They join Barbara J. Krumsiek, former CEO and President of Calvert Investments, and Georg Kell, founding Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, on the Board of Directors. Arabesque is an asset management firm that spun off from Barclays Bank in 2013. The firm’s approach to stock selection integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) information with financial and momentum analysis.

Conditions Conducive for Islamic Finance Expansion in #Morocco- Al Baraka Bank

Bahrain’s Al Baraka Bank deems that the regulatory framework in Morocco is conducive for the launch of an Islamic finance venture. The Bank’s Chief Executive, Adnan Ahmed Yousif said Al Baraka targets the expanding Islamic finance in Morocco in effort to diversify assets and revenues in Africa. Morocco is attractive for Islamic banks because of a competitive landscape that is free from large western lenders. Yousif added that reforms were being considered, but complete tax neutrality towards Islamic finance contracts was still needed. Bahrain’s Al Baraka group forged a partnership with Morocco’s BMCE Bank of Africa to create AL Baraka Maroc, which aims at creating a network of 25 agencies in Morocco.

#Indonesia, the next big #market for Dubai Islamic Bank?

In this interview Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), speaks about the Indonesian market and the positioning of Dubai Islamic Bank. In March 2017 Indonesia’s Bank Panin Syariah rebranded to Panin Dubai Syariah Bank (PDSB) and DIB holds a 40% interest. Dr. Chilwan believes Indonesia has great potential and the regulator is quite supportive of Islamic finance. In his view, the success of DIB is the result of its change in positioning. The bank has not compromised Shari’ah, but has a better understanding of customer needs. DIB is competing with the largest players within every region and is aiming at full inclusion to bank everyone.

Six #Islamic #banks collaborate to develop #waqf #fund

Six Malaysian Islamic banks have agreed to jointly develop a waqf fund which focuses on projects in four areas — economic empowerment, education, health and investment.
The banks are namely: Affin Islamic Bank Bhd, Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd, Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd (Bank Rakyat), Maybank Islamic Bhd and RHB Islamic Bank Bhd . They have signed a Waqf Fund Strategic Collaboration Agreement.

FG starts pre-offer #road #show for #N100bn #Sukuk

In Lagos, the Debt Management Office started a national road show last week in preparation for the issuance of the much awaited N100bn non-interest bearing Sukuk bond.
The Office said in a statement, that the road show led by the Director-General, Ms Patience Oniha, would also be held in Kano, Kaduna and Port Harcourt. It said the team would be accompanied by its financial advisers, Lotus Capital Financial Services Ltd. and FBN Merchant Bank Plc.
The road show is to create awareness about the sovereign Sukuk and sensitise target investors about its features and benefits. The Office had announced its intention to issue a sovereign Sukuk in the domestic market as part of measures to fund the 2017 budget deficit.

Rise of #Islamic #finance meets #human #capital #gap

The strongly growing popularity of Islamic banking and Islamic finance and its increasing global spread has led to a considerable undersupply of talent in this sector. Both the Middle East and Southeast Asia, but also new regions currently adapting to the alternative finance system such as in Africa and Central Asia are effected.

Estimations are that there is a shortfall of between 8,000 and 10,000 in main Islamic finance fields in Gulf Cooperation Council countries alone, plus more in peripheral sectors such as law and regulatory affairs, financial technology, insurance and others. Altogether, as the industry continues to grow, at least 56,000 people will be needed to serve the Islamic financial sector in the coming years, according to the Finance Accreditation Agency of Malaysia.
“Islamic banking assets in six core markets – Qatar, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the UAE and Turkey – are estimated to reach a combined asset volume of $1.8tn by 2019,” says Dr. Amat Taap Manshor, the FAA’s CEO. “But the human capital meant to support the industry is still in its infancy, and shortages will be felt most acutely in the capital market sector,” he added.

The Principles for #Sustainable #Insurance #Initiative partners with the Microinsurance Network

The UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative is the largest collaboration between the United Nations and the insurance industry. It announced its partnership with the Microinsurance Network, a global multi-stakeholder platform for the international microinsurance community of experts and institutions.
The partnership is expected to advance the social and financial inclusion dimension of sustainable insurance with the goal of closing the insurance protection gap.
Katharine Pulvermacher, Executive Director of the Microinsurance Network said in an interview: “We are committed to achieving our vision of a world where people of all income levels - particularly the underserved, are more resilient and less vulnerable to daily and catastrophic risks. We believe that access to insurance and better risk management to reduce vulnerabilities are essential to sustainable development, and the world’s poor will not achieve lasting prosperity without them”.

#PNB expanding #Islamic #finance agenda: Wahid Omar

Permodalan Nasional BHD is pushing for much bigger Islamic financial activities in order to turn Malaysia into a centre of global Islamic banking. In an interview to mark his one-year stint in the country’s largest unit trust fund, group chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar explains how PNB and its strategic companies will intensify efforts to boost syariah-based investment and financing products.
Regarding the Islamic finance agenda being so important to PNB it was asked, if it is tied to the government’s objective of making Malaysia the Islamic financial hub of the world.
Mr. Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar answered: „Indeed, if you look at the aspirations of our unitholders, they want syariah-compliant unit trust funds. I think this was why back in 2008, there was a fatwa that investments made in Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd were permissible. This fatwa was issued at the national level and 10 states adopted the fatwa, excluding Selangor and Penang. Over the past year, we had been engaging with the Selangor Mufti Department and based on those engagements, they revised their fatwa positively. So starting from April, investments in ASNB funds are “harus”.

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